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Developers push pause on proposed 13-story downtown building: ’let’s take a deep breath’


A high-profile new building in Downtown Boise won’t sprout up as soon as developers hoped.

BVA Development and its partners decided to “pause” the ICCU Building planned for 4th St. and Idaho St., according to principal Tommy Ahlquist. He said BVA, Ball Ventures and Idaho Central decided last Friday to hold off on construction, for now.

“You look at where we are heading, and if you’ve been through this before you know that in six or eight months (building costs) will be a lot less than they are now,” Ahlquist said.

He said the project has seen escalating costs from a number of subcontractors.

“If I’m a sub in this market, I’m trying to protect myself and fluffing it up (the price), and finally we said, with Kent Oram (ICCU CEO) and Cortney Liddiard (Ball Ventures CEO), ’let’s take a deep breath and move forward in six months and rebid things.’

Idaho Central Credit Union Building
A rendering of the redesigned proposal from BVA for 4th and Idaho. Via Cushing Terrell

The former ICCU branch on the property has been torn down and the site has been cleared down to dirt. Ahlquist said the partners have already purchased a key element for the building – the steel – and remain committed to moving forward.

He said as they’ve gone through the bid and estimate process over the last six months, prices continued to escalate, while at the same time the economic environment has changed.

“We know the economy is moving and tipping, and we think we are being smart to wait, and we have a fiduciary responsibility,” Ahlquist said. ”It wasn’t easy but it was positive to wait.”

The City of Boise approved the 13-story tower, and the entitlement is valid for two years through 2024, though the city routinely approves extension requests. It would include a new branch for ICCU, office space, residential units and parking.

The project is one of several buildings proposed over ten stories in height in the downtown area that have either been announced or approved that have not yet started construction.

Other tall projects on the drawing board

Hovde Properties said it would build a 19-story tower at 6th St. and Front St. Though the project won approvals, the developer has not yet applied to tear down an existing building on the site. Demolition would need to happen first before construction could start on the residential tower. Hovde has also not applied for a building permit on the project.

Boise-based Oppenheimer Companies plans to build a 27-story residential tower at 12th St. and Idaho St. The project won approvals last fall, and the firm applied for a number of initial permits for the building this spring. The site is currently empty and construction has not yet started.

Eagle-based Pennbridge Lodging hopes to build a hotel at 10th St. and Grove St., as BoiseDev first reported a year ago. The company started the approval process with the city last month by indicating it would hold a neighborhood meeting. The project could include two hotel brands.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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