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Boise Tower: Out. More Confusion: In

What with all the fighting, suing, counter-suing and the embarrassing, half-assed attempts to hide our town's gaping wound at the corner of 8th and Main, it's easy to forget that Rick Peterson was once a highly touted developer fresh off a successful renovation of the National Bank Building at Eighth and Idaho and eager for a new project. No more, as Peterson was booted from the Boise Tower space by district Judge Kathryn Sticklen in a ruling last Wednesday. We and everyone else have covered the crap out of this issue in the past, and won't bore you with the history (for our most recent overview, check out the stories "The Whole Truth and Nothing But," "Talk about a Money Pit," and "Boise Tower Timeline" from our November 23 hole-stravaganza issue, all at www.boiseweekly.com). Here's the distilled version of recent events: The Capitol City Development Corp. filed suit last February to retake possession of the property, citing a clause in its 1997 development agreement with Peterson's Boise Tower Associates saying that CCDC could swoop back in if BTA failed to live up to the demands of their contract. Peterson counter-sued in April, saying that CCDC and Boise City interference in the project made it impossible to fund or complete. In her ruling, Sticklen wrote, "there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the claim that CCDC conspired in any way with the City of Boise with regards to the building permit, or its revocation." For those of you not in the legal trade, a "scintilla" is not a large South American rodent; it's a trace; an iota. Translation: Sayonara, Senor Peterson.

But the fight isn't over yet, since Peterson filed a $12 million deed of trust on the property to cover the costs he said he incurred while working on the project. CCDC is now saddled with that financial load--however, the agency will meet up with Peterson in a jury trial this April to seek financial restitution for the tax revenue that was flushed down the Boise Tower hole.

Soon after the ruling was released, local TV and print sources leapt onto the idea that other downtown developers--namely, Oppenheimer Development (owners of the Wells Fargo Center at 9th and Main and the big white box known as the One Capital Center, at 720 Idaho St.) and Unico Properties, Inc. (of the U.S. Bank Plaza in Boise and the equally forgettable U.S. Bancorp Tower in Portland) --are eyeballing the hole for new additions to their repetoires. If these companies' past works are any indication of what will be in the hole, we'll have no choice but to continue to pine for the Eastman Building, which burned down on the site in 1987.