Finding ways to revitalize malls.

Recreating what a “mall” is.

So I kind of hinted at what some of my ideas for continuing to make improvements to the Washington and 10th street corridors on the east side of Indianapolis…. and that is the subject of this article.

I will start with the idea that Malls are dead (or at least dying). This is as true of Washington Square as it is any suburban mall in America. People prefer open, multi use buildings for what little retail shopping still happens at brick and mortar stores. In order to keep those malls from becoming a blight on the city, there use needs to be revisited.

So that is the problem. What is my solution?

Turn them into arts and entertainment centers.

Before you close the page and call me an idiot…follow my reasoning.

  1. The first stage of gentrification is and will always be art communities moving in to replace the degraded property, and criminal elements which take over decaying neighborhoods. The area around Washington Square has not succumbed to this fate as of yet, but if the vacant retail shops in the area keep multiplying….the area cannot withstand the blight that follows for long.
  2. The mall is currently underutilized, and the surrounding commercial buildings have more than enough space to accommodate every shop in the mall that would need to be displaced for this to work. So not only would this breathe life back into a mall without major infrastructure changes, this act would serve the double purpose of reinvigorating local commercial real estate all around…before the benefits of the art and entertainment center take firm root.
  3. The layout of a mall (Especially Washington Square), along with the massive parking lot are perfect for this type of use.
  4. One of the things severely lacking in Indianapolis is midsized (500-2500) music (and other theatre production) venues.

I am glad that you accept the concept enough to keep reading… so I am going to go a little deeper into my ideas, and maybe someone who can actually do something about this will run across it and get to work.

Here is a map of Washington Square as it sits. Attention: Edward J DeBartolo and Jones Lang and Lasalle Management.

We want to make sure that this building ends up fully utilizes and is something that is a draw to the far east side of Indianapolis rather than the decaying husk it is becoming.

So I start by laying out what were the Anchor stores.

As stated earlier, one of Indianapolis’s needs is a solid mid sized concert venue. For this I would suggest the store that is currently a Target, and is the large light green box on the right.

Moving clock wise to the anchor on bottom, I would think something along the lines of lazer tag, or paintball.

Continuing to the lower left, perhaps something along the lines of an indoor go cart track or something to that effect.

Rotating to the upper left, the space is quite large and could be used to create a second Art museum in Indianapolis. Newfields is doing quite well, and I am certain our city could use another large venue to display the art owned around our fair city. Perhaps it could even be curated specifically for local arts.

Finally the smaller anchor space that is on the upper right could be a second theater.

Ideally, the various areas of smaller store fronts would be somewhat restructured, and be utilized to add shops, bars, and restaurants that complement each area of the art and entertainment center.

For instance, the chartreuse and yellow areas near the theatre venues could house music teacher studio space, instrument shops, album listening rooms, music merchandise shops, and maybe even an old school record store.

The red and purple areas, could house a variety of family friendly and “date night” type restaurants and shops, in addition to shops associated with whatever activities actually went into those spaces.

Lastly the dark green area outside of the art museum would house art supply shops and classrooms for people wishing to hone their artistic skills. Maybe even a few smaller art show venues.

This is obviously an imperfect plan, but I think it has merit. There would also be tons of details to work out to make something like this work, but I will leave that to the developers who should be actively looking for ways to keep this investment from continuing to circle the drain it is trying to get flushed down at the moment.

Share this:
Follow me here!

About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
This entry was posted in Arts center, Business, east side redevelopment, Indianapolis Info, Real Estate and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.