Developer submits incentive request for $200M project at Lafayette Square

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

The firm behind the planned redevelopment of Lafayette Square Mall on the west side has submitted a request for city incentives to support the project.

Sojos Capital LLC in November announced plans to spend at least $200 million on a multiyear revamp of the aging and ailing mall property, as well as nearly two dozen other properties in the Lafayette Road corridor. The project calls for new retail, along with dedicated athletic facilities, a boutique hotel, entertainment areas and multifamily housing.

The cornerstone of the project, Window to the World, would be a reuse of the existing mall, with Sojos converting it into a mixed-use building with retail, restaurants, office and entertainment, and infusing the 1.1-million-square-foot building with a variety of cultural aesthetics.

The developer claims the project could be completed sometime from late 2022 to early 2023.

The city on Wednesday confirmed it has received an incentive application from Sojos for tax-increment financing, but declined to provide additional details or share the document, citing confidentiality of pending deals.

A single-site tax-increment-financing district would deploy developer-backed bonds to cover the cost of part of the project—oftentimes, infrastructure or affordable multifamily housing. Those bonds are generally repaid using tax dollars generated within the district over a certain period.

The incentive request from Sojos wasn’t unexpected, as principal Fabio de la Cruz told IBJ shortly after the project’s first announcement he planned to make requests for funding from city and state officials. It’s not clear whether Sojos has also applied for state tax credits or grants through the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“The incentives application of the Window to the World project has been filed with the City of Indianapolis,” de la Cruz said in written remarks. “We are thankful to the Mayor’s Office, Department of Metropolitan Development, Develop Indy, City-County Councilors and the community for their continued support of this opportunity to transform the city’s westside.”

De la Cruz has had conversations with city officials since late last year about support for the project. He told IBJ that while incentives aren’t necessary for him to complete parts of his project, they could help him expand the vision.

“In the end, this is going to happen,” he told IBJ in November. “Now, the size of what is going to happen will depend on those incentives.”

Sojos acquired the 113-acre retail property in December 2020 for about $26.7 million.

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11 thoughts on “Developer submits incentive request for $200M project at Lafayette Square

    1. That has to be a long-term plan, right? It makes too much sense not to work on. The mall is dead

    2. Quite dead and very much a disappointment for a group that manages malls throughout the nation — yet that which should be a hometown gem is subpar.

      But the issues are much deeper: nearby population demographic vis-a-vis Hamilton County in particular. The lack of foresight in the past to improve city services and schools to maintain individuals and families of income levels that would allow such a mall to remain viable is indisputable. Why is it that in cities of once comparable central city urbanization — Denver, Columbus, Louisville, Minneapolis — the share of viable, attractive urban neighborhoods is significantly higher as is income and tax base. And, correspondingly, downtowns are more vibrant. Downtown Indy is attractive enough, but lacks vitality and energy. More focus should be on residents and positive internal growth — not only conventions and the much anticipated $$$ spent by visitors. Yes, that revenue is vital and key, but the a long-term sustainable plan for residents is equally important.

    3. Agreed. I whole heartedly agree with Derek C’s assessment-caveat being louisville being in better shape than indy which is not case, though those other cities are for those reasons listed. Speaking of Denver, Simon actually owns a mall that was once enormous and bustling but then with more suburban malls having popped up, went into a decline with numerous empty store fronts (not unlike lafayette sq or circle center). What Simon did there brought that mall back to life- converting it into an indoor outlet mall with high end retailers included. Think keystone in outlet form or like fashion outlets of chicago. This could certainly be helpful for circle centre for a number of reasons. One is that the only outlet mall in any close proximity is Edinburgh, which is subpar to average compared to other outlet malls. Secondly, this provides a way to gather the northern tax base back into the area because of closer proximity to downtown as compared to further south in Edinburgh. The stores could appeal to the population in downtown which I’d argue as a downtown resident is at its highest (from a tax base in total of surrounding downtown neighborhoods) since circle centre’s debut in mid 90s. Many people downtown would love to have urban shopping available, though stores that are run of mill in any basic mall (and of course empty store fronts, but this was issue even prior to empty store fronts) is not going to do this. Lastly, with ppl in town for conventions, events, whatever- this would have a desired effect on enthusiasm to spend money. People don’t care to be going shopping at American eagle (though this even closed) or aeropostale and the likes but stores that aren’t as familiar/outlets could be a much different story. What is more infuriating is that Simon’s headquarters is a block away from circle centre yet it has been dying without much of a concern seemingly given. Not saying that I think all of circle centre should be retail as do agree with multi use model, though feel retail in indys core has a higher capacity to sustain the retail than many believe if done correctly. Shoot, even salt lake city and Anchorage Alaskas downtowns feature high end shopping centers, why not indy. Furthermore, unlike many other cities near its size, indy is BARE within 465 loop which shows how much opportunity there is for shopping of some sort in the core.

  1. I’ve seen the presentation for this project. If successful it will not only be a place that people from central Indiana will want to shop, but a strong tourist destination.

  2. Add Plenty housing!!!!! Hotels!! And plenty mixed use spaces!!! And Entertainment!!!!! That’s a lot of area to take advantage of!!! Do it Right!!!and plenty $$$$ will come!! I’m watching you 👀

  3. “The lack of foresight in the past to improve city services and schools to maintain individuals and families of income levels that would allow such a mall to remain viable is indisputable.” I find this statement refreshing and very interesting. Please share with us all the city services that should be improved and what improvements to schools the city should make. I for one cannot wait for the results and attendant increase in ISTEP scores which will be experienced in the Lawrence Township schools now that $200,000,000 of Lawrence township voted for taxpayer money is being deployed.

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