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Twin Falls, Idaho, Developer Brings Downtown Dream to Life

Developer Fran Florence is helping propel a renaissance in downtown Twin Falls with a combination of redevelopment and new construction.

By Livability on November 29, 2022

Twin Falls developer Fran Florence, right, with Milner’s Gate Restaurant/Brewery owner Malan Erke.
Courtesy of Westerra Real Estate Group

In the early 2000s, real estate broker and developer Fran Florence started working to drum up support for a “renaissance” of downtown Twin Falls, Idaho

But the timing just wasn’t right. So, he focused his efforts a few miles away with Elevation 486, as the culinary centerpiece of a multibuilding, mixed-use development on the rim of the scenic Snake River Canyon. 

But Florence, the founding member of Westerra Real Estate Group and its commercial division, Westcom, had grown up just blocks from Main Street in Twin Falls and couldn’t stop thinking about his hopes for a downtown rebirth. 

By now, a few shops and restaurants had opened there and the high-tech agricultural industry and new manufacturing plants were attracting young, educated employees “who need a cultural and social vibe to go along with the access to the great outdoors that our community offers,” Florence says. 

This time, the city leaders were convinced that “the timing was right to go bold.” 

First came a new City Hall in a former department store and updated infrastructure on Main Street, then a mixed-use building with a trendy brew pub on the ground floor of the former Historic Elks Lodge and a nearby commons area for public events. 

Westerra office in the Historic Elks Building in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho. 
Courtesy of Westerra Real Estate Group
Westerra office in the Historic Elks Building in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho. 

Florence brought city leaders, the Urban Renewal Agency, anchor tenant and developer to the table for construction of a new, six-story multi-use development, including 44 residential apartments. 

Pat Lewis, a Twin Falls native and founder of KRS, an international software company serving the convenience, petroleum and restaurant industries, is moving his 20-year-old business and 100 employees into the new six-story building. 

“I loved the dichotomy of a tech company focused on the future making its home in the oldest part of the city,” Lewis says. “Fran’s vision of getting more people working and living downtown has been amazing to see come to fruition.” 

Construction in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho
Westerra Real Estate Group
Row houses under construction in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho, across from the park, with City Hall and multistory mixed-use building.

Now in the works: downtown’s first row house development with 11 period-style homes facing City Park. 

“Any strong, growing community needs a vibrant downtown core,” Florence says. “The future is bright for Twin Falls because we see energy coming back into downtown.” 

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