Recreational outfitter REI plans store in Castleton

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REIThe outdoors retailer REI plans to open its first Indiana store in a former Linens & Things location in the Plaza at Castleton shopping center.

The Sumner, Wash.-based retailer, a not-for-profit cooperative with 114 stores in 29 states, is set to take about 24,000 square feet at the center, which sits at the southeast corner of 86th Street and Allisonville Road, just west of Castleton Square Mall.

The deal is great news for a center that has lacked an anchor tenant since Linens & Things closed in 2008 as part of the chain's bankruptcy liquidation. REI will take a little more than half of the 40,000 square feet the housewares retailer had occupied, leaving room for a second mid-size anchor store, a site plan shows.

The Castleton store does not yet appear on the chain's list of new openings for 2011, suggesting it won't open until 2012.

REI is the nation's largest consumer cooperative. Anyone can shop at the store, but members receive annual rebates based on how much they buy. A lifetime membership is $20, and it typically pays about 10 percent back on purchases per year, the company says.

REI earned $115.4 million on $1.46 billion in sales in 2010, and paid $94.3 million in "patronage refunds" to its 4.4 million active members.

REI, which stands for Recreational Equipment Inc., was founded in 1938 by a group of mountain climbers in the Pacific Northwest. The chain had been looking for a central Indiana store at least since 2007, when REI appeared on a site plan for the failed Venu project at 86th Street and Keystone Avenue.

The Plaza at Castleton shopping center is owned and managed by McKinley Inc. of Michigan, and leasing is handled by locally based Eclipse Real Estate and the local office of Pennsylvania-based Echo Retail. Niessink Commercial represented REI.

Real estate reporter Cory Schouten is in Las Vegas this week for the International Council of Shopping Centers convention. Check for updates here on Property Lines, in the May 30 issue of IBJ, and on Twitter @PropertyLines.

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