LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Lafayette Road and West 38th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana

Youngstown, Ohio's Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation developed the first interior mall in Indianapolis. The single-level complex was centered on a 113 acre site, located 4.8 miles northwest of the Indianapolis center city.

LAFAYETTE SQUARE was anchored by a 2-level (200,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, dedicated March 14, 1968, and 2-level (150,000 square foot), Indianapolis-based William H. Block. The mall's G.C. Murphy 5 & 10 welcomed its first shoppers October 5, 1968. A 2-level (230,000 square feet) Sears opened February 26, 1969.

When fully realized, the shopping complex encompassed approximately 934,300 leasable square feet and housed eighty-four stores and services. Junior anchors included a Kroger supermarket and General Cinema Corporation Lafayette Square Cinema. The theater had showed its first feature June 26, 1968. It was twinned in the early 1970s.

Other charter LAFAYETTE SQUARE tenants included Camelot Music, Spencer Gifts, Chess King, Florsheim Shoes, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Claire's Boutique, Goodyear Tire & Auto and SupeRx Drugs.

A mall expansion got underway in 1973.  A 2-level (134,000 square foot), Columbus-based Lazarus was built on the northeast corner of the complex and was dedicated August 8, 1974. Kroger, on the mall's southeast corner, was razed and replaced by a 2-level (160,000 square foot), Indianapolis-based L.S. Ayres. This store opened for business on November 14, 1974. LAFAYETTE SQUARE now housed 1,214,300 leasable square feet and one hundred and four stores and services.

A second cinematic complex, the General Cinema Corporation Lafayette Square III-IV-V, was constructed at the southeast corner of the mall site and made its debut in 1975. It was accessed by a bridge spanning a creek and connecting with the mall's parking area.

Retail rivals were aplenty in -and around- Indianapolis. These included GLENDALE CENTER (1958) {6.5 miles northeast, in Marion County}, GREENWOOD CENTER (1966) {4.4 miles southeast, in Greenwood}, CASTLETON SQUARE (1972) {10.2 miles northeast, in Indianapolis}, FASHION MALL AT KEYSTONE (1973) {8.8 miles northeast, in Indianapolis} and WASHINGTON SQUARE (1974) {13.4 miles southeast, also in Indianapolis}.

Anchor nameplate changes began at LAFAYETTE SQUARE after its Block's store was shuttered in November 1987. Lazarus closed their store January 17, 1988 and re-opened, in the vacant Block's, on January 20. Montgomery Ward, assuming the original Lazarus store, began business in April 1988. This store lasted until early 1999. Burlington Coat Factory moved in in May.

By this time, LAFAYETTE SQUARE was in decline. Its upper tier tenants had been gradually replaced by local, mom & pop-type stores and discount outlets. The shopping venue, rather infamous for car-jackings, shootings and muggings, became known as "Lafayette Scare".

Moreover, commercial competition came from new shopping complexes in the trade area. CIRCLE CENTER, a downtown redevelopment mall, was dedicated in 1995. PLAINFIELD COMMONS SQUARE {10 miles southwest, in Plainfield} was a lifestyle venue also completed in 1995. CLAY TERRACE SQUARE {13.2 miles northeast, in Carmel, Indiana} was a power center that was dedicated in 2004.

G.C. Murphy at LAFAYETTE SQUARE closed in 1993. The store space was leased as a Myrtle Beach-based Waccamaw's HomePlace until shutting down in June 2001. Steve & Barry's University Sportswear operated in the building between 2006 and 2008.

Lazarus closed for good in April 2003. Its first level was utilized as the New Life Worship Center, a 2,500-seat sanctuary. The church eventually relocated. Its space was retenanted by Xscape, an indoor amusement park with tiny tot rides, a go kart track, mini-bowling and a 4-D motion-ride experience.

The facility opened in December 2008. A lawsuit filed by the parents of an injured child caused the shuttering of Xscape, in April 2010. America's Incredible Pizza Company assumed the space in July 2010, but closed in March 2012.

J.C. Penney pulled out of the mall in December 2003. The building sat vacant until a New York City-based Shoppers World discount outlet opened, in the first level, in November 2008. L.S. Ayres, "Macy-ated" in September 2006, was shuttered in January 2009. Sears closed their LAFAYETTE SQUARE store in the same month.

Indianapolis' Simon Property Group had acquired LAFAYETTE SQUARE as part of their 1996 merger with the DeBartolo Realty Corporation. In December 2007, Simon sold the struggling mall to the New York City-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation.

Sources:

"Lafayette Square" article on Wikipedia
The Indianapolis Star
www.deadmalls.com / Comment post by "Cory"
www.cinematreasures.org
www.specialtyretail.com
www.acrealty.com