Former Nordstrom space could find Super Bowl use

Nordstrom’s exit from Circle Centre mall leaves the downtown Indianapolis shopping center without its signature tenant.

But the 210,000-square-foot vacancy created when Nordstrom closed Sunday could provide a temporary fix for Super Bowl organizers seeking space to accommodate numerous corporate events surrounding the Feb. 5 football game.

Mark Miles, chairman of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee, said more than 100 companies are searching for venues to host Super Bowl parties, and the former Nordstrom store could be an ideal location.

Members of the host committee have been involved in discussions with downtown property owners and managers saddled with "significant" vacancies, including Simon Property Group Inc., which operates Circle Centre, Miles said.

"I'm not in a place where I can discuss specifics," he said. "I hope we'll know something within two to three weeks."

Indianapolis-based Simon, which has yet to sign a lease with another tenant or tenants to replace Nordstrom, declined to comment on whether it will market the space for Super Bowl use.

Miles said the host committee won't get involved in financial arrangements between property managers and companies seeking event space. Its role is to simply help match companies with property owners from a list of of available spaces.

Such temporary lease arrangements can be lucrative for property owners.

Jillian's, on the east side of South Meridian Street and across from the former Nordstrom store, expects to collect about $500,000 from two entities who plan to use the entertainment complex for Super Bowl parties, Jillian's owners said in July court documents as they reorganize under bankruptcy protection.

What makes Jillian's and the Nordstrom spaces particularly attractive for corporate gatherings is their proximity to Georgia Street, which will be transformed into Super Bowl Village.

The street is in the midst of a $12 million overhaul that will feature a covered pedestrian mall in the median, sandwiched on both sides by a lane of traffic and a wide sidewalk. The improvements will run from Conseco Fieldhouse to the Indiana Convention Center.

The project, funded primarily with federal stimulus dollars, is scheduled for completion in October.

“This is prime real estate,” said Chris Gahl, spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention  & Visitors Association.

Miles concurred, noting that the former Nordstrom space could serve as an indoor extension for visitors braving the cold of the outdoor Super Bowl Village.

An estimated 150,000 people are expected to visit Indianapolis for the event.

"I don't think there's a chance that everything can be accommodated downtown; it will take the resources of the region and the county," Miles said. "But the spaces that will be available downtown are most in demand. The closer to the Village, the more sought after they are."

Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. announced in late May that it would close the downtown store, which opened in 1995.

Sales had fallen by roughly half since Nordstrom opened its Keystone Crossing store at The Fashion Mall in 2008. In addition, the upscale retailer will open its off-price Nordstrom Rack store in September at the nearby Rivers Edge shopping center at 82nd Street and Dean Road.


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