NAMPA — After being on the market for three years, the Karcher Mall was purchased by California-based Rhino Investments on May 3, and the company plans to invest over $30 million for a multipurpose redevelopment at the site.
Rhino CEO Sanjiv Chopra said the company is planning to make use of as much of the 37-acre property as possible. There are more than 10 acres of parking lot space behind the mall that he said few people know about, and they’re planning to use part of that to build multifamily housing.
Chopra said he plans to add an extended-stay hotel on the property. He said Hyatt officials have already expressed interest. Beyond that, he said an entertainment center and a fitness center will likely move in, although he couldn’t specify the names of the businesses.
The new ownership means a big transition is underway for the Karcher Mall, although Chopra said the mall’s big retailers like Ross, Mor Furniture, JoAnn Fabric and Crafts and Big 5 Sporting Goods will remain. Three other tenants have reached out to him since Rhino gained ownership to say they wanted out of their lease, he said.
Part of the mall will be demolished as part of the redevelopment, and Chopra said some of the indoor structure may remain intact. He said Karcher Mall has “good bones,” so the project likely will not be a full demolition and remodel.
The mall opened in 1965 as Idaho’s first indoor shopping mall and thrived for several decades until the Boise Towne Square Mall opened in 1988. Customers and businesses chose the newer, larger Boise mall over Karcher Mall, and Karcher Mall has struggled to keep up with the changing retail market since then.
That type of development is exactly the type Chopra said Rhino Investments specializes in. The company owns more than 3 million square feet of property throughout the western United States, and he said they seek out buildings that have been let go over time, or have had several tenants leave. Chopra said the company has regularly been involved in remodels for major stores like Sears or K-Mart.
Since taking over the Karcher Mall, Chopra said some Idaho residents have already reached out to him to express their excitement that the once-thriving mall may now get a revival. Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said in an email statement that the Karcher Mall has “tremendous potential,” and she is eager to see what the redevelopment brings.
“I will enjoy watching its transformation in the coming months,” Kling said in the statement.
Rhino Investments owns several properties in California, Washington, New Mexico and several other states surrounding Idaho, but this project will be the company’s first in the state. Chopra said he’s been eyeing Idaho for a long time given the state’s rapid growth, and Nampa emerged as an appealing location.
“It’s not going backwards, it’s going forward,” Chopra said.
Chopra said he is at the beginning of the approval process through the city, and more details about the development will emerge moving forward. He expects construction to begin this summer.