Circle Centre nears deals for Burger Palace, Yard House, LA Fitness

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Three national restaurant chains and a health club franchise are nearing deals to take the ground-level space at Circle Centre left vacant by former anchor tenant Nordstrom.

Local retail brokers say Bobby’s Burger Palace, a restaurant chain developed by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, along with beer-focused Yard House and Bonefish Grill are the eateries in discussions with mall manager Simon Property Group Inc. to occupy the first floor of the former store at Meridian and Georgia streets.

In addition, LA Fitness would take space on the first and second levels at the south end of the space.

Landing the national chains would be a major boon for both downtown and the publicly traded Simon, which has been unable to lure any retail tenants to the 210,000-square-foot space since Nordstrom left the mall in July 2011.

“The additions would be very positive for downtown,” said Jacqueline Haynes, a retail broker and vice president at Cassidy Turley. “Filling that space is huge.”

The Bobby Flay burger chain has 17 locations in 10 states, mostly in the east. The closest restaurant in the chain to Indianapolis is at the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati. Its menu consists of 10 different burgers, along with sandwiches and salads.

Orlando-based Yard House is a Darden Restaurants Inc. concept with 48 locations in 17 states, with the closest to Indianapolis being in Cincinnati.

Yard House portrays itself as an “upscale casual eatery” and is widely known for its vast array of beers on tap—up to 250 imported, craft and specialty ales and lagers.

Bonefish Grill, operated by Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands, has 200 locations in 34 states, including one on East 82nd Street in Indianapolis and on North State Road 135 in Greenwood. Bloomin’ Brands also operates Outback, Carrabba's and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Filling certain downtown retail space has been difficult as more space has hit the market with the completion of several mixed-used projects with apartments above first-floor retail.

Downtown’s retail vacancy rate of 15 percent in the third quarter was highest among all submarkets in the metropolitan area. Lafayette Square and Washington Square weren't far behind, with rates above 12 percent, according to data from Cassidy Turley.

Net absorption downtown during the third quarter was relatively flat at nearly 5,000 square feet, and the amount of vacant square footage stood at roughly 426,000 square feet. About half of that is the Circle Centre mall vacancy. About 100,000 square feet will fall out of the calculations when the Indianapolis Star takes part of two floors as office space.

Without getting specific, Simon spokesman Les Morris said there’s a lot of interest in the former Nordstrom space.

“It’s obviously a great location right in the heart of downtown,” he said. “With the Star employees coming, there will be a significant amount of daytime traffic as well. All of that is attractive to prospective tenants.”

The Star will move to its space in the mall later this year following the sale of its headquarters property at 307 N. Pennsylvania St. to TWG Development LLC. The developer’s plans call for 425 apartments in three separate buildings, including 280 in the Star’s 190,000-square-foot headquarters. Work on the first phase at the corner of East New York and Delaware streets should begin later this month.    

TWG bought the Star property for $11.25 million, said Dennis Dye, a TWG principal. The firm paid $8 million to close on the first part of the sale and will close on the rest of the property by April, Dye said.

Meanwhile, the three restaurants that could occupy the ground level at Circle Centre are expected to bring a renewed vibrancy to the area.

That there’s interest from such established restaurants reinforces downtown's strength with travelers, Haynes at Cassidy Turley said.

“We are such a visitor-based downtown,” she said, “Those tenants are going to be very recognizable.”


  • LA Fitness
    Yes, there are other health clubs downtown, but there are many people who work downtown that are already members of LA Fitness. Now, these people have an option downtown, was well as where they live or commute.
  • Epic flame, Balthazar
    At Balthazar, I love your flame message. Hopefully somebody takes your troll bait. Suggesting that Indianapolis shouldn't worry about its dirty streets since the streets in India are dirtier... epic!
  • Bonefish Grill??
    Bonefish Grill is the best that Simon could get for us?? Shows how much they care about their hometown. At least give us new to market chains like yardhouse.
  • Fries with that?
    Indy sure does love the mid-level chains. The term "chain restaurant" is almost synonymous with our fair city.
  • Hopeful!
    I am very hopeful these deals go through. I was literally just typing my letter to cancel my LA Fitness membership because I no longer live close. I am going to hold on to my membership just a little longer now in hopes that this deal works out. I always love the idea of new food choices, but I'd prefer they weren't chains.
  • Wholesale District Filthy???
    Yardigan needs to get around a little more. If he/she thinks the wholesale district is "filthy", then she/he should visit Belleville or Bar-bes in Paris, Termini Station in Rome, or the Medina produce markets in Fes, Morocco. I won't even mention parts of Calcutta, Lagos, or um, Cleveland!
  • LA Fitness
    LA Fitness is a chain but for members who work downtown and live in the outskirts of the city this is great. It gives us an option to workout downtown during the week and use our local LA on the weekends.
  • SPIN
    Have you heard of SPIN? It's a PING PONG and JENGA bar/restaurant. Indianapolis needs something like that. It's dynamic, interactive and only 4 in the US. Check it out and get them here!
  • Great!
    This is just what I was hoping would happen with this spot using IndyStar as an anchor to draw in the other tenants. I do think this will improve the engagement of Meridian street which as another person pointed out tended to be more interior focused. Glad to see all of this happening!
  • seriously?
    Seriously?! If you dont know the difference you dont know good seafood when you eat it. You are comparing apples to oranges hunny.
  • downtown gym
    It's not downtown...but very quick & easy access to downtown (right off of 65 South & 38th Street), the Healthplex is the best gym in the city.
  • opportunity
    It will be interesting to see how the exterior facade is re-designed to serve the Indianapolis Star and other new uses. If proper thought is put into engagement of the street, it could be a dramatic improvement to an otherwise bland and interior-focused building design.
  • Chain fitness
    I'd love more fitness options downtown but hate huge chain fitness places. Wish there was a more upscale gym somewhere in the city. Indy loves chain stuff.
    • Sigh...
      The other two chains are fine, but Bonefish Grill??? Really? Might as well stick a Red Lobster in there.
      • We already have fitness centers downtown
        LA Fitness as a national brand will be attractive for some, but there already is a downtown YMCA, a larger one on the books for CityWay, and several other small fitness centers all around the mile square.
        • Finally
          A fitness facility makes so much sense. Let's close that deal now. We have restaurants galore, but a place to workout downtown would be perfect, especially LA Fitness!
        • Awesome!
          and a few other tiny options, there isn't much to choose from. I think this is the PERFECT place for L.A. Fitness and welcome the restaurant additions! Things are starting to happen, finally!
        • YARDHOUSE!
          Yardhouse is AMAZING and would be PERFECT. LA Fitness probably not appropriate for this space, but if it's upstairs then not a big deal. Biggest concern is with the overall filth and condition of the sidewalks in the Wholesale District, which does not feel nearly as clean and safe as a few years ago. All walkways are chewed up and covered in stains and trash and aggressive panhandlers. Indygov, do your job for once.

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