by Andrew Crisp
A downtown Boise project is drawing eyes skyward as crews install the final steel beams to create Idaho's new tallest building.
The Eighth and Main project is edging closer to its January 2014 opening, officials told press and stakeholders in an April 24 gathering on the 17th floor of the 18-story tower. In the distance, past the concrete floors and din of construction, the Boise Foothills served as a stunning backdrop.
"We stand here, seven to eight months from opening, and we're over 80 percent leased," said Christian Gardner, CEO of Utah-based developer the Gardner Company.
Gardner was joined by his father, Kem Gardner, founder of the company, his mother Carolyn and COO Tommy Ahlquist in marking the work done so far.
Project superintendent Jamal Nelson told Boise Weekly that April's winds—ranging from 20 to 35 mph—have occasionally shut down use of the crane, but he added that there have so far been "no major injuries."
Future tenants include law firm Holland and Hart, and two floors of retail include Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria, Ruth's Chris Steak House and chef Dustan Bristol's newly announced lunch stop, On the Fly.
The Gardner family congratulated stakeholders as part of a "topping off" ceremony placing the last piece of steel on the project. They also doled out three checks to the Treasure Valley YMCA, Women's and Children's Alliance and St. Luke's Children's Hospital.
"Idaho has been very welcoming to our family," Kem told the audience. "We're not a big outfit. We've got a little family business. But we've got great people."
The Gardners and their "little family business" worked with Utah's Zion's Bank, one of the building's principal tenants to build the $76 million project. Less than a year ago, officials from both companies and the City of Boise helped break ground on a project to finally fill the long-vacant Boise Hole.
"For eight years we've had to answer the question: what are we going to do about the hole in the ground," Boise Mayor Dave Bieter told attendees. "Ladies and gentlemen, the hole is gone. Long live Eighth and Main."