Big Car arts group staying in Lafayette Square area

June 26, 2014
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The Big Car arts group will be staying in the Lafayette Square area after all.

Since April 2011, the not-for-profit has occupied a former auto service center at 3819 Lafayette Road in an outlot of Lafayette Square Mall. Named the Big Car Service Center for Contemporary Culture and Community, the 11,000-square-foot space has functioned as an event center, art gallery, classroom, library and performance venue.

Big Car 225pxMall owner Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. had been providing Big Car the space at a reduced rate. But last month, Ashkenazy found a tenant for the building willing to pay market-rate rent.

Now Indianapolis-based Sandor Development Co. has stepped in to give the organization a similar break at its 379,000-square-foot Lafayette Place shopping center near West 38th Street and Interstate 65 on the west side.

Big Car plans to open in August in two spaces totaling 3,600 square feet, said Jim Walker, the group’s executive director, noting the importance of maintaining a presence in the Lafayette Square area.

“It’s a neighborhood that has a lot of potential and has the interest of the city,” he said. “We want to help change the perception of the neighborhood that’s made it difficult for businesses there.”

The city is helping to rebrand the Lafayette Square area as the International Marketplace to highlight the neighborhood’s broad ethnicity.

For its part, Sandor said it’s excited to have Big Car as a tenant.

“Our company likes to try to support the arts. Big Car is a key player in revitalizing the area and the growth of the International Marketplace,” Sandor President David Eskenazi said in an e-mail.

Ten-year-old Big Car provides arts and service projects to help improve neighborhoods in the city. This year it launched a project on the far-east side, The Galeria Magnifica gallery inside Superior Market and Tacqueria at 3702 N. Mitthoefer Road. It showcases art by young people.

At Lafayette Place, Big Car will have a showroom for art shows and small performances. The second space will house an installment called Listen Hear, where visitors can experience “sound-based art” from music and recordings, Walker said.

  • Thanks to Sandor
    Congratulations to Jim Walker and Big Car; and a big thanks to Sandor for helping to keep a crucial neighborhood change agent in the International Market Place District.
  • Thanks
    A big thanks to Sandor for helping Big Car with space in the Lafayette Square area and to Big Car for all the creativity it brings to the community.
  • address
    Where is the address of the new facility? And what is going in where Big Car is now?
  • Addresses
    The addresses for Big Car's new space are 3739 and 3943 Commercial Drive. I believe an auto-detailing shop is moving into the old space.
  • Don't forget
    Congratulations also to the mall on finding a tenant paying full price for that property. It would be easy to make them the villains of the piece because they had to evict Big Car Arts Group, but it shows the strength of growth in the area if they are able to make more money to allow a business that generates more commerce and jobs to come in.

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