Circle Centre reports higher occupancy, lower revenue

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New tenants, including Granite City Food and Brewery and Firehouse Subs, helped boost Circle Centre mall’s occupancy to nearly 90 percent in 2013, but sales per square foot and revenue slipped.

Non-anchor retail occupancy for the downtown Indianapolis mall increased to 89.6 percent from 88.3 percent in 2012, mall manager Simon Property Group Inc. said in an annual operating report to the city.

Meanwhile, sales per square foot slid from $354 in 2012 to $326 last year. Simon attributed the decrease to an inability to match the vast amount of foot traffic from the thousands of visitors who converged on downtown for the 2012 Super Bowl.

The mall lags behind Simon's portfolio average: Simon’s 222 U.S. shopping malls and outlet centers averaged 96-percent occupancy and $582 in sales per square foot in 2013.

Retail experts say it’s unfair to compare the performance of urban malls with the typical shopping center. Unlike suburban malls, Circle Centre relies heavily on visitors and conventioneers to drive sales.

Circle Centre reported earnings of $7.8 million on revenue of $21.1 million in 2013, an earnings decrease of $471,719 that Simon blamed on “an increase in property operating expenses and real estate taxes.”

The mall accounted for $7.2 million in sales taxes paid to the state, $3.2 million in real estate taxes, and $834,060 in food and drink taxes paid to the Capital Improvement Board.

Simon owns Circle Centre’s parking garages and the land under the mall. While the city paid more than half the cost of building the mall, most of the mall itself is owned by a partnership of 20 mostly local companies, including Simon, which collects fees for management and leasing.

Simon spokesman Les Morris declined to comment on the Circle Centre report.

Circle Centre 225 pxThe mall opened in 1995 and is undergoing a significant renovation in part of the space formerly occupied by Nordstrom, one of two mall anchors along with Carson Pirie Scott. Nordstrom vacated its 210,000-square-foot space in July 2011, after the chain added a second Indianapolis location in 2008, at The Fashion Mall at Keystone.

Construction crews at the south end of the mall at Meridian and Georgia streets are readying part of the former Nordstrom space for the Indianapolis Star.

Simon has leased about 100,000 square feet to the newspaper, which plans to move from its longtime headquarters at 307 N. Pennsylvania St. to the mall in July.

Bobby’s Burger Palace, a restaurant chain developed by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, along with beer-focused Yard House and Bonefish Grill, have talked with Simon about taking the first floor of the former Nordstrom space, IBJ reported in January. Yard House is close to finalizing a lease deal, brokers said.

“We are continuing to be diligent in our leasing efforts to fill the remaining [Nordstrom] space with unique-to-the-area restaurants and small-shop retail,” Simon wrote in its Circle Centre report.

The mall last year renewed leases with The Limited, Children’s Place, Andrews Jewelers, Subway, Chick Fil A, Things Remembered, Talbots and Nick’s Café.

Simon has signed Charley’s Grilled Subs and Lite on the Mayo to take two of the three vacancies in the food court. Lite on the Mayo opened late last month.


  • what would work for mall
    Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.
  • Rethinking the mall
    The mall looks almost exactly as it did when it first opened, which is a credit to Simon for maintaining it so well...but also a criticism for not taking enough opportunities to re-imagine it for emerging trends and evolving needs. Like another commenter said, there is not enough street-level retail and not even enough in the way of street-level entry. I get why everything has to be enclosed in a city like Indianapolis with so much riding on tourism and our chilly climate, but does the mall have to be so auto-centric? Can't we come up with a more hybrid model that's friendly to customers regardless of their mode of transportation? I'd love to see a CityTarget fill in some of the vacant space...hopefully at street level. It would also be useful to include a Circle Centre station for the (hopefully) new bus rapid transit lines. The new transit center is located in a weird spot for accessing all of the great things downtown.
  • On a positive note....
    Very true, we are being too critical of this mall. As a downtown resident, i really appreciate that there is a mall here with a ton of stores to choose from. The inside looks very nice and it has saved me many trips to Castleton so for that I am thankful, parking is totally affordable and clean in my opinion, and there is even a theater there, it may not be the greatest theater but it is there and easily accessible if you want to watch a movie and not have to drive north or south. Again, i feel that small changes can make a huge difference such as the entrances and Paul brought up a good point, having signs of some of the major stores. It would remind residents of what is close by and let visitors know what's inside.
  • Ummm
    Me thinks that most of you commenting here really don't know much of what you complain about. Circle Centre Mall is in no way, shape or form in dire straights here people, let's just that part right, at least. Especially considering the trend is AWAY from enclosed malls, I'd say CC is doing splendidly.
  • Garage smells
    I moved to Indy 5 years ago and have lived downtown the whole time. We used to go to Circle Center for everything and did all our shopping at Nordstrom and dining nearby. Always parked in the Circle Center garage ($2 for 3 hours, holy cow what a deal!). Once Illinois and Maryland became the loitering / panhandling (and occasionally random shooting capital of the world), we stopped going for a long time. Now many of my favorite stores have left the mall, and I don't even park in the garage anymore because it is filthy and always smells like garbage/human waste. The entrances are dirty, the elevators are dirty/smelly, and the sidewalks near the entrances are covered in old gum and trash. I don't perceive the "crime" to be as bad as it was 2-3 Black Expos ago, but now the mall and surrounding properties are just very dirty. If they cleaned up everything (and kept it clean/sanitary) and put some kind of 50-foot-from-entrance panhandling limit, the mall would be just fine. It really does blow my mind that Simon seems to care so little about the property adjacent to their headquarters.
  • my experience
    I've never encountered any problems, and I've been to Circle Center hundreds of times. Yes, there are panhandlers on the street downtown, and yes, there are occasional problems with youth causing trouble, mainly on Friday and Saturday evenings. I don't spend much time in the parking garages, so can't speak to any issues there. I strongly agree with what others mentioned, that the mall needs more entrances. I've always thought that it was a really stupid decision to close the entrance at Illinois & Georgia when Harry & Izzy's went in. There had to be a way to accommodate the restaurant and keep a highly visible public entrance to the mall. I've also long wondered why they didn't do something more with the old storefront facades they preserved along Washington & Meridian Streets. I know they have the back operations for Carson's behind them, but they perhaps they could at least put up some tasteful signs for other mall stores on them or something. I'm glad they preserved them, but as they are, they look like vacant old buildings, especially if you're not highly familiar with the layout of the mall.
  • Mall upgrades
    Most indoor malls are suffering, and this one is far from the worst. This mall needs some more entrances and more street level retail *which has been happening slowly anyway* Department stores are a dieing breed but a more aggressive and unique retail strategy would help. The movie theater (another almost dead industry) could use an upgrade.
  • Any info on Lite on the Mayo?
    I haven't seen very many people frequenting this place since it opened. It seems to want to be a smoothie place like Frullati was along with a 'gourmet' sandwhich place as well. The store has no web or social media presence, no other locations I'm aware of and doesn't seem to publicize itself very well. I put the over/under on this place closing before the end of the year.
  • No Appeal
    The Circle Centre Mall used to be a great place to go. I moved back to Indianapolis only to find the parking garage and common areas to be attracting those who make you question your safety. It's sad to see such a great commercial property go down so much. More can and should be done. Until then, the mall really has no appeal to me.
  • More entrances needed...
    I think there needs to be more entrances to the mall. Currently there are no entrances on Georgia, meridian, Maryland or Illinois until you reach the corner of illinois and Maryland. If you want more foot traffic, make some entrances to the mall so people can easily access it. the streets mentioned have a lot of foot traffic yet they don't have any access to the mall.
  • What's next?
    "Simon blamed on an increase in property operating expenses and real estate taxes" for smaller earnings . . . The mall accounted for $7.2 million in sales taxes paid to the state, $3.2 million in real estate taxes, and $834,060 in food and drink taxes paid to the Capital Improvement Board." Why do I get this strange feeling that this story is a prelude to a push by the downtown mafia to invest tens of millions of our public tax dollars in a "refresh" of the mall to preserve yet another invaluable jewel upon which the continued vibrancy of downtown depends?
  • mall parking garages are unsafe
    I have had several times where I have been approached for money and or followed to my car after work in an assigned contractor lot in the mall parking. It is ridiculous that within the shadow of the Simon Headquarters and a mall within walking distance that it is not as safe or safer than the Fashion Mall and Keystone at the crossing. How can this be. The answer is that you cannot restrict this type of activity in the Malls unless you specifically target it and remove it, something that has destroyed Lafayette Square and Washington Square and has been an issue at Castleton Square. Profiling gangs of youths is not discriminatory and must be done to remove that element of gangs and trouble from the malls and from the parking lots which by the way are one and the same, safety should be the same once a shopper enters the mall parking lot, otherwise the owners of the malls should be held legally liable and any incident that occurs whould incur the maximum liability from their business insurance. The fact that someone working near the malls cannot park safely in a secured/reserved area of the malls is a definite problem for the mall owners and perhaps they should have to go to the parking garages after work to pick up their cars and see what it feels like having people ask for money, approach you without a security guard in sight. Each mall parking garage should have full time security walking the garage on an hourly basis with cameras, restricted access from the street, etc. In other words, post security at all entrances that might be problems, staircases and patrol all floors on an hourly basis on foot.
  • Perspective
    I have lived downtown for 25 years and have never been threatened with car-jacking or any gang activity. Have there been a few issues related to unaccompanied minors and possible gang affiliation? Yes there have and IMPD along with city leaders have made efforts to address these unfortunate incidents. Downtown and the mall itself is not being overrun by gangs. Dramatically overstating current conditions doesn't do anything to help the situation. I agree with a prior post that stores of value to downtown residents should be a focus of Simon going forward.
  • Gangs and thugs
    You know just as long as there are large groups of "young" people milling around on the street and inside the mall I won't step foot in there. The crime is awful all the way around the mall and circle. And I used to routinely go downtown on Thursday night to L S Ayres and shop until it closed. And there wasn't anybody down there threatening you are trying to hijack your car. I won't step a toenail in that mall after dark.
  • No Wonder!
    It's no wonder sales are down compared to other malls. There aren't any decent stores in which downtown residents can shop! And most are geared to the teen/under 30 age. What about the empty nesters/semi-professionals who don't want to drive to the north side (which we do all the time) to make a quick purchase! And now we get the Star! We miss Nordstrom and Parisian!
  • Shame
    I'm not a retail expert, but I really loved Parisian and Nordstrom and ma sad that they're using the former Nordstrom space for offices and restaurants. With all the workers and convention folks, you'd think a higher-end dept store would be interested in coming dt...but, as the other poster noted, the mall is attracting lower-end retailers.
  • Sad
    It's a tough market for retail retail right now and Circle Centre appears to be experiencing that trend where higher-end stores appear to be making way for lower-end food, including fast food.

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