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LA Fitness buys site near Washington Square, boosting area

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LA Fitness plans to build a gym on the former home of a Loews movie theater adjacent to Washington Square Mall in the latest sign of progress for a retail submarket that has struggled with vacancies.

Locally based Sandor Development Co., which owns the 5.5-acre site at the southwest corner of Washington Street and Mitthoeffer Road, has the parcel under contract with the California-based LA Fitness, which operates 10 central Indiana fitness centers.

La Fitness plans to start work soon on a 35,000-square-foot fitness center, said Sandor founder Sidney D. Eskenazi, who had been working to find a new use for the vacant property for several years.

The former Cherry Tree 10 movie theater closed in 2005, and Sandor demolished the building a few years later. It had opened in the late 1980s.

While Washington Square Mall has struggled—its small-shop space is more than half vacant and national retailers have fled, leading to a big tax refund for owner Simon Property Group Inc.—the surrounding area remains a strong regional shopping draw, in contrast with Lafayette Square, which faces more competition from newer retail offerings farther west in Avon and Brownsburg.

Freestanding retailers and strip centers anchored by national retailers have proliferated.

"It's a stable, diverse demographic that lives out there," said Mark Perlstein, a principal in locally based Sitehawk Retail Real Estate. "It's a fairly large market that needs to be served."

Sitehawk manages the fully leased Cherry Tree Crossing, where Qdoba, McAlister's and Mattress Firm are anchors and vacancies are snapped up quickly, Perlstein said.

A few years ago, Thompson Thrift finished a new retail strip anchored by The Vitamin Shoppe and Aspen Dental just outside the mall. CVS built a new store at the southeast corner of Washington and Mitthoeffer, and Chuck E. Cheese’s moved to the same corner from a spot just east of Interstate 465.

Late last year, Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots took over a vacant Circuit City store in the Washington Place center at 10235 E. Washington St., and Goodwill bought property in front of the mall with plans to build a new freestanding store.

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  • Downtown LA Fitness
    Great to hear the Washington Square area is getting some attention! Now if only LA Fitness could build a downtown Indy gym!
  • LA Fitness
    Hope LA Fitness pays their designers. They didn't for the one they closed at 116th Street and Allisonville.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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