Developer plans three-month closure to speed redevelopment of Lafayette Square Mall

Rendering of proposed Window to the World development at Lafayette Square. (Rendering courtesy of Sojos Capital)

The development firm behind the planned $20 million redevelopment of Lafayette Square Mall in Indianapolis plans to close the property for a three-month period to help with renovation efforts. Sojos Capital LLC said the move will bring the Window to the World transformation to fruition more quickly.

The goal of the project’s first phase is to turn the mall property into a multicultural mixed-use development with the mall interior featuring year-round “indoor streets” that recreate outdoor scenes from around the world.

Sojos Capital first announced plans for Window to the World in November. The overall $200 million project will include future phases featuring rental townhouses, apartments, a new veterinarian office, a pet boarding and dog park facility, and new retail and restaurant tenants.

Sojos Capital said it has already begun multiple upgrades to the mall, including replacing the roof, changing HVAC units, interior and exterior painting, and additional security enhancements.

The three-month closure, which will take place from Aug. 29 through Nov. 21, is expected to allow crews to complete the upgrades, as well as conduct extensive electrical work and new flooring installation, among others.

“Not remaining open for business during a short-term renovation allows us to address all construction issues as quickly as possible, while guaranteeing the safety of our tenants, employees and visitors,” Sojos Capital Principal Fabio de la Cruz said in written remarks. “We have extensive plans to transform the entire neighborhood, and opening Window to the World is the first step in creating a welcoming space for everyone to live, work, play and stay.”

Sojos Capital said it will provide support for tenants who have signed letters of intent to return as part of Window to the World. The tenants are being offered six months of free rent, free installation of new LED lighting, professional and business development assistance, and partnerships with Indiana Gifts and Indiana Owned to provide online selling opportunities.

The mall is set for a soft reopening in late November, which Sojos says will allow tenants to be open during the busy holiday shopping season while construction and design work continues.

The first phase of the project will also include transforming a vacant anchor department store space into a boutique hotel, building underground infrastructure for more than 700 residential units, and developing public trails and a public park.

A grand opening celebration for the first phase is planned for April 2023.

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13 thoughts on “Developer plans three-month closure to speed redevelopment of Lafayette Square Mall

  1. I met Edward J. DeBartolo when I was kid. Managed to get away from mom shopping at Penney’s. The rest of the mall wasn’t open yet. Ran by him sitting on a bench. He scared me because it was dark. He introduced himself and said, “Where are going, little boy?” Before I could answer, mom caught up to me and… you know the rest of the story.

  2. I drive up and down 65 off and on, drove by here today and the painting looks so much better than before! I hope this works out, it’s been an eyesore for decades.

  3. This truly capitalizes on the unique “international” flavor that now exists in the area. The forethought and financial commitment for success is clear from the investment of Sojos Capital. The rest of us should be sure we support the effort by patronizing the tenants and taking advantage of the opportunities the Master Plan offers. At the same time, I hope the City does its part to ensure public safety and infrastructure is enhanced and maintained.
    We all need to be behind this effort because, if one of us fails to do our part…….we lose. That shouldn’t be an option.

  4. It would be great to see this transformation at that mail. Hoping the new owners have nothing but success in this venture. Shameful the previous owners did little if anything to save it before it was so far gone.

  5. Am I really the only reader of a business journal that thinks this is a scam? Anyone remember the guy who had similar grandiose plans for the old airport a few years ago and was a total fraud?
    There are hundreds of unanswered questions here from the Principle’s assumed name and death threats, to his vague past allegedly starting with a single rental property and now doing a $200M project that no other organization with far more experience and resources would undertake. His business plan is a disjointed mix of puppies and rainbows and seems to contain anything that comes to mind that might sound fun.
    I guess we’ll see the answers when the requests for taxpayer funding start coming into play.
    All that said, I would be happy to be wrong and will come back here to take the L, but I don’t think that is the case.

    1. I am also suspicious but so far I appear to be wrong. Hope it works out! I always thought it would be a great logistics/warehouse or data center hub; but this plan, if successful, will be a much better stimulus for the entire Lafayette Square area. Best wishes, Mr. de la Cruz!

    2. For the sake of the area and its financial fortunes, I hope you’re wrong as well. But I have a sneaking suspicion you’re on to something.

      The place didn’t go from a retail mecca to a wasteland for nothing. Let’s keep in mind there are still plenty of internationally themed small businesses scattered along 38th Street, but why should they sacrifice visibility along that busy thoroughfare to move into something turned inward…unless that something has more magnetism than 38th Street? There’s still enough vacant space along Commercial Drive to make up an entire separate community shopping center…so, at this point, the supply of retail space exceeds the demand. All this while malls are failing left and right.

      Crime in the area may not be as bad as E. 38th Street, but it’s still not great. Who’s going to want to move into these 700 residential units knowing what they do about the safety in the area, unless Windows to the World is a destination onto itself? And if Windows to the World can’t secure some big-name shopping or entertainment, how will it be a destination? Too many unanswered questions at this point.

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