Downtown Boise has a lot to offer. 8th Street boasts a pallet of restaurants, the Grove Fountains provides beauty to a scenic hangout, and the narrow streets of ornate, often grandiose buildings entice many with a stamp of Boise’s rich history. Still, the empty lot between Front St. and Myrtle St. alongside 9th St. and 11th St has left us with a blank slate for a number of decades.
Targeted for completion in 2015, Jack’s Urban Meeting Place will fulfill the potential of this city-center lot. The surrounding fence of the present-day construction site brightly dubs it the JUMP Building. It is one of many products of JR Simplot’s legacy. The Simplot family, well-known for their promotion of creative activity, wished to fund a new establishment to benefit the Boise community. JUMP will be a source of creative classes such as culinary, dance, and multimedia workshops as well as a meeting place for various organizations. Located just off the freeway, JUMP will invite people in with a warm, modern, and large outdoor landscape.
Simplot, himself revered his personal tractor collection. Before his death in 2008 at the age of 99, Simplot had stated that he wanted to put his collection on display. Following his wish, JUMP will have several of his tractors on display throughout the property.
The JUMP building has already faced a number of obstacles in reaching approval from the City of Boise. This first version of the building looked like a stadium (or to some a castle), complete with an outdoor amphitheater. It would be rather uninviting to visitors. The Design Review Commission rejected the plan in 2009 due to concern for the flow of downtown to the river being interrupted by a large structure.
The project was delayed yet again when the commission formally rejected a redesign in October of 2010. Besides a number of safety hazards (multistory slides), the city disliked the bright colors of the proposed building that did not coincide with any other downtown building. The Planning and Zoning Commission later overruled the Design Review’s rejection. The personal politics went so far as to result in the resignation of a number of the members of the Design Review Commission.
While Planning and Zoning Approved JUMP in late 2010, they did not sign a building permit until JUMP addressed vital safety concerns. A third design, scaled back the flashy, bright colors that resembled a theme park, and were a source of much controversy. Instead, it opted for more open and modern wood, glass, and metal design.
Jack’s Urban Meeting Place will be built in two key phases. The first and current phase (as of May 2013), is the underground parking garage, made of steel-reinforced concrete. It also includes the center silo and concrete framework. The second phase, which will begin in late 2013, will fill out the rest of the building.