GLENDALE CENTER
North Keystone Avenue and East 62nd Street
Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana

Plans were announced in August 1954 for a 7 million dollar Greater Indianapolis shopping center. The complex would be built on a 55-acre parcel, situated 7 miles northeast of the center city. At the time, the site was in an unincorporated section of Marion County known as Washington Township.

GLENDALE CENTER was designed by the Pereira & Luckman firm, of Los Angeles, Raymond Loewy, of New York City, and Karl O. Van Leuven, of Los Angeles' Victor Gruen Associates. Victor Gruen, himself, had a great deal of input into the design of the mall, which was developed by a joint venture of Indianapolis' L.S. Ayres department store chain and Chicago's Herbert Heyman and Howard Landau.

The open-air facility was configured with a main Mall Level and service basement that was accessed by two tunnels. There was also a small shopping concourse on this floor and basements for major stores. Two Indy-based department stores anchored the mall; a 3-level (148,000 square foot) L.S. Ayres and 2-level (118,700 square foot) William H. Block.

Ground was broken on December 27, 1956. An initial twenty-six stores opened for business on August 14, 1958. When fully-completed, GLENDALE CENTER encompassed 525,000 leasable square feet and housed fifty tenant spaces.

Charter stores included Craig's at Glendale Candy & Restaurant, Hook's Drug, Roderick St. Johns men's wear, L. Strauss Company men's wear, Lerner Shops ladies' wear, Rost Jewelers and the Glendale House Restaurant. There were also a (27,300 square foot) Standard Food supermarket, 2-level (36,000 square foot) G.C. Murphy 5 & 10, 2-level (26,000 square foot) Graham's of Glendale furniture and 400-seat Glendale Auditorium.

The first of many mall expansions added a 2-level (52,000 square foot) southeast store block. This included a Vonnegut's Hardware, which welcomed its first shoppers on November 18, 1964. The General Cinema Corporation Glendale Cinema I & II opened for business on July 26, 1967.

This theater was a freestanding structure built in the the mall's southeast parking area. It was joined by the General Cinema Corporation Glendale III & IV, which opened on September 24, 1970. This venue was located across North Keystone Avenue from the mall proper.

Indianapolis' first fully-enclosed mall was LAFAYETTE SQUARE {6.5 miles southwest, in Marion County}, which opened in April 1968. A renovation to enclose GLENDALE CENTER was formally announced in May 1969. This renovation turned out to be part of a three-phase project, that would require 4 years to complete.

The mall enclosure was finished by April 1970. At this time, the two anchor stores were being enlarged. L.S. Ayres expanded to 237,400 square feet with a 3-level eastern addition. A third floor was added to William H. Block, extending its area to 163,000 square feet. Moreover, a 2-level (40,000 square foot) section of stores was built adjacent to the new L.S. Ayres addition.

A final remodeling stage created a thirty-store mall within a mall in the basement level of the northeast corner of the complex. Known as The Galleria, it encompassed 60,000 square feet and housed tenants such as Bathique, Just Jeans, Exotic Siam Boutique, Lynn's Glass Cube jewelry, Logo's Bookstore, The Pet House and Walls Unlimited art gallery. Stores began opening in December 1973. GLENDALE CENTER now spanned approximately 750,700 leasable square feet and contained 125 stores and services.

As the mall was being expanded and enclosed, the Unigov consolidation merged the City of Indianapolis and Marion County into one political entity. This brought GLENDALE CENTER into the physical limits of the Hoosier capital. Soon after, the mall faced its first true competition. CASTLETON SQUARE {2.5 miles northeast, in Indianapolis} opened for business in September 1972.

Commercial competition intensified in 1979, following the completion of a major expansion of FASHION MALL AT KEYSTONE (1973) {3.5 miles north, in Indianapolis}. This shopping venue made an upscale shift, usurping GLENDALE, which was given another keeping-up-type renovation in the early 1980s.

Work commenced on the initial -3.5 million dollar- stage in January 1982. Store space on the south end of GLENDALE was demolished. A section of an abandoned supermarket was retained and worked into the new ten-store South Mall. This Post-Modern concourse featured a lofty, skylit ceiling and new southwest mall entrance with a dramatic stained-glass-window. A Brendamour's Sporting Goods commenced operation on November 11, 1982, signalling completion of this project.

The paint was hardly dry before another major mall reconstruction got underway. This time, the Center Court would be re-roofed to match the new South Mall section. Work commenced on the 5 million dollar project in July 1983. Brick columns installed in 1969 were replaced with rounded, brightly-colored posts. A concert stage was built and all north end mall entrances were refurbished.

At the same time, the original Lower Level Concourse, in the northwest corner of the mall, was rebuilt. A (25,000 square foot) mall within a mall, known as The Village, was created. Among its six shops were The Kitchen Door, The Emporium, Kimmel Shoe Repair and Cerulli's Barber Shop (a 1958 charter tenant).

A gala cocktail and hors d'oeuvres party was held on October 29, 1984, commemorating completion of the mall makeover. This event was followed by the first GLENDALE anchor rebranding. William H. Block morphed into a Columbus-Ohio-based Lazarus on November 1, 1987.

A third major refurbishment of GLENDALE CENTER was completed in July 1994. As part of the 1 million dollar project, a (13,500 square foot) Food Entertainment Court was created in the basement Galleria. Satellite campuses for Indiana University and Purdue University were set up in adjacent space. On the Mall Level, interior surfaces were painted, with new lighting and signage installed. 

Unfortunately, this project failed to halt the mall's decline. By the late 1990s, competition from nearby malls had thrown GLENDALE in a downward spiral. In May 1999, the struggling center was sold to the Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group. A 45 million dollar renovation commenced in June 1999. The first order of business was to demolish vacant store space on the south end of the complex.

The interior of the mall was redone in a new color scheme, with common area flooring, elevators and escalators being replaced. The 6-bay Terrace Food Court was built in existing Mall Level space. Its vendors included Manchu Wok, Roly Poly and Pizza di Roma, A 1-level (135,000 square foot) Lowe's home improvement center opened, in the southeastern periphery of the mall, on January 28, 2000. The Kerasotes ShowPlace Glendale 12 presented its first features on May 19th.

The Lazarus building, which had been vacated in July 1999, was gutted and reconfigured. A 1-level (29,000 square foot) Old Navy commenced operation, on Level 2, in July of the year 2000. A branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, on Level 3, opened on October 23rd. A (24,000 square foot) Staples set up shop, on Level 1, in March 2001. Finally, a (30,000 square foot) Stein Mart opened, on Level 2, on October 11 of the same year.

The revitalized shopping hub, which encompassed approximately 668,000 leasable square feet, had been re-dedicated on November 10, 2000. Among its forty-nine mall proper tenants were Purrfect Gifts, Alter Ego, Trade Secret, Pac Sun, Sam Goody records, Express, The Limited and Victoria's Secret.

The new and improved shopping complex, now officially promoted as GLENDALE MALL, was initially successful. However, by 2004, it was becoming obvious that the afterglow of the 1999-2001 remodeling was wearing off. Stein Mart went dark in October, with Old Navy being shuttered in January 2006.

Kite Realty evicted most remaining tenants in February 2007 and closed the shopping concourse down in March. They embarked on a demalling in April. The mall was bulldozed, leaving the two anchor boxes, the movie megaplex, Lowe's store and three outparcels standing.

L.S. Ayres, which had been rebranded by Macy's on February 1, 2006, was thoroughly renovated. The structure was surrounded on three sides by outward-facing store blocks. In all, 45,000 square feet of retail and 16,300 square feet of leasable office space were built. The second level of the Block's / Lazarus building was also expanded into a (129,000 square foot) Target.

The new -entirely open-air- GLENDALE TOWN CENTER opened for business on July 27, 2008. The complex encompassed 393,000 leasable square feet and contained thirty-four stores, services and office suites. One of these stores would close for good 10 years later. Macy's, Inc. pulled the proverbial plug on their GLENDALE TOWN CENTER store in March 2019.

Sources:

The Indianapolis News
The Indianapolis Star
The Indianapolis Recorder
images.indianahistory.org (Indiana Historical Society)
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
http://historicindianapolis.com / Jeff Kamm
http://www.costar.com
http://kiterealty.com/portfolio
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org/theatre.html / Ultimate Movie Theatre & Drive-In Guide / Mike Rivest
Malls of America Blogspot / Keith Milford, webmaster