Construction Sites: A Love Story

It's 4:53 am, and after sitting awake staring at the glow in the dark stars that line my bedroom ceiling slowly fade to black over the last hour, I finally just accepted that I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep. I've been lost in my mind for weeks. I've been staying up most nights until 1:00a staring at my computer screen writing down thoughts and ideas into a word document. 

Yesterday, I was showing a friend a lot of the progress that has been going on in Boise over the past few years, and we got on the topic of perspective. I feel that so many people miss some of the best views by only looking at what's immediately in front of them, but they don't look at a lot of the details that architects add for aesthetic appeal that goes further than a building that stands on a foundation. I love all of the unnoticed verticle angles that are now present in the city, especially considering that five years ago most of them hadn't even been tangible ideas in the mind of the architect.

Eighth & Main has some of the most foot traffic in downtown Boise, largely due to its centralized location, ensity of shops and restaurant, and also because it is the entrance to Saturday's Capital City Market. There is always something fun happening on street level, even more so on Saturday as street performers come out and music fills the streets to compliment the delicious aromas of market.

So much going on, it's constant. When I start to get lost in my anxiety, I start to look around and appreciate architecture. It's silly, but I love design and aesthetics. When Hailie and I went to Dubai a few years ago, the best part of the trip was simply seeing amazing buildings.

I love standing on the corner of 8th & Main and looking straight up. To me, the angles of three buildings represent the past, present, and future of this city. Five years ago, this was a giant hole in the ground surrounded by a half-ass wall to keep people from falling into the metric tons of rebar and unfinished foundation. For the 14 years I've lived in Boise, it was always a hole, just a giant hole. The site had been vacant since 1987 when a fire destroyed the building that originally stood there, and it wasn't until 10 years later when a company came in with plans to build a 25-story tower but failed to secure financing after digging a giant hole and putting in the beginning of what was to become the building's foundation.

 I didn't take this picture. Photographer unknown.

I didn't take this picture. Photographer unknown.

Since 1997, there has been nothing but a GIANT HOLE on 8th and Main. in 2001, 2003, and 2006, three different proposals all fell through, and it looked like a giant hole was going to be the city's shameful joke of wasted potential. 

Then, in early 2014, Zion's bank opened up with as much pomp & circumstance as could be thrown at the event. The Goo Goo Dolls even played a free show for the city at the grand opening. Boise was growing up, literally. Five months following that grand opening, there was another groundbreaking ceremony across the street for the Boise City Center Plaza. Two years later, no longer is there just a simple parking lot. All of the red bricks that made up the grove plaza have all been taken out of the ground. Instead, wonderful vertical angles and the promise of a thriving community.

As I was walking by the grove the day after all of the trees had been removed, this visual really spoke to me. I am living through the death of an era, and the birth of a new era that celebrates the foundation. Boise has become an even more amazing place, and it keeps growing on a daily basis, even in the outskirts of town. Just on my morning commute, I pass three high rises that are in the middle of construction, JUMP is only months away from their public opening, there are buildings popping up all throughout the developed parts of town, and even more development has been outlined from the city of Boise over the next 20 years.

JUMP is one of two buildings I'm excited about opening up this year. This is where I hung out for years because the shop I got tattooed at was located in the one building that is still standing in front of it. I watched BoDo become one of the first modern developments through the front window of Forever Fate. For years, it was nothing more than a giant dirt lot and a dinner theater that never filled the house. Now it is going to be the home for what is becoming my favorite part of the skyline, mostly because of what it stands for. J.R. Simplot wanted a place for the community to come together, no matter what it was that the community wanted to do. A simple multi-purpose building that is being constructed of physical concrete and steel is really being built off of the culture that makes the Treasure Valley so easy to fall in love with.

I love the city of trees, and part of the reason I fell so hard is because I choose to take a different view of the city. God, I hated working for some of the people I worked with at the travel agency for two years, but that experience gave me context to what makes Boise so special because I was able to compare it to every vacation I set up. Becoming a tourist in your own city will turn you into a tour guide.

Now that I've spent 3 hours working on this overdue post, I'm going to get ready for work, but I wanted to leave with this final thought. As I was showing my friend around the new Boise, we started talking about our personal issues with anxiety. One of the ways that my personal anxiety manifests is voices, crazy person style. I've blogged about it before, but there is constant chatter in my head, and it's so incredibly distracting. I swear it isn't a matter of me ignoring you or not paying attention, I just have a difficult time keeping up with just how much is going on simultaneously. I've read tons of articles on schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and their relation to intellect, and I'd always been curious as to how they are related, I recalled a vivid memory to him when I was doing yard work in my backyard, listening to a tangible conversation on the value of completing the task at hand to the fullest extent possible, given that the task was so menial and would need to be done again 7 days later. I listened to the internal dialogue as though I had been auditing the entire session from an outside perspective until I finally rationalized what was happening and I told myself to stop. That was a year and a half ago, and the voices haven't shown any sign of letting up, so instead, I changed how I started listening. To be honest, I don't think they ever will go away, but instead of viewing them like the devil on my shoulder, they have become a constant source of ideas and creativity. I can handle an overflow of ideas and creativity because I can take control over the ideas and focus on them from different angles. It's still anxiety that keeps me up until 1 and wakes me up at 3:30, but it's focused anxiety that allows me to see the larger picture as a whole, and that context by itself is giving me the resolve to keep pushing forward.

Chris BentleyComment