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CCDC on the rocks?

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Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has requested an internal audit of the Capital City Development Corporation in the wake of news that Boise Place developer, Charterhouse Boise Downtown Properties, has defaulted on a $2.6 million loan to develop the former Boise Tower property.

The request came in a memo sent to members of the Boise City Council on April 13, and stated that there are numerous issues regarding the independent urban development group.

"The issues that you as Council members and I have raised regarding the specifics of CCDC's operation really go to a much broader set of questions involving the agency's mission, goals, business model, scope of operations, and governance," Bieter wrote in the memo.

Highlighted issues include CCDC's overall mission, an assessment of recent projects, planning and design standards and processes, and financial concerns.

The council, which met Tuesday night, was expected to easily approve the mayor's request.

City Councilor Dave Eberle, who serves on CCDC, said calls for the dissolution of the organization are premature, but said the discussion of a long-term plan for phasing out CCDC is an option.

The loan default is the latest chapter in the saga of downtown Boise's best-known hole in the ground, and puts into question the future of the $126 million, 31-story building currently planned for the site on the corner of 8th and Main streets.

While criticism has run rampant over the lack of progress on the property, which has remained a gaping construction site since ground was broken on the former Boise Tower project in 2001, CCDC leaders aren't quite ready to panic.

"It's not a big deal," Eberle said. "It's not desirable, clearly, but it's not that unusual of a situation for a developer to work through."

Charterhouse has until Aug. 2 to pay off the loan before loan administrator Alpha Lending moves to sell the property at a public auction.

Eberle said if Rogers decides not to go forward with the project, he has the option to resell the property on the open market.