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Olive Garden
Photo courtesy of Jeffery Patrick

TWIN FALLS — Woodbury Corp. has announced both Hobby Lobby and Olive Garden are coming to the Magic Valley Mall — and will likely open by fall.

This will be the first time either business has been in Twin Falls, but there has been a lot of local hype about them — particularly after Olive Garden confirmed in October that it was considering the city for a potential location. Woodbury Corp. also hinted at pending negotiations with the restaurant earlier this month.

The mall’s developer announced on Tuesday that Olive Garden would build a restaurant at Locust Street and Pole Line Road, just south of Sears. Hobby Lobby, meanwhile, will take over the entire Macy’s space inside the mall.

“It is very exciting to be introducing these two businesses to the Twin Falls community,” Randy Woodbury, president of Woodbury Corp., said in a statement. “Hobby Lobby offers people a great opportunity to explore their creative passions. And for the past 20 years, local residents have routinely put Olive Garden at the top of the list of most-desired businesses, so we know they’ll be thrilled to have both of these businesses finally be so close to home.”

Macy’s officially closes March 31, a Woodbury Corp. spokeswoman said. It’ll be a quick turnaround for such a large space.

“What it really says is retailers find the Magic Valley and the Magic Valley Mall an attractive place to be,” Woodbury Corp. Regional Manager Brent White told the Times-News in a phone interview Tuesday. “That’s why it happened very quickly.”

Woodbury Corp. is a development and real estate management company based in Salt Lake City. It manages the Magic Valley Mall, as well as Canyon Park West and Canyon Park East shopping centers.

White said both Hobby Lobby and Olive Garden are far along in the design process, and he expects them to submit building permits within the next few weeks.

Olive Garden is a casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian-American cuisine. Its parent company, Darden Restaurants, is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company.

An Olive Garden spokeswoman confirmed the company has signed a lease with the developer, but was still working on permitting details. On average, each new restaurant brings about 150 new jobs.

Once completed, the Twin Falls Olive Garden will be approximately 7,000 square feet, Woodbury Corp. stated.

“We’re really excited about Olive Garden,” White said. “Many stars needed to align — and they have. They have waited for exactly the right time and location.”

His company has approached the restaurant chain multiple times in the past, he said, but Twin Falls competed on a worldwide market.

Hobby Lobby is the world’s largest privately-owned arts and crafts retailer. It has more than 800 stores across the U.S. with 32,000 employees, according to the company’s website.

The approximately 60,000-square-foot Hobby Lobby at the Magic Valley Mall will offer more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products.

“Hobby Lobby is always looking for new locations to better serve our customers,” Bob Miller, communications coordinator for Hobby Lobby said in a statement. “With the positive response we’ve received in our four Idaho stores, we believe this will be an excellent location. We look forward to being a part of the community and helping our Twin Falls customers live a creative life.”

White said Hobby Lobby has been negotiating for different Twin Falls locations over a decade.

Tuesday’s announcement was welcome news for one of Twin Falls’ prime retail locations along the canyon rim. Earlier this year, Magic Valley Mall shoppers were shocked by the news that not only Macy’s, but Sears, would be closing. Sears’ closure is expected in early April.

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But mall representatives have remained positive on the property’s future.

“This was our first opportunity in 30 years at those locations to give our market what it wants now,” White said.

Sears and Macy’s have been at the mall since the mid-1980s. But White said it’s the nature of retail to change to meet consumer interests.

The mall earlier this month got a new development agreement with the city to allow for residential and other outright permitted uses in the future.

In fact, it was that agreement that was critical to getting Olive Garden, White said, allowing for different setbacks than before and removing the requirement for a special use permit for alcohol consumption on-site.

Meanwhile, Old Navy closed at the end of January at the Canyon Park East shopping center. The city has issued building permits for a HomeGoods store to remodel the space. HomeGoods is owned by the same company as T.J. Maxx.

Other big announcements Woodbury Corp. made in recent months included the opening of Blaze Pizza and the construction of a Habit Burger Grill and a Sports Clips at Canyon Park West.

Woodbury Corp. is negotiating for a potential retail or entertainment tenant in the Sears building. But White says there’s more to come over the next decade.

“Our industry has to adapt rapidly.”


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