Business

Why did a firm owned by one of the richest women in the U.S. just buy BoDo in Boise?

The Edwards Boise Downtown theater, right, and P.F. Changs, across South 8th Street, are tenants in two of the three BoDo buildings recently sold to a Wisconsin company. This photo was taken from the parking garage, where the ground-floor business spaces were also part of the deal.
The Edwards Boise Downtown theater, right, and P.F. Changs, across South 8th Street, are tenants in two of the three BoDo buildings recently sold to a Wisconsin company. This photo was taken from the parking garage, where the ground-floor business spaces were also part of the deal. doswald@idahostatesman.com

A Wisconsin company headed by what Forbes magazine describes as the second-richest self-made woman in the United States has bought the buildings that make up Downtown Boise’s BoDo commercial district.

The $25 million sale to Hendricks Commercial Properties of Beloit, Wisconsin, includes two buildings anchored by P.F. Chang’s and the Edwards Boise Downtown theaters. It also includes ground-floor business sites under the public parking garage across Broad Street from Edwards. Altogether, the buildings have 19 tenants.

“They liked the dynamics of the Boise market and wanted to have a larger presence out West,” said Mike Christensen, a commercial real estate broker for Colliers International, which handled the sale.

Hendricks is owned by Diane Hendricks, 70, who also chairs ABC Supply, one of the nation’s largest wholesale sellers of windows, roofing and siding. She has run the company since the 2007 death of her husband, Ken, who cofounded it.

ABC Supply has more than 700 locations and reports sales of $7.2 billion, according to Forbes. It operates one Idaho store, at 925 N. Franklin Road in Nampa.

Diane Hendricks founded the property management company in 1974 in Beloit, her hometown. She got her start as a single mother, fixing up homes in Beloit, a depressed manufacturing town of 37,000 next to the Illinois state line north of Rockford, according to a profile this summer in The New York Times. She is working to turn Beloit into a high-tech center.

The company today has holdings in 33 states, with buildings totaling more than 11 million square feet.

Forbes pegged her net worth at $5.1 billion. In its list of the richest self-made women, Hendricks was just below Marian Ilitch, cofounder of Little Caesars Pizza, who also has a net worth of $5.1 billion.

The BoDo sale, first reported by Idaho Business Review, closed last Wednesday. Colliers listed the properties, which include 119,000 square feet of space, at the beginning of March.

“There was national, regional and local interest,” Christensen said. “We’re seeing a lot of demand from investors: Interest rates are low, the economy is healthy and Boise is a very prosperous community. So there’s such demand for investors to check the Boise market.”

Neither Rob Gerbitz, CEO of Hendricks Commercial Properties, nor Michael Attioni of BoDo Tic, the sellers, could be reached Tuesday.

BoDo opened late in 2005. Developer Mark Rivers bought four square blocks of the old 8th Street Marketplace from JRS Properties, a company owned by J.R. Simplot’s family.

The 8th Street Marketplace had been a limited success and had a hard time competing against the Boise Towne Square mall, which opened in 1988. Merchants complained then that customers wouldn’t cross five-lane Front Street for a limited shopping experience. But Rivers thought the area was ripe for creating a “cool neighborhood.”

“People will cross Front Street if there is a destination there that makes it worth crossing Front Street,” Rivers told the Statesman in 2005.

He did that by securing a commitment from P.F. Chang’s, which said it had been looking at Boise for several years but hadn’t found a suitable location. The Chinese restaurant anchors the northwest corner of 8th and Broad streets.

Regal Entertainment, owner of the Edwards chain, agreed to locate there too after seeing the mixture of local stores and national retailers committed to BoDo.

“BoDo was a pioneer in establishing diverse national retail in the downtown core,” Rivers said in an email Tuesday from his home office in Boise. “And helped the city move south of Front Street toward the river. Great projects, like this, require TLC and a commitment to creating place and distinction.”

Rivers said he has not had any ownership in BoDo since 2007. Today, he said, Downtown Boise is at a crossroads.

“Retail is fading to more restaurants and shopping plazas in Meridian that look like Scottsdale (Arizona),” he said. “In Downtown, we need to remain committed and courageous to keep the character and culture of a dynamic urban hub.”

That means more retail, not less, he said.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell

The other BoDo tenants

▪  Ann Taylor LOFT

▪  Ava Rae Boutique

▪  Five Guys

▪  Caffé D'arte

▪  Fresh Café

▪  Idaho Trust National Bank

▪  Lunatic Fringe Salon

▪  Meraki Greek Street Food

▪  Office Depot

▪  Randy VanDyck

▪  Swank Boutique

▪  The STIL

▪  UpCycle

▪  Idaho iRepair

▪  Voxn Clothing

▪  White House Black Market

▪  Yoi Tomo

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