French: 'Perfect Time' to Repurpose Circle Centre

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As some point to an uncertain future for Circle Centre mall, one retail expert says he is excited about what could be a new chapter for the downtown Indianapolis shopping center. "This is the time to repurpose and redevelop the mall," said Cushman & Wakefield Executive Director Bill French. "Downtown is on such a roll... perfect timing." The nearly 25-year-old center has been beset by store departures, most recently Carson's, which is closing its 145,000 square-foot Circle Centre store as part more than 40 chain-wide closings announced by parent Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, French said there are multiple options when it comes to finding a new tenant mix for the mall.

February 19, Simon Property Group and the mall's ownership group announced plans for a multi-million dollar facelift, the largest in Circle Centre history. Simon described the upgrades as a "multi-year project" that will include:

  • A complete remodel of restrooms including bright new finishes, floors and fixtures
  • New lighting and way-finding signage in the mall and adjacent garages
  • New flooring in various areas, including: mall entrances and the south rotunda corridor
  • An upgrade to finishes in the new Georgia Street Court and a new connection to Meridian Street on the southeast side of the property
  • A modernization of the glass feature elevators on the north end of the property
  • The addition of a fresh, bright color scheme throughout the property
  • Additional soft seating areas with charging stations in convenient locations throughout the common areas
  • A "refresh" of the Arts Garden façade, including new lighting above the intersection of Washington and Illinois Streets
  • An improvement in Wi-Fi connectivity

John Talbott, Associate Director of the Center for Education and Research in Retailing at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, said the Carson's exit presents a golden opportunity in a changing retail environment. "People's preferences are changing continuously," said Talbott. "Sometimes, things like this give us an opportunity to catch up to changes and preferences."

View the full interview:

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