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Karcher Mall's new owner plans to revitalize the aging shopping center

The oldest indoor mall in Idaho will undergo a major transformation with an $11 million project to turn it into an open-air shopping center.

NAMPA, Idaho — Karcher Mall in Nampa was first opened in 1965 and was the state's first indoor shopping center. However, the mall is years past its prime and now its new owner from California plans to heavily invest into the mall and rejuvenate it.

People around the Treasure Valley, like Troy Ferguson of Middleton, have seen the mall at its peak and its lowest points over the years, with customers and businesses coming and going throughout the last 50 years.

"I've seen the lows and them try and come back and try and rebuild this," Ferguson said.

Now he and the rest of the region are about to witness Karcher Mall go through another transformation with an $11 million project to turn the mall into an open-air shopping center. The plan includes a renewed focus on larger retail tenants and fewer small stores.

Pat Vassar, the director of underwriting for Ignite Funding, the investment group behind the project, says it comes down to what customers want in their shopping experience.

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"What we've noticed is there is a lack of desire for an indoor shop space," Vassar said. "It's not unique to Idaho, or this mall specifically. This is just what we've seen happen across the United States."

He says the new owner, Sanjiv Chopra from Rhino Holdings Nampa LLC specializes in what's called value-add retail.

"What he will do is go in and demise a majority of the interior inline shop space and change the configuration of the mall to make it more of a power center," Vassar said.

This is the open air concept - more big box stores that are nationally known and average about 30,000 square feet. But don't expect any of the main stores at the mall now, like Mor Furniture, Joanne's Fabrics, Ross and Big 5 Sporting Goods, to go anywhere.

"There's four current ones and we do expect all four of those to stay," Vassar said. "We do expect two or three more to come in and in addition to that we do expect some of the current inline shop owners like GNC for example to stay."

Vassar recognizes how important Karcher Mall is to the Nampa community and hopes to bring it to new glory days.

"(It) has probably seen better days in the past and we hope to bring it back to its glory and maybe a little bit beyond that," he said.

Changes at Karcher Mall will begin in the next 60 days. The entire project is expected to be complete sometime next year. 

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