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New owners plan changes at Metropolis mall

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A joint venture involving a Memphis-based developer has acquired the Metropolis shopping center in Plainfield and plans to invest millions in the troubled property as part of a new marketing effort that might include a name change.

Affiliates of Poag Shopping Centers LLC and Blue Vista Capital Management LLC in Chicago bought the 68-acre outdoor mall for an undisclosed price late last month and have yet to formally announce the acquisition.

They acquired Metropolis from lenders that took possession after the property fell into court-appointed receivership in 2008.

Two Israel-based firms put Metropolis under contract in 2010 and planned to pay $52 million for the property, but they failed to complete the acquisition, Poag Shopping CentersCEO Josh Poag said.

Metropolis is 83-percent occupied. Major tenants include JC Penney, Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret and Dick's Sporting Goods.

“A lot of tenants have hung in there over the years,” Poag said. “But there’s only so much CBRE could do as a receiver, because lenders are loath to put any additional capital into a project.”

Former Indianapolis-based development firm Premier Properties USA Inc. invested $160 million to develop the 600,200-square-foot center, which opened in October 2005.

Premier’s founder, Christopher P. White, however, was sentenced in November 2009 to one year of home detention and three years of probation in connection with a $500,000 bad check he wrote as he tried to save his real estate development firm.

Poag Shopping Centers plans to spend about $3 million to update the center, lease it closer to capacity and begin a marketing push that could become a rebranding effort. Poag said shoppers should begin seeing changes later this year.

“It’s not like it’s an old project, but we’re going to work on softening it from a futuristic look to more of a family-friendly look,” he said. “The lighting is what you might find in tomorrow land.”

Poag bought enough of the vacant land at the south end of the property to possibly add another anchor.

Metropolis is the company’s first property in Indiana. Founded in 1984, Poag Shopping Centers owns 16 lifestyle centers throughout the country.

Though the center has struggled in comparison to some of the Indianapolis-area's newer malls, such as Clay Terrace or Hamilton Town Center, Steve Delaney, a broker at Sitehawk Retail Real Estate, thinks it can rebound.

“It’s really had no direction or anyone with an overall leasing plan,” he said. “If the right developer gets in and they purchased it at the right price, they should be able to put together a successful leasing plan for the center.”


 

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  • Metropolis Mall
    I suspect that most of your commenters are too young to remember when there were no malls at all, much less covered ones. We went downtown and walked store to store where they were'nt even close together. Metropolis has been a great addition to Hendricks County's shopping for me. The small Toys-R-Us was a good addition this year. Too bad it didn't stay. I was able to do much of my Christmas shopping at Metropolis this past year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Metropolis Mall
    Some company has to care about the product they are providing the consumer. I would shop at the mall more frequent; however, I find myself going to Greenwood Mall for a variety of stores that we do not have in Plainfield. In addition, more upscale restaurants would enhance this project.
  • Cover it up
    I'm in Avon and can't stand to go to Metropolis. In the winter you are constantly taking off your coat inside the stores and putting it back on to go to the next store. In the summer you freeze in the store's A/C and get sunburnt outside. I gladly travel to Greenwood and Castleton to shop in a traditional mall. Put a roof on it!
  • Why does the western suburbs not have a large mall?
    To me I never understood why Metropolis wasn't more successful. The west suburbs are now more populated and on average, higher income, than the south side. If the southern suburbs can support the Greenwood Park Mall, why can't the western ones support little Metropolis? I would love to see a new to market anchor such as Dillard's or have a second Carson's put in. Indy already has three Macy's, why add a fourth? And lastly I agree with Scott Perkins; I love the contemporary theme. That's what separates it from the Hamilton Town Center and Clay Terrace.
  • keep it
    As an architect, Hendricks County resident and frequent visitor/shopper at Metropolis, I strongly encourage the new owners to keep the design and branding intact. Metropolis is the best outdoor shopping experience I've seen in the midwest. Yes, it needs a little deferred maintenance and better leasing percentage, but as a shopping experience - different (contemporary) architecture is better.
  • Fish Fountains, anyone?
    This place reminds me in an odd, David Lynch sort of way of Jacques Tati's late 1950-ish film 'Mon Oncle', about a sterile, hideously futuristic (for the times) house in a residential neighborhood somewhere in France owned by the head of an equally hideous and sterile modern factory. Actually, I applauded Chris White for attempting to step outside the typical Hoosier box of 'the warm and the fuzzy', but he unfortunately miscalulated what the rubes out in plainfield and surrounding areas (including Indy) would buy. The Jetsons might have been comfortable here, but the original developer should have consulted Simon on this one.
  • Why?
    I really have no idea why they built the monstrosity in the first place.
  • OOOOOOhhhh, that smell
    Another anchor? They're going to need to fill the JC Penney space before the end of 2014.

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