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The plans for a downtown mall featured an open air plaza at the intersection of Eighth and Idaho streets.  Streets in the eight-block area around it would be roofed and closed to traffic; many existing buildings would be leveled to build large department stores.  This view looks south on Eighth Street, toward one of the mall entrances.  The historic Boise City National Bank Building, still standing, is on the right.  This image is from the cover of a promotional brochure published by the Winmar Company and found in the Boise Redevelopment Agency documents collection (MSS 250), Box 1 Folder 4.  This page last changed: 12 October 2006.

During the 1970s and early 80s, Boise, Idaho, struggled to revitalize its fading downtown. City leaders fixed on the idea of building a large enclosed regional shopping mall--the first such mall in Boise--in the heart of the downtown commercial district. The Winmar Company of Seattle was awarded the rights to develop it. Their plans were ambitious, but never realized.  Major retailers--the large department stores that serve as anchor tenants--never bought into the idea of a downtown mall, and the city was forced grudgingly to approve a mall proposed by another developer elsewhere in town (closer to the Interstate) or lose the mall completely to one of its neighboring jurisdictions.  Downtown Boise was indeed revitalized--and quite successfully--in the 1990s, but through ways and means that preserved a more traditional urban form.  The story of Boise's attempts to build a mall downtown, and of its urban renewal efforts in general, is preserved in two collections in Albertsons Library: the Boise Redevelopment Agency documents collection (MSS 250) and in the Charles F. Hummel "Planning Boise" collection (MSS 244).     


The Proposal

The Plan

Another Mall


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