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NEWSMAKER: Mel Simon was shopping mall pioneer

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Year In Review

Melvin Simon could see a revolution was brewing in retail in the mid-1950s.

A brand-new interstate highway system had green-lighted the rise of far-flung suburbs and a drive-everywhere car culture, and developers across the nation had begun building the first enclosed shopping centers.

Mel Simon

Simon, then in his mid-20s and freshly discharged from an Army posting at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, saw the writing on the mall.

The son of a New York City tailor had earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from City College in New York and was eager to put it to good use.

Simon, who died at 82 on Sept. 16, would do just that and along the way change how America shops. He was chairman emeritus of locally based Simon Property Group Inc., the nation’s largest owner of retail real estate.

He also was instrumental in the resurgence of downtown Indianapolis as a champion of Circle Centre mall in the mid-1990s and as a buyer of the financially strapped Indiana Pacers in the mid-1980s.

More recently, Simon had focused on philanthropic endeavors, including gifts of $10 million to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and $50 million for the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, including an endowment in honor of his late son Joshua Max Simon.•

 

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  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.

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