Downtown Indy Inc. Launches Retail Pop-Up Initiative

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(Image courtesy of St'artUp 317.) (Image courtesy of St'artUp 317.)

Downtown Indy Inc. has launched a retail pop-up initiative. In collaboration with the city of Indianapolis and fashion arts nonprofit PATTERN, the new program, called St'artUp 317, is designed to revive first-floor retail in vacant commercial spaces throughout the Indianapolis downtown area. The first set of pop-ups will run during the month of May.

"It's really a partnership in placemaking between landlords of traditional commercial retail space, as well as the creative community and small businesses," said Catherine Esselman, real estate director for Downtown Indy Inc. "This is a way for someone to test the market without making a long-term commitment."

A number of vacant retail spaces, street-level windows and lots are available, including four window locations at Circle Center Mall.

So far, Esselman says they have received 50 vendor applications. She expects that number to increase as the April 1 deadline draws closer.

“The pop-up model is a proven one from what we have seen in other markets. It allows a company to experience the market, understand the demographics, drive brand awareness and grow business." 

Businesses will begin to move into their designated spaces starting April 24th and will remain there through June 4th. Esselman says the ideal candidate for St’artUp 317 already has inventory, a strong social media presence and a built-in base of business “but haven’t pulled the trigger for one reason or another in locating downtown.” Her hope is that this program will serve as an affordable way for businesses to see that downtown Indy is "a really strong market where they will make money.” 

Once May is over, St'artUp 317 's goal is to get participating businesses to sign a long-term lease. Which Esselman says in turn, will fulfill the ultimate mission of the initiative: "Less vacancy in downtown Indianapolis."

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