Thursday, September 08, 2005

Downtown Primer

Some lessons in downtown revitalization in today's Indianapolis Star in a series of articles on the Circle Centre Mall, which is celebrating its ten-year anniversary and was a primary catalyst for Indy's recent urban renaissance.

How Circle Centre changed the image of downtown Indianapolis:
Downtown Indianapolis was a "scary place" 30 years ago, Cindy Porteous remembers.

"You just weren't sure you wanted to be walking around," she said. "There wasn't anything there. You certainly didn't go out in the evening for anything."

Today, Porteous and her husband, Mark, revel in Downtown living.
How government and one local company stepped in to save Circle Centre
It took significant investment in the midst of a recession from a score of Indiana companies to save a project that had become the punch line to many a local joke.

It also took the perseverance of Simon Property Group, active lobbying by Eli Lilly and Co. executives and timely expansion by retailer Parisian.
How Circle Centre impacted other downtown real estate:
[Local real estate broker Todd] Maurer credits Circle Centre mall for part of the success of the building and other investments in Downtown office space. The area's growth in upscale restaurants and entertainment has made it an enticing place to take clients and close deals, he said.

"I think Circle Centre did a lot to revitalize the Downtown and helped in getting some attractive tenants and investments," he said.
How Circle Centre jump-started demand for downtown housing:
At least 63 housing developments have been announced since 1995, representing 2,906 housing units and a total investment of more than $574 million.

And the pace is increasing. More than a third of those new units, 1,104 condos representing an investment of $335 million, are scheduled for construction in the next few years, according to developers and figures from Indianapolis Downtown Inc.
How Circle Centre spurred an explosion of restaurants and bars downtown:
Cropping up near the mall are 20 restaurants ranging from Hard Rock Cafe to Oceanaire, tourist destinations such as the Indiana State Museum and White River Gardens, and major sports venues such as Conseco Fieldhouse and Victory Field. In all, 120 restaurants and bars have opened in and around Downtown since 1995, according to Indianapolis Downtown Inc.
Circle Centre timeline: 1979 - present

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