Washington Square area getting first new retail strip in three years

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A small retail center being built on the perimeter of Washington Square Mall is evidence there is still a market for new product when the stars align.

Thompson Thrift, based in Terre Haute and Carmel, has started construction on Washington Square Commons, a 9,000-square-foot retail strip at 10110 E. Washington St., at a major entrance to Washington Square Mall. The $2.1 million center, the first to be built in the Washington Square submarket in three years, is one of only a few new retail projects in the entire city.

Washington Square Commons will be anchored by The Vitamin Shoppe, which will open its fourth local outlet in 3,600 square feet, and Aspen Dental, whose 3,400-square-foot space will be its 16th Indianapolis location.

A 2,000-square-foot space remains, said Mark Perlstein, a broker for Sitehawk Retail Real Estate who represented the two tenants.

The submarket has its fair share of vacancies, Perlstein said, but the demographics are good and there hasn’t been much space available for lease that fronts East Washington Street.

“Both of these tenants will only lease in centers with high visibility and high traffic counts—and that’s what this center has,” he said.

Washington Square and Lafayette Square, its west side counterpart, often are lumped together as malls that are struggling, but the trade area around Washington Square is in much better shape, Perlstein said.

“There’s a pretty fair demand for space in that submarket,” said Perlstein, who said the demographics are very similar to what you’d find in Avon, a far west-side suburb with a reputation for growth.

The densely populated area within a three-mile radius of the Washington Square Commons site has an average household income of $59,000, higher than the city as a whole; in a one-mile radius it’s $74,000.

The last developer to take advantage of the submarket’s favorable demographics was Thomas English, whose Cherry Tree Crossing, finished in 2007, is now fully leased.

The quoted rent for the 32,000-square-foot center was $23 a square foot. English said tenants sometimes pay significantly more for just the right new space. Eyeglass World, one of the Cherry Tree Crossing tenants, pays almost $40 a square foot, he said.

The going rent for space that’s been vacated and must be backfilled is in the $10- to $12-a-foot range along Washington Street, said English. He said deals are being negotiated now for some vacant Washington Street spaces. Circuit City and Big Lots are among retailers that left big spaces to fill.

Thompson Thrift’s new development, which is being financed by Old National Bank, is on a one-acre site that housed a Denny’s restaurant until about a year ago. Thompson Thrift bought the site from Denny’s earlier this year and then leveled the restaurant to make way for construction.

Ashlee Boyd, Thompson Thrift’s senior vice president, said Washington Square Commons is one of four similarly sized projects the company is starting this month. The other three are in surrounding states. Last year the company finished two small projects in Avon.

Boyd said the recession has changed Thompson Thrift’s business plan. Up until a few years ago, the company’s goal was to build larger centers, like Cool Creek Village, an 85,000-square-foot property in Carmel anchored by an LA Fitness. With tenants and financing harder to come by, the company has shifted its focus to smaller preleased projects.

Donna Hovey, a retail broker for CB Richard Ellis, said even a small development in the current commercial real estate environment is significant. The location of the project in an area with great demographics and no new space available makes it a good opportunity for the developer, she said.

Recent road work on Washington Street that added medians and reduced the number of access points makes the site of the project—a main entrance to the mall with a traffic signal—a prime location, said Hovey.

Washington Square Commons was designed by Terre Haute-based DIG Architecture & Planning and is being built by Thompson Thrift’s construction unit. It is scheduled to open in October.


  • a ray of hope...
    now if only someone would convince simon to bring in some shopping worthy stores to the mall! it really bites having to drive to all ends of the city! i think, "hey! if the only way they'll come into the community is by tearing down ugly buildings and building new ones... DO IT! we'll take it and maybe more will follow!" ps- a bookstore would be amazing!
  • Bookstore, anyone?
    How about a Barnes & Noble? Even a Half Price books? Surely, I am not the only one on the eastside that reads books?
  • National road Dude
    I disagree with the previous post. The future of the traditional shopping mall is changing. I personally havn't walked into a mall for several years. We want to see where are going and drive as close to it as possible. The addition of this small strip is a big boost to our Eastside shopping experience. To see new construction where an eyesore stood is a welcome sight.
  • Great News
    This is great news for the eastside. Cherry Creek Crossing was a great addition to the area and brought some retailers/restaurants to the area that we needed...McAllister's Deli, Qdoba plus it is a nice looking center.

    I'm glad we have someone who reconizes the great opportunity on the eastside.
  • I Disagree
    Normally, I'd agree with Overbuilt, but this project is removing a large, empty, eyesore (Denny's), so in this case, I think it's a plus for the area.
  • Overbuilt
    Why, in an overbuilt market with plenty of vacancy, are developers continuing to add even more space. You can't tell me there were not multiple, multiple locations where these tenants could have gone. Building new only further depresses the value of the existing buildings in the area with significant vacancy.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

  2. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

  3. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

  4. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.

  5. I live downtown Indy and had to be in downtown Chicago for a meeting. In other words, I am the target demographic for this train. It leaves at 6:00-- early but doable. Then I saw it takes 5+ hours. No way. I drove. I'm sure I paid 3 to 5 times as much once you factor in gas, parking, and tolls, but it was reimbursed so not a factor for me. Any business traveler is going to take the option that gets there quickly and reliably... and leisure travelers are going to take the option that has a good schedule and promotional prices (i.e., Megabus). Indy to Chicago is the right distance (too short to fly but takes several hours to drive) that this train could be extremely successful even without subsidies, if they could figure out how to have several frequencies (at least 3x/day) and make the trip in a reasonable amount of time. For those who have never lived on the east coast-- Amtrak is the #1 choice for NY-DC and NY-Boston. They have the Acela service, it runs almost every hour, and it takes you from downtown to downtown. It beats driving and flying hands down. It is too bad that we cannot build something like this in the midwest, at least to connect the bigger cities.