Metropolis getting name change as part of potential $9M makeover

Metropolis mall in Plainfield will be rebranded as part of a planned $9 million renovation that the owner of the nearly 10-year-old shopping center hopes to start in the spring.

The town’s plan commission on Jan. 5 approved a name change to The Shops at Perry Crossing. Josh Poag, CEO of Memphis-based Poag Shopping Centers LLC, which owns the mall, said the Metropolis name will be officially retired in October.

That’s when Poag Shopping Centers anticipates finishing its six-month renovation of the mall.

“You can imagine the confusion that will ensue if we rename the project now,” Poag said via email.

Affiliates of Poag and Blue Vista Capital Management LLC in Chicago bought the 68-acre outdoor Metropolis mall out of receivership for an undisclosed price in December 2013.

Metropolis is about 85-percent occupied. Major tenants include JC Penney, Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Poag Shopping Centers, which owns 15 shopping centers around the country, wants to spend $9 million on mall repairs and is asking the city to finance half the amount.  

Officials on Nov. 10 took the first step to provide the assistance, in the form of tax-increment-financing funds, by approving a “term sheet” laying out details of the deal the council would need to approve.

The council has yet to take action. But Poag said in the email that his company still wants to pursue the deal with the city.

A clawback provision included in the term sheet is aimed at ensuring the town would recoup its investment.

A December 2013 appraisal valued the Metropolis property at $37.2 million, according to the term sheet, and said it would generate 2014 tax revenue of $887,576.

Beginning with the 2019 tax year, the town and Poag agree, the annual tax revenue should increase to $1.3 million, based on the improvements to the mall. But if the amount comes in below that benchmark, Poag will pay the town the difference, according to the term sheet.

Among the improvements on Poag’s wish list: new signage and lighting, as well as repaving parking lots, installing fountains, adding landscaping and painting certain buildings.

“They want to make it friendlier than the high-tech theme that Metropolis was supposed to be,” town spokesman Tony Perona said of Poag’s plans. “It was a high-tech kind of look that they were going for, and Poag wants to soften that.”

Despite its relative newness, Metropolis could use some sprucing up. Former Indianapolis-based development firm Premier Properties USA Inc. spent $160 million to develop the 600,200-square-foot center, which opened in October 2005.

Premier’s founder, Christopher P. White, was sentenced in November 2009 to one year of home detention and three years of probation in connection with a $500,000 bad check he wrote as he tried to save his real estate development firm.

Metropolis fell into court-appointed receivership in 2008, and has been bank-owned since. A potential sale in 2010 fell through.

The mall, however, remains a west-side destination. Metropolis is what’s known as a “super-regional trade area,” meaning it’s one of just seven in central Indiana that draws traffic from more than 10 miles away, said Bill French, a retail broker at the DTZ real estate firm (formerly Cassidy Turley).

Metropolis could benefit even more from a name change, he said.

“Perry Road has become a major corridor,” French said. “Coordinating the name, because the mall is on Perry Road, is an astute marketing decision.”

Perry Road runs north-south and intersects U.S. 40, or East Main Street, near where Metropolis sits on the southwest quadrant. Across the street is a Target, with Pier 1 Imports, TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree stores nearby.

 

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