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What Could Happen With Lafayette Square Mall? A Lot, or Maybe Not?

Last week, news broke that the property containing Lafayette Square Mall was for sale. Most of the mall has been struggling or vacant for years. But I want to focus on the land. This is a huge chunk of land that is basically 100 percent hardscape.

Image Credit: Map Indy

How much land is this? I’ve overlaid the selected parcels onto the downtown imagery for perspective.

Image Credit: MapIndy

It stretches from the downtown Kroger at Michigan/Capitol all of the way to City Way at Virginia/Louisiana. This is a massive, massive property.

So, what can be done with it? First of all, Lafayette Square was built with the car in mind. However, there is bus service, and it could run every 15 minutes according to IndyGo’s future plans. For now, it’s a service for mostly transit dependent folks. And unsurprisingly, sidewalks are either spare or barren. And spotting a bicycle is about as frequent as spotting a tree. Turning this aircraft carrier of a property around will be a great challenge. I turn the floor to commenters for ideas on what can be done here.

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11 Responses to “ “What Could Happen With Lafayette Square Mall? A Lot, or Maybe Not?”

  1. Scott says:

    I’m not particularly pro-sports subsidy, but I’d still like to see what happened if they put the soccer team in this spot.

  2. Brian says:

    Having watched the decline of Lafayette Square Mall and the rise of the nearby International District I ponder if the property could be turned into a “small town downtown”-esque area. Lots of mixed use properties, 3 or 4 story buildings with international restaurants, small international food grocery stories, and other businesses located on the first floors and apartments above. A small park and trail along that creek in the southeast corner. The park and creek would be a natural area to have some summer festivals.

    At this point LSM just needs to be razed and the land turned into a grassy field until people can figure out how to do better. They could do that with all the strip malls on the east side of Lafayette Rd from 38th St north towards I-65.

  3. Curt says:

    Mow the whole thing down and return it to nature. Plant trees and create hiking trails.

  4. Tony Jackson says:

    I would say turn it into something like a Edinburgh outdoor strip mall shops type even the one like noblesville premium shops with the nice brick with a large fountain, splash pads, outside benches etc. and a nice new name for it as well maybe the shops at Lafayette town center now that’s just for a start from an expert such as my self, right Duhhh….

  5. Steven A says:

    I like Brian’s idea.

  6. Robert Hall says:

    The scale and population-proximally distributed nature of these former retail properties should be utilized strategically for our City’s continued growth. Perhaps as transit centers in a multiple spoke and hub configuration. Lafayette Square, Washington Square, Castleton Square, Greenwood Park, and the airport could all be connected to Union Station or the Transit Center. Initially utilize buses, but there’s actually standard gauge rail or rail right-of-way’s adjacent to each of these properties already. These rails could eventually be developed privately through negotiated licensing and franchise fees, supporting a rail transit system with less burden upon the taxpayer. Increased use of the properties might allow for mixed-use redevelopment of the large auto-devoted parking areas with market forces.

     “It isn’t the distance from the center of a town that counts,” said Eugene; “it’s the time it takes to get there. This town’s already spreading; bicycles and trolleys have been doing their share, but the automobile is going to carry city streets clear out to the county line.” – Booth Tarkington 1918

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