Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Simon Mall Faulters

Simon Property Group abandoned Indianapolis' first mall, Eastgate Consumer Mall. Next came Lafayette Square Mall's demise on Northwest side. Now Simon has walked away from its Washington Square Mall on the city's East side, along with more than $27 million in debt owed on it. How much will Indianapolis taxpayers wind up paying in efforts to redevelop the blight left behind by all of these malls abandoned by our good corporate citizens? Taxpayers are paying close to $20 million to prop up the politically-connected owner of Eastgate in a disastrous effort to shoehorn the Regional Operations Center and the East district IMPD headquarters into the ill-suited site. Unsuccessful efforts were made to locate a new criminal justice center at the site of Lafayette Square Mall. What bright ideas will they come up with for Washington Square Mall, which is already about half vacant?


Anonymous said...

Don't forget Columbus City Center:


Even though downtown Indy has had office space widely available for decades, the City tore down Capitol Commons Park to give Simon land for an uneeded corporate center.

Here's what used to sit at the site of the Simon Building:


Gary R. Welsh said...

It was quite shocking that Simon was allowed to construct an office tower on what had been a splendid park area, casting a shadow over our Capitol Building and got free parking for its employees in a city-owned parking garage to boot. That office tower could have and should have been built across the street from Banker's Life Fieldhouse, but the Simons wanted to flex their clout and our bought and paid for politicians obliged them.

local landlord said...

…and the Simon Property Group has “no comment” on the subject of Washington Square Mall. The mall is no longer listed on their web list of their prime properties. They will just walk away from the mall, from the debt, and from the good people of the east side of central Indiana that shop in the entire area that’s grown up around Washington Square Mall; hundreds of business owners. What an insult. They didn’t even have the decency to find an acceptable purchaser for the mall so that it had a running start. They just walked away from the mortgages and let it go back to the bank. Done deal. That Simon is quite a guy. Takes our money for his ball team, no problem. But couldn’t care less about showing some personal responsibility for his business failure at Washington Square. Isn’t that what big business talks about when talking about all the little guys who defaulted on their house mortgages; that these are people with no personal responsibility, who bought more than they could handle, and then just walked away when the going got tough and the value of their property fell below mortgage amount. Is it somehow all right when a Simon strategically defaults? Not to me it isn’t. Nobody ought to defend this guy, with enough personal and corporate wealth to pay off that mortgage. He should have made this right. Instead, he follows a pattern of abandoning properties in Indianapolis once he’s made his money off them; he doesn’t do it gracefully or with any responsibility, he walks away, he defaults, he dumps them off on communities ill prepared to step in and deal with the blight that follows. The guy ought to be somehow stopped from doing this again. He’s no public figure to look up to. He’s pillaging his way through this town. I expect the city county council and the mayor and our congressmen to call Simon to task. This has to be made right, and if it isn’t, then I want all the tax abatements and corporate welfare to the Simons stopped. This is not a community failure. This is a failure of his corporate management, and he has the money to make it right.

Anonymous said...

You're exactly right, 9:18. From student loans to home mortgages, it's about time that the average citizen treated their debt like the big boys do. If this endeavor isn't working for you, walk away.

If you default on millions, they call you a leading corporate citizen and invite you to the finest parties. If you default on thousands in student-loan debt, because the economy isn't working so well for you, they treat you like a parasite.

They've created a structure where it's your job to pay money into their system.

Btownmoon said...

I hate the Simon HQ location. It could have been sited at the old MSA site instead of wrecking Capital Commons and the views of the Statehouse.

C. Roger Csee said...

And as I recall, the published deal was that only a small part of the park would be taken, and the fountains would remain.

Anonymous said...

Cue all of the Eastsiders whining in 3...2...1...

Jeff Cox said...

Anonymous 8:14,

In fairness, Columbus City Center was on the verge of complete collapse before Simon acquired it. The downtown mall started going downhill with a 1994 gang shooting in the lower atrium that put it on lockdown. In the case of Washington Square, the mall was declining somewhat when Simon acquired DeBartolo. DeBartolo had promised a renovation of the mall, but contrary to what the story says Simon reneged on that promise. Physically, Washington Square is in bad shape - for years the tenants have complained about damaging leaks from pipes and the roof, dirty carpet, crumbling walls and floors. Simon has ignored them. The rumor over here is that Simon mortgaged the mall and used the money for other properties. This is almost entirely on Simon.

Anonymous said...

"In the case of Washington Square, the mall was declining somewhat when Simon acquired DeBartolo"

What? How does this matter?

Everything is in a constant state of decline. Maintenance, upkeep, innovation and promotion are the ways to keep building your business.

A mall isn't a static investment that magically pays rents in perpetuity.

Anonymous said...

The Pacers also faulter...so how about we demand fair market rent from their owners? -What about The City keep parking revenue, since we own The Fieldhouse? How about we get all concession revenue since we own The Fieldhouse?

Why are taxPAYERS not getting any return on their investment?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:32 called out The Simons' best!!!

"Everything is in a constant state of decline. Maintenance, upkeep, innovation and promotion are the ways to keep building your business." -So why has Simon Properties NEGLECTED it's former prized treasure and newest mall in Indianapolis??? Why does it's parking lot look like a war zone? Why have anchor tenants left??? -The answers are as obvious as why they left Lafayette Square to those who have lived here.

Anonymous said...

6:13, It really seems the Simons want the easiest and safest dollar possible and immediately bolt if the grass isn't perfectly green.

If the Simons are so neglectful in their home town, what are they like elsewhere?

In my experience, I find Westfield malls to be nicer than Simon malls.


Jeff Cox said...

Anonymous 8:28,

My experience, too, is that Westfield malls are nicer, more friendly, more alive, and better maintained. When Simon bought DeBartolo, Simon owned every mall in the city except for Glendale. The City under Goldsmith thought it was great because Simon is based here, but it really meant they had no competition and could force us to go to certain malls simply by neglecting the others. If Westfield had owned Washington Square, they would have been trying to compete with Castleton and Greenwood and maintained it accordingly.