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Indy’s first mall shuts down; will become ‘Window to the World’

Al Urbanski
Lafayette Square
Lafayette Square's concourses will become the indoor "streets" of Window to the World.

Erected by Edward DeBartolo in 1968, the Lafayette Square Mall just two miles north of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway enjoyed its own fast-paced traffic for decades.

By 2019, however, three anchors had shut their doors (Burlington, Sears, and L.S. Ayres) and traffic slowed to a crawl.  But last year the million-sq.-ft. property was acquired by Sojos Capital, which announced a $200 million plan to transform Lafayette Square and its surrounding areas into a mixed-use development called Window to the World.

The mall’s remaining tenants will vacate the premises for three months while Sojos turns one of the vacant anchor spaces into a boutique hotel, revamps the interior with murals and video screens, and reimagines the concourses into street scenes with roadways, colorful hanging umbrellas, and hangouts that include a full-service bar.

That will take up just $20 million of Sojos’s budget. The rest will go toward the construction of 700 residential units, outdoor retail, a sports arena, a public park, a trail along the Indiana Central Canal, and a “lineal park” that will unite Window to the World with the Speedway.

A soft opening of the retail center is expected to commence on November 21 in time for holiday shopping, after which retail tenants can expect the largest bag of presents.

No rent notices will be delivered to them until this coming February, they will get free installation of fiber optic internet and LED lighting, professional designers to re-do their spaces, and business development consultants to help them re-craft concepts that make the most of their new environment.

Sojos’s big plans were crafted to take advantage of the property’s traffic-heavy location. Aside from its proximity to the Speedway, it is five minutes from the Indianapolis Airport, 10 minutes from downtown Indianapolis, and close to both the Butler and Marian university campuses.


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