A story BoiseDev members got first.
Gardner Co. snapped up another failing large retail center in the Treasure Valley – with the purchase of Boise Factory Outlets.
The mostly empty outlet mall changed hands earlier this month. First Premier Properties of Salem picked up the large 22-acre site in 2016. It worked to revitalize the center and pitched a number of concepts for changes. The mall today has just two retail tenants left – Eddie Bauer Outlet and Pendleton Outlet.
Gardner Co. president David Wali is excited about the possibilities for the site on Eisenman Rd. near I-84 in south Boise.
“It’s two turns from anywhere in the valley,” he said. “Mountain Home, Twin Falls, Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell — all with very little interference. It’s not a bad place to look at repurposing for a combo of retail, light industrial, and some office.”
Wali said the site could even support places for folks to live.
“We could maybe even see some housing, with all the new jobs out there. Everyone has tried retail (on the site), maybe building a community would work better.”
Gardner bought the property as part of what’s known as a 1031 Exchange — a tax provision that allows companies to sell properties and reinvest the proceeds. Wali said the firm sold a number of properties in Utah.
Wali said any number of options are in play, including tearing down some of the existing buildings, repurposing pieces or even larger changes. He made a comparison to the Riverside Hotel in Garden City, which languished for years under corporate ownership.
“Local owners came in at a time when west downtown (Boise) was mostly empty and there wasn’t much going on,” he said. “Now you have the Whitewater Park and the park with the Simplots and more activity in the area and it’s thrived.”
Wali said the outlet mall property’s position in the Gateway East urban renewal area provides opportunity, but changes could take time.
“We bought it more as a long-term land play,” he said. “It may take some time.”
It adds another high-profile corner on an Interstate 84 interchange into Gardner Co.’s fold. The Utah-based firm acquired the Nampa Gateway Center last year, and Wali said the company will make changes to that site as well. It is also involved in the possible redevelopment of the large Ramada Inn (former Wyndham/Holiday Inn) site at Vista Ave. and I-84.
The Boise Factory Outlet Mall opened in 1994, developed by the Simplot family’s S-Sixteen development company. The five retail buildings were largely full, with names like Levi’s, Playtex – even a McDonald’s restaurant. The Simplot family also developed the Idaho IceWorld facility next to the mall – which it later transferred to the City of Boise.
S-Sixteen sold the center in 2001, and it has changed hands a number of times over the years – and has slowly lost tenants, with just the two stores and a few other various uses remaining.