Collaboration Fueled Grand-Scale Development for Indianapolis

By Turner, Laura | Nation's Cities Weekly, February 20, 1995 | Go to article overview

Collaboration Fueled Grand-Scale Development for Indianapolis


Turner, Laura, Nation's Cities Weekly


One of the final components of Indianapolis' grand-scale downtown revitalization effort, the Circle Centre retail and entertainment complex, is scheduled to open September 8.

Circle Centre, which is expected to pump $2.1 billion into Indiana's economy in the first five years of operation, is the product of an unprecedented collaboration by 18 top Indianapolis corporations.

Also unique is the structure's exterior design, which features eight facades saved from historic downtown buildings.

Since the mid-1970's, successful public-private partnerships intent on attracting businesses, sporting events, conventions, arts groups and tourists have resulted in the RCA Dome, Market Square Arena, renovated Union Station festival marketplace, a zoo, two museums, several office buildings, numerous sporting facilities, seven hotels, three renovated theaters and restored residential areas.

One of the largest construction projects in Indiana history, Circle Centre will offer local residents, as well as an anticipated 250,000 additional downtown visitors, numerous shopping, dining and entertainment options.

Circle Centre will consist of 800,000 square feet of retail space in the heart of downtown and include two anchor stores-Seattle-based Nordstrom and Birmingham-based Parisian, Inc., approximately 100 specialty shops, a multi-screen cinema, night clubs, themed restaurants, a food court, parking garages and an eight-story glass dome dedicated to fine arts exhibits and performances.

The towering Artsgarden, suspended over a wide, busy intersection, will become a Midwest landmark. The 12,500-squarefoot facility will serve as a performance, exhibition, marketing and ticketing space for the Indianapolis arts community.

Walkways will link the Artsgarden to nearby hotels, offices, shops and restaurants. Its expected high volume of pedestrian traffic will make the structure a venue to increase public awareness of the arts. The Artsgarden will he owned and operated by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

The mall exterior was completed last fall after more than a decade of work by historic preservation professionals, architects, developers and city officials. Interior construction is on schedule.

Incorporation of the historic facades makes the mall blend in with existing downtown architecture. All but one of the eight were dismantled when their buildings were torn down. The facades were saved and restored to be-rebuilt as part of Circle Centre.

The Rost Jewelry Company facade, which dates to 1897 and was remodeled in Art Deco style in 1947, will serve as a mall entrance. The green marble and grey limestone facade features a working neon dock.

The cast iron of the J. F. Darmody Company facade was restored to its original vivid green color after decades of discoloration and repaintings. The Darmody, which dates to 1905, once housed a candy manufacturer.

The Italianate Griffith Exchange Block facade was built in 1872 and once housed The Indianapolis News and labor union offices.

The 1890 red brick Levey Brothers and Company facade adjacent to the mall's three-level, glass-enclosed sky walk features a row of bricks set in an angled design called corbeling.

The rusted Vajen Exchange Block facade was trucked in pieces to Alabama, where a company specializing in cast iron restoration returned it to its 1920 appearance. A grain exchange operated at its original location.

The 1896 Mallott or P. W. Jackson facade features intricate rosettes on its massive lintel.

The adjacent Rothschild facade, which dates to 1867, was restored to its 1912 appearance. Both it and the Mallott facade once housed wholesale businesses.

The wide House of Crane facade stands in its original location and is the only facade restored on-site without being dismantled. The Crane, once home to a wholesale cigar business, will serve as the entrance to Nordstrom's coffee bar. …

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Collaboration Fueled Grand-Scale Development for Indianapolis
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