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Property Lines - Scott Olson

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Real Estate & Retail

Circle Centre finally lands major fourth-floor tenant

March 24, 2011

Circle CentreCircle Centre mall is on the verge of landing a major new tenant for its struggling fourth floor. Brown Mackie College has filed plans with the state to take 30,396 square feet, presumably in a fourth-floor section of the mall formerly inhabited by a series of nightclubs. It is not clear when Brown Mackie plans to move in or whether the space will serve as classrooms or administrative offices. Officials with the for-profit college did not return phone messages, and its architect and real estate brokers declined to discuss the project.

Brown Mackie opened its first Indianapolis campus in 2007, taking 25,000 square feet in a 1921 building at Meridian and 12th streets that once housed the Lexington Automobile Co. The college is owned by Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp. Brown Mackie also has campuses in Merrillville, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Michigan City.

The fourth floor has been a blemish on an otherwise successful mall, but manager Simon Property Group has made progress filling vacancies in recent years. The former 27,000-square-foot GameWorks arcade reopened under new management and a new name, Tilt, in April 2010, a month after the old owner shut down. And in October, a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course opened next door to the arcade, taking 6,000 square feet.

A United Artists Theatre is the largest tenant on a floor that once housed the Brewskis, Flashbaxx and World Mardi Gras nightclubs, as well as a restaurant and a Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor. The nightclub spaces have been empty since 2003, prompting Simon to consider a renovation that would transform 114,000 square feet on the fourth floor into modern office space with a wood-paneled entrance, high ceilings and skylights. Circle Centre occupancy jumps to 96.7 percent when excluding the fourth floor, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Simon did not disclose the occupancy rate when including the space. The top floor was a late addition to the mall that opened in 1995.

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