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Boise’s lifeless old Louie’s to get upgrade, new tenants

The Sundance Company

In 2007, a new Italian restaurant opened in Downtown Boise. The project brought a Big Time Chain to Downtown Boise.

Before the doors on the Old Spaghetti Factory on Idaho St. could open – the long-time local Italian restaurant next door decided to close up shop. Louie’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant retreated to its Meridian location. Louie’s owners denied the two events were related at the time.

But Old Spaghetti Factory didn’t last long. The huge chain restaurant made it about six years before shutting down.

[The Old Spaghetti Factory building in Boise has long been vacant. Here’s its status]

Both buildings remained vacant for years. The Louie’s location since 2007 – and Old Spaghetti since 2013.

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The Sundance Company

But new activity could bring life to that portion of Idaho St.

Barclay Group recently closed on the purchase of the Louie’s building. It purchased the OSF building late last this year as BoiseDev reported.

Now Barclay SVP of Development Ryan Gaston is working to get tenants in the door for both properties.

Gaston says his firm lined up a tenant for the daylight basement of the former Louie’s building – with an announcement still to come. The company hopes to also find a tenant for the main floor and has it listed for lease.

He also hopes to see a new project in the OSF building.

New life for Louie’s

Architect’s rendering of the updated interior for the former Louie’s building on Idaho St. in Boise

“We are going to remodel the building inside, with an industrial modern feel,” Gaston said. “We are also going to restore the exterior of the building. It’s historically protected.”

The building’s 1940s-era Moderne architectural styling is still intact. It is part of the Boise Historic District.

The building first sprung up in 1940, when Benito Ysursa spent $26,000 to build the 9,000 square foot building for a Basque Boarding house known as The Valencia.

Over the years, a number of restaurants took up residence, including Levi’s Alley – which got its name for the former red-light district that surrounded the current Boise City Hall. It also housed The Valencia Restaurant, Les’s Stereo Lounge and finally Louie’s.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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