Foot Locker, sneaker brands among users of former Carson’s space during All-Star Weekend

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Foot Locker is temporarily taking over the former Carson Pirie Scott space in Circle Centre Mall. (IBJ photo/Mason King)

The former Carson’s department store space at Circle Centre Mall will be temporarily occupied by several companies this week as one of several downtown retail and entertainment activations connected to the NBA All-Star Game.

New York City-based Foot Locker has leased the 50,000-square-foot first floor of the building at 1 W. Washington St. to house numerous activities, including an interactive LED half-court, retail space, basketball clinics, footwear customization stations and athlete appearances, a company representative said.

The space, which will open to the public Friday, will be known as Home Court and is one of several pop-up spaces planned for Circle Centre throughout the weekend—and by far the largest.

The space will include extensive retail space offering new products from Nike, Jordan Brand, Puma, Under Armour, Adidas and other top athletic wear brands. It will also offer styling sessions through a collaboration between Converse and Oklahoma City Thunder player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as well as a panel discussion with local youth hosted by Our Mothers Inc. and Wanda Durant, the mother of NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

The Foot Locker space will also feature a pop-up collaboration between athletic apparel company Puma and Frito-Lay snack brand Cheetos. That area will offer a “larger-than-life” Cheetos bag that people can walk through, a Cheetos-themed maze and numerous giveaways. The activation is part of a rollout for a new Cheetos-themed, Puma-manufactured sneaker from Portland Trailblazers player Scoot Henderson. The space will be open to the public on Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.

The use of the Carson’s space could be a boon for Circle Centre, as it will temporarily fill one of the largest voids in downtown’s retail landscape. Carson’s occupied the L.S. Ayres building, constructed in 1905, has been largely vacant since Carson’s closed in February 2018.

In the years since the store’s closure, operators of Circle Centre—first Simon Property Group and now the Circle Centre Development Corp., through Chicago-based brokerage JLL—have sought to find a new user for the space. That includes an unsuccessful effort to woo Target to open a 30,000-square-foot store in the space.

“Bringing a retail use back to the Ayres building for NBA All-Star 2024 was of great significance for Circle Centre Mall,” said Luke Aeschliman, vice president and senior general manager of Circle Centre Mall. “Foot Locker’s blend of retail and interactive components sets our All-Star experience apart.”

The mall, which has dubbed itself The Intersection for All-Star Weekend, will host numerous stores and pop-ups through the end of this week. Those include dedicated locations for Under Armour’s Curry brand, Mitchell & Ness and the National Basketball Players Association Brotherhood Deli, which is a partnership with JPMorgan Chase Bank, through its Freedom credit card brand.

“As the hub of non-ticketed activity, no fan’s experience is complete without a visit to Circle Centre Mall, where basketball culture, fashion, food and fun intersect,” Aeschliman said.

All-Star Weekend as a whole could also further bolster the mall’s future, as several businesses opening in time for the festivities are expected to sign on as long-term tenants.

The mall is expected to undergo a $600 million redevelopment starting in 2025, from Beloit, Wisconsin-based Hendricks Commercial Properties, which has agreed to principal terms for the property. One of Hendricks’ biggest priorities is expected to be securing a new use for the Carson’s space.

The company is expected to complete its acquisition of the mall, and finalize a development agreement with the city of Indianapolis and the Indiana Economic Development Corp., by the end of March.

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