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'Downtown Boise is boomin': How downtown Boise's growth is feeding more developments

"We're growing but I think the love for downtown is also growing along with the city's growth."
Sky7 flying through downtown Boise

BOISE, Idaho — Construction cranes and new shops in downtown Boise are as common as the City of Trees making another obscure top 10 rankings list, but how has Idaho's capitol been able to maintain consistent growth over the years? 

Downtown Boise business leaders agreed that its a snowball effect that attracting more developments in the downtown core. With more amenities, businesses, and housing in downtown, more businesses and corporations are looking at setting up shop in the area.

"Obviously, downtown Boise is boomin'," said CEO and President of the Boise Metro Chamber Bill Connors.

As more major corporations relocate to downtown Boise, Connor said companies are beginning to use having their headquarters in the downtown core as a key recruiting tool. 

Connor explained that JR Simplot Company CEO Garret Lofto told a story during one of the BMC's conferences that the Simplot Company didn't anticipate that moving to downtown Boise would be such a key tool to attract new talent. Lofto explained that the amenities and attractions of downtown Boise are crucial in recruiting new talent.

The executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, Clark Krause, explained that another factor that is attracting businesses is that local college graduates are staying in the valley more often, giving businesses and companies more local talent to recruit.

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Companies are beginning to flock to downtown Boise, like the J.R. Simplot Company, and are using the recent developments as a tool to bring in people that want to enjoy the new attractions downtown.

For how many businesses that are opening and closing in downtown Boise, Jennifer Hensley, the executive director of the Downtown Boise Association, estimates only one business has closed down in the last few months, but another three have opened, and 20 more are planning to open sometime soon.

While she hasn't been in Boise for long, as she just recently moved to the Treasure Valley, Hensley thinks that the quality of the restaurants, shops, and other businesses is one of the reasons that downtown Boise is so attractive for consumers and businesses alike.

"It's also the people," she explained. "We have incredible people working at all of these places. They're warm, they're inviting, they make you feel welcomed."

According to 2018 statistics, Hensley said, "In our area, our square footage, we have more than seven times the rate of storefronts than any other area in the city."

The number and quality of downtown Boise's businesses aren't just attracting major companies to relocate to the area, it's also bringing in people from around the Treasure Valley. Hensley said people who don't live in downtown Boise account for an estimated 86% of downtown retail sales.

Hensley said, "We're growing but I think the love for downtown is also growing along with the city's growth."

MORE: Then and now: See how the Treasure Valley has grown in the last 100 years

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