Future murky for Lafayette Square

December 12, 2007
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Lafayette SquareIf Simon couldn't revive Lafayette Square Mall, what can be expected from an out-of-town company without the same mall experience? Simon Property Group is selling the 1.2 million-square-foot Lafayette Square Mall to AAC Management. AAC representatives who recently visited with tenants said the deal is scheduled to close Dec. 15. Simon spokesman Les Morris would not discuss the matter. "Right now, we still own the mall," he told IBJ's Greg Andrews. Information on AAC is sketchy. The firm, which is not a major mall owner, could not be reached for comment.
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  • I don't think Simon really *tried* to revive the Mall at all, and I'm not saying that as sour grapes. This kind of mall is not their cup of tea, and if they cannot rely on their base of stores to come into a property, I can understand why they have no interest beyond it.

    I think it is obvious that it is time to Glendale the place, but it is just too bad this couldn't have been done before Wal-Mart was built. That really could have been a shot in the arm in that area.
  • Also, expect Washington Square to be next....
  • Is it me or does the amount of decaying malls in Indy make you sick or what? :(
  • Tear the place down. It is a crime magnet and embarrassment to the city.

    Erich, the number of decaying shopping center will continue to grow as we sprawl further and further out. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see Washington and Lafayette shut down within 20 years and Castleton in an advanced state of decay.
  • Lafayette Square hit that magic threshold, where blacks outnumber whites.

    Game over... kindly leave your Orange Julius at the door.
  • This isn't too surprising to me. I always knew Simon treated Lafayette Scare Mall as the spinster child. It was bound to happen eventually, they would let it go. Sad? Maybe. But something to be turbulently upset over this? Not even worth the the time and energy. When I was younger, I remember in the 90's my parents and I would drive down to Indy from Lafayette Square just to go shopping. If I owned that mall, I wouldn't want anything to do with it. It's a pain in the neck. Just like everyone else says... it's a crime magnet. I can totally see Washington Scare being next. Castleton; not so much, because that area is too densely populated and the retail sector is much more vibrant than Lafayette and Washington Scare Mall areas.
  • TO Lafayete Square, I meant...
  • Tear it down and put in an IKEA!!!! That would do WONDERS for that part of town. Please IKEA!!
  • Sophia

    To put an IKEA there would be like putting an H&M in a strip mall somewhere in Avon. I do agree that Indy needs an IKEA because it's SUCH AN AWESOME RETAILER. But an IKEA won't fit there, the demographics of the area is not distinguished enough for IKEA's ideal customer base.
  • After Seven,

    Where in the Real Estate Rule Book does it say that when Blacks (or other minorities) outnumber whites a shoping mall is endangered?

    Dustin,

    Median Income in Pike Township (where Layafatte Square is based) is $48,444. I make $80 grand a year and live ten minutes from that mall. Why shouldn't I be able to drive ten minutes to an IKEA, instead of 30 to 60 minutes to Hamilton County?
  • Castleton Square just underwent a major upgrade with a huge movie theatre and outdoor retail. I think it will be safe for a little while yet. That area is still very close to Hamilton county so it has that influx of wealthy clientale. I agree, I think Lafayette will kind of turn into a Glendale.
  • Excuse me, AFTER SEVEN, what the hell is your problem?

    That magic threshold when blacks outnumber whites. I'd rather be in mall where the community is a black majority, than where it's running wild with whites. Just look at what happened at those surburan white malls in Omaha a couple weeks ago and Salt Lake City in February. Doesn't make me feel safe.
  • Racism hits Property Lines. It may be a good time for Cory to exercise his editorial control. There is no room on here for idiot racists.
  • Ikea doesn't locate to decrepit neighborhoods... just not their style. The average income in Pike may be what you say, but the area surrounding the mall is derelict. Ikea would be more likely to locate in a suburb such as in Hamilton County near I-69 or perhaps even Plainfield on I-70. I think north would be a more likely option though - just my opinion.

    The last time I was at Castleton, I was shocked at the change. The clientele is definately changing and not for the better. I fear a good portion of those I saw wandering through it, were just there to hang out and to not actually purchase anything. Simon should really try to get a handle on the unruly unsupervised teens in addition to the thug wannabes. The first thing I saw when I walked into Sears was the asset protection manager kicking a belligerent guy out. Fantastic. If they don't stem the tide, more people will drive up the Hamilton Town Center or go to the Fashion Mall to avoid it. I know I don't want to step foot in the JCPenney at Castleton again any time soon.
  • They should tear it down. The area has Wal-mart now. Thats your one stop shop (said with sarcasm and a mini annuerism even thinking about walmart). They should tear it all down and put a mini theme park in there. A Couple of roller coasters that can get you high enough to look onto the speedway and downtown. I'd definately go then.
  • This After Seven character needs to go. He obviously found his way here via a Star Board or something.
  • A mall doesn't have to be Caucasian at the Crossing to be successful. The diversity of Pike is amazing: African-American, Hispanic, white, many middle income. The problem is the reputation for crime. Increased security and maintenance/upkeep could have helped this mall survive. And a thriving mall could have helped rejuventate the entire area. In any case, I don't see how the new owners could neglect it any more than Simon did.
  • I don't think that it matters where Ikea puts a location.....they have one in the Newark NJ!!! That entire city is a dump.....
  • Charlie, the income bracket you fall in doesn't neccessarily dignify a reputbale retailer's decision to just locate there. A retailer also looks at the surrounding area in terms of prosperity and investment. Therefore, the Lafayette Scare area doesn't fit up to their par. It's too obvious.
  • IKEA will open in Cincinnati in late winter/early spring. Do not count on IKEA coming to Indianapolis. And for the idea of it going to Lafayette Square - do not count on it! Wrong demographics ansd location. LS will not be given the Glendale treatment - too much crime!
  • Just keep the Paces away and the area will recover.
  • In the Bay Area, one Ikea is in Emeryville and one is in East Palo Alto. Both of those cities were completely decrepit before Ikea came in. Eagledale is a shining jewel compared to some of the places Ikea has opened in.
  • Yep, the problem with combing urban sprawl with downtown revival is you get blight in between.

    Also, it's naive not to notice there are more black people at Lafayette Square than they're used to be, because there are. HOWEVER, this is one manifestation of a VERY complex problem that goes back over 300 years, and unfortunately there's a lot of people thinking the same thing that Seven said. What we need to be thinking is 'how can we fix this' rather than just sweeping it under the rug and forgetting that it's there. I'm getting a PhD in Education because I think this is a strong vehicle to promote racial equality, without losing cultural tradition, especially now with the Hispanic population increasing so rapidly. The problem is, how do you reverse 300+ years of racism and segregation?

    okay...off the soapbox now...
  • One person at a time, ianeck. If you're not a racist, then it's unlikely that your kids will be.

    If you're a teacher, you can teach kids to see value in every human being.

    And you can make a commitment to the city and to IPS by living here and sending your kids to school here. Good kids with parents who care CAN and DO get good educations in IPS every day.

    But then, I'm biased. I have a degree from a highly-regarded university. I live, work, and send my kid to school in Center Township every day. His friends are a rainbow coalition all by themselves, and all of them are decent kids.
  • I agree with you CDC, it's pretty obvious that the younger generations are more color blind than ever.
  • Hey CDC guy, who really cares if you have a degree from a highly-regarded university? Are you implying you are over the top smarter than alumnis of nonhighly-regarded colleges? A person with a degree or no degree can have the same humanitarian values as the next person. You are definately biased.
  • In the Bay Area, one Ikea is in Emeryville and one is in East Palo Alto. Both of those cities were completely decrepit before Ikea came in. Eagledale is a shining jewel compared to some of the places Ikea has opened in.

    This is true, but the area bordering Hwy 101 in East Palo Alto was completely razed and they built everything from scratch. A new Best Buy, Home Depot In-N-Out, new hotels, new office buildings, new condos/townhomes, the whole works. They literally bought out everyone & everything in that area, tore it to the ground and built it back up. Part of the reason something like this works in the Bay Area is the demand to live there and the lack of available space (not to mention all of the business up & down the 101 corridor. This would never work in Indy because there's too much space available in the outer areas and we just don't have anyone willing to stick their neck out to attempt such a development in that area. This is exactly why Venu will work...it's a much more desirable area and has the business/residental support.

    I may be wrong and it's very possible AAC Management has a few tricks up their sleeve, but if you don't get buy-in and a change in mentality from the surrounding business/residents, then that area is totally doomed.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • Dustin, I interpreted CDC guys posting as saying that not all people who graduate from a highly regarded university have to live in Hamilton or Hendricks county and that there are educated people who live in Marion County.


    I think maybe you need to quit trying to analyze every person's post.

    And while were at it, stop being so negative about anything positive that happens in Indy. Do you spend this much time on the Arizona sited bashing everything that happens there?
  • Hey Mark,

    I'd like to ask you one very important question you might like to answer.

    Who.... asked.... for.... your.... argumentative.... opinion?

    I believe no one did. I pointed out what I thought, I did not ask for anyone to give me what their opinions were contradicting mine. Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but at the same time you decided to take a jab at me for the thoughts I have about Indianapolis.

    And wouldn't you like to know what I say about all things related in Arizona? I'm sure you would love to write a book about me, but I cost.

    Have a great day :)
  • Simon put $20 million into Lafayette Square about 10 years ago which included a complete renovation of the interior as well as a food court. Unfortunately, shoppers have not responded favorably over the last 10 years with their dollars. Sales at Lafayette Square continued to erode as new opportunities became available that were closer to home for many of the more affluent trade area residents. Metropolis opened, big boxes appeared on Rockville Road and Traders Point was developed. These competitors kept most of the shoppers west of I-465 away from Lafayette Square so half or more of the potential market was essentially lost. This is what exacerbated the decline which had already set in. Like it or not, this largely leaves Lafayette Square with a shopper base that lives inside of I-465 which does tend to have a higher proportion of minorities. However, the issue is not black/white so much as the issue is that half or more of the market has been intercepted by the competition, thereby making Lafayette Square less relevant in today's retail scene on the west side because its potential market has shrunk.
  • The demographics and resultant character of LS as we now know it are what they are.

    Rocky, After Seven and Dustin have duly noted same and were honest in so doing. Not racist, just honest.

    Unless and until the current LS mall patrons stop wallowing in their own ethnicity and racism, conditions will continue as they are.
  • There are plenty of examples in this country of shopping centers, enclosed, neighborhood and strip centers, in neighborhoods with signifigant minority population that thrive, with quality retailers. The implication of several posters on this blog that the racial composition of customers at the Lafayette Square area is the reason for the decline doesn't mesh with these retail success stories.
    The posters also imply that the majority of Lafayette Square shoppers are Black. That is incorrect. Scarborough Research, an indepedent research firm, reports that just 32% of those shopping Lafayyete Square in a three month period were Black.
    For all Black adults in the Indianapolis market, Castleton Square is the top mall destination, followed by Lafayette Square. Again, Scarborough data.
    By the logic of some posters, that should mean that Castleton is a mall destined for failure.
    The issue at Lafayette Square isn't the complexion of customers, its the willingness of a mall owner to understand the consumer base, be agressive in attracting retails and then marketing the hell out of the mall.
  • By the way, the city plans to spend $17 million to reconstruct that stretch of 38th St. between I-465 and I-65. Whether or not any enhancements are planned I do not know. But a first class streetscape similar to what was done in the center of town would help the area alot.
  • Lafayette Square was once a fine retail establishment; however, it is long past its day. Not only does the mall face changing demographics in the neighborhood immediately surrounding it, but it also must deal with a national trend of changing consumer tastes which generally disfavor the 1950's and 1960's era enclosed suburban shopping mall surrounded by a sea of parking lots.

    Furthermore, as far as I understand, Indianapolis has over twice the amount of retail per capital than the national average. Rather than a shortage of retail establishments, the city and metro area have far too much retail, which helps accelerate the process of older retail establishments falling into disfavor and then decay while developers build yet another grand new shopping complex farther out in the suburbs and exurbs.

    Lafayette Square no longer serves the neighborhood it is in; instead, it merely brings the whole area down. Moreover, there are already plent of places to shop along the 38th street corridor and in the surrounding area. There are numerous stores offering every kind of merchandise and numerous services immediately surrounding the mall. In fact, there are literally millions more feet of retail surrounding the mall than in the mall itself.

    The mall needs to be torn down and the location redeveloped into a mixed-use complex. There should be apartments, condos, townhouses, offices, and some smaller scale retail (primarily to serve the residents of the new housing by offering retail within walking distance). Also, public amenities should be built--there should be pocket parks, nice sidewalks, landscaped medians, etc. If a developer could team with the city to put in a small school or a library, it would complete the project very nicely.

    The mall is simply an aging hulk which covers a huge amount of space that could be put to much better use. Hopefully, the new owners of the mall will do the right thing and tear it down.
  • Throughout this discussion I am surprised that no one has noted that this area has become one of the best areas in the city for ethnic food. Add to that a store like Saraga and in some ways, this area is a mecca for independent, international, authentic food. If redevelopment ala Glendale is really desired the result will be a whole pile of chains.
    I am not saying this area does not need improvement, but developers like Simon and Kite have their package solutions for this stuff and its really just jumping on the latest retail trend. Can something better or different happen to the area? Something that takes what has happened in the transformation of the area that is positive and amplify that?
  • Anhe (sic) made a good point about the profileration of non-chain, ethic food restaurants in the Lafayette Square area. And Chris and The Urbanophile also made excellent points. There are solutions to turn the area around. Provided we reject stereotyping and retail redlining and move forward with development (open area, mixed use, including housing) that better utilizes the retail spacs in that corridor.
  • The problem with obsolete infrastructure (i.e. enclosed malls) is that the guy who currently has a big mortgage on it is pretty well stuck.

    I'm not sure the land value that far out from downtown is high enough to support the kind of density that would make a teardown possible. If the new buyer got a good deal, then maybe redevelopment is realistic.

    But it is certainly true that there is too much retail in Indy and LS mall is surrounded by millions of feet of more accessible, more visible, variety-filled retail.
  • In the case of Washington Square, it's still close enough to the edge of development with newer big-box stores (Target, Dicks, Kerasotes) that a teardown and redevelopment might be possible. The vacant Eastside big-boxes are toward downtown, unlike at Lafayette Square where the mall was literally surrounded by vacant hulks for a long time (outlot movie theaters, former Builder's Square, closed new-car dealerships, etc.)
  • Does anyone know what is being done to the old Lowes(?) Cinema building on the southeast corner of Lafayette Square?

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