Auditorium district eyes Gardner Grove Plaza project for more space

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- By purchasing space in two buildings the Gardner Company plans to construct at the U.S. Bank building site, the Greater Boise Auditorium District (GBAD) says it can become a bigger player in the national convention market.

"Currently we can compete for 20 percent of the convention market around the country," said Pat Rice, GBAD executive director. "With this amount of meeting space and added hotel capacity, we have the potential to compete for 70 percent of convention market in the united states."

In the two buildings, GBAD envisions a combined convention space of some 43,000 square feet for meeting halls plus a ballroom and commercial kitchen.

The total cost of the GBAD project is estimated at $37 million and would be paid for through hotel room taxes and perhaps the sale of downtown real estate the auditorium district owns.

GBAD has already signed a letter of intent with the Gardner Company, developers of the new Zions Bank building.

"The opportunity to expand on the Grove Plaza and significantly increase local economic activity without major disruption to our existing operations is ideal," said District Vice Chairman Hy Kloc.

Fellow Director Judy Peavey-Derr added, "After years of exploring expansion scenarios, it appears we've finally come upon a unique solution that meets the requirements of the market and creates exciting opportunities for us and for Boise."

Kloc thanked Tommy Ahlquist and the Gardner Company, as well as the City of Boise for their creative problem solving.