Boise Towne Square is a mall in Boise, Idaho, United States. The largest mall in Idaho, it was built in 1988 after more than 20 years of planning. It features over 186 stores, with Borders, Dillard's, JCPenney, Kohl's (opening late 2011), Macy's and Sears as anchor stores. The mall is owned by the Chicago, Illinois-based General Growth Properties.

General Growth also operates an adjacent strip mall, Boise Towne Plaza, which is anchored by Old Navy.[3] In addition, the mall owns nine freestanding businesses on its property, including major retailers PetSmart and Pier 1 Imports.


Plans for mall in Boise The idea for a large regional shopping mall for Boise had been in discussion during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1980, a mall was proposed for nearby Meridian. During the same year, a revitalization of downtown Boise was planned to build a large shopping mall with Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) as an anchor store. ZCMI eventually backed out of the proposed mall and The Bon Marché was added in its place. The mall was never built and, in 1982, another shopping mall, with ZCMI, Sears and J. C. Penney as anchor stores, was planned to be constructed between Boise and Meridian.

Boise Mall at Westpark, another proposed shopping mall, was planned to be constructed near Business Loop I-84 (now Interstate 184). After a name change to Boise Towne Square Mall, construction for the new shopping center began in December 1986. Within the next year, it was announced that Sears, JCPenney, Mervyns and The Bon Marché would be Boise Towne Square's anchor stores. Sears, JCPenney and The Bon Marché were operating locations in downtown Boise. JCPenney and The Bon Marché were also anchors at the Karcher Mall in Nampa.


In September 1988, both Sears and JCPenney began to liquidate their downtown locations in preparations to open in the new mall. At the time JCPenney also liquidated their Karcher Mall location in Nampa and sold the location to Troutman's Emporium. In addition, Sears closed its Westgate Mall location in Boise, which operated a mile from the mall's location. The Bon Marché, however, planned to keep its downtown location for at least a year but eventually stayed until the chain's demise in 2005 when the company's name was converted to Macy's. Macy's would operate the downtown location for five more years before closing in 2010 after declining sales.

After much anticipation, the mall's first anchors, The Bon Marché and Sears, opened their doors on October 9, 1988 at 10 a.m. Kim Clark, advertising and special events coordinator for The Bon Marché, estimated that 10,000 people from the area would visit the store's grand opening. The mall's third anchor, JCPenney, opened its doors on October 12, the same day JCPenney closed its downtown Boise location, which it had operating since 1932. The mall's formal grand opening occurred on October 19. The mall's grand opening included a ribbon cutting ceremony with then mayor of Boise, Dirk Kempthorne. The mall's fourth anchor, Hayward, California-based Mervyns, opened in February 1989.

In September 1989 ZCMI made plans to open two ZCMI II stores in Boise, including a location at Boise Towne Square; neither stores were built.

Opening of Boise Towne Plaza; first expansion

Macy's (previously The Bon Marché) at Boise Towne Square Mall in 2010.During late 1997, JP Realty Inc., owner of the mall during the 1990s, began construction on a 107,500-square-foot (9,990 m2) shopping center in a 10-acre (40,000 m2) area adjacent to the mall. The shopping center's initial anchors were Circuit City and Linens 'n Things. An additional anchor, Old Navy, was later added on.

The mall underwent major renovations in 1998, which included an additional anchor, Dillard's, 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of new retail space, and a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) expansion for The Bon. The mall's new anchor was initially planned to be ZCMI, which had made previous attempts to construct a store in Boise. Due to its Mormon ownership, ZCMI does not operate any stores on Sundays and the mall would not approve of the requirement.

During 1999, the mall completed a five-month, $1 million remodel of the food court. Also in 1999, a small expansion of Boise Towne Plaza was also completed to add Hallmark and Famous Footwear.

Closure of movie theater; 2006 expansion

Mervyns at Boise Towne Square Mall during its store closing sale in 2008. The empty store will be replaced by Kohl's in late 2011.In 2001, Loews Cineplex announced the closure of three Treasure Valley theaters, including the mall's theater. The movie theater, which previously operated as an Cineplex Odeon until its 1998 merger with Loews, was opened in 1988.

The empty theater was reopened by local movie theater chain, The Reel Theatre, in December 2004. The Reel Theatre shut down the Boise Towne Square location in 2007 after a major renovation of a nearby location. The mall's theater remained vacant until it was demolished in October 2009 for a PetSmart store. The PetSmart store opened in 2010 after relocating from an older location nearby.

In 2006, the mall was expanded to add 35,000 square feet (3,300 m²) of retail space. The expansion's first new tenants included Borders, which relocated from an older location nearby, and The Cheesecake Factory. The expansion also added Talbots, which relocated from its 19-year-old ParkCenter Mall location, in October 2007. An interior renovation was completed in October 2008. The expansion has made Boise Towne Square the largest mall in Idaho, with more than 180 stores.

Loss of major retailers; 2009 bomb threat

In August 2008, long-time anchor Mervyns announced it would close its location in the mall in late early November 2008, as part of the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Two months later, Linens 'n Things announced it would liquidate and close its remaining stores. On January 16, 2009, it was announced that Circuit City would also liquidate and close remaining stores.

On February 9, 2009, local police were forced to evacuate the mall after several suspicious devices were found, a first for the 20-year-old shopping mall. At least 2,000 customers and employees were in the mall when it was evacuated. Boise police and federal law enforcement located what were discovered to be fake explosives in several different locations in the mall. The mall reopened at its regular time the following day.

It was announced in February 2010, Apple Inc. had chosen the mall for Idaho's first Apple Store location. The new store was opened on September 11, 2010. In January 2011, Nordstrom announced it is considering the Boise Towne Square Mall as a location for Idaho's first Nordstrom Rack. A contractor bidding announcement confirmed Kohl's is planning a store at the Boise Towne Square Mall in the former Mervyns building. Construction on the new Kohl's store began March 1 and will be completed by late 2011.

On February 16, 2011, Borders Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the closure of 200 of its 642 bookstores. The mall's location was not included in the closure list released by the company. The mall's owner, General Growth Properties, has requested to appear in the Borders bankruptcy case, in order to represent their interests.

The Border's store went out of business later in 2011. The space was remodeled to fit the look of the Swedish clothing retailer H&M which opened in June of 2012.