During his two terms as mayor of Indianapolis from 1992 to 2000, Stephen Goldsmith continued the downtown revitalization begun by his predecessors. But there was still lots to do. Downtown was largely devoid of permanent residents, eateries, hotels and retail. And the Indiana Convention Center, even with the recent addition of the Hoosier Dome, was still fairly small. Clearly, further infrastructure was a priority.
“We planned a downtown that involved arts and culture along Mass Ave, expansions of Lilly, building White River State Park, cleaning up the downtown canal, bringing in museums and building a convention hotel,” said Goldsmith, who’s now a Harvard University professor of urban policy.
But the most transformative project was Circle Centre mall, which opened in 1995. It had been discussed since the ’70s, but the work was thwarted for years by difficulties purchasing the necessary property and financing difficulties.
“It was a struggle,” Goldsmith said. “We didn’t have control of the site, we didn’t have control of the financing, we didn’t have tenants. Every week was a battle. But to me, the mall was a critical piece among the set of pieces that made up the larger fabric of downtown.”