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, and was officially dedicated in August 1968.

Originally encompassing 934,300 leasable square feet and approximately eighty-four stores and services, LAFAYETTE SQUARE was anchored by a 2-level (150,000 square foot), Indianapolis-based William H. Block and 2-level (100,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. A 2-level (230,000 square feet) Sears opened in January 1969.

Junior anchors of the shopping hub were a Kroger supermarket, G.C. Murphy 5 & 10 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, Claire's Boutique, Goodyear Tire & Auto and SupeRx Drugs.

A mall expansion got underway in 1973. 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 in 1974. A 2-level (134,000 square foot), Columbus-based Lazarus was built on the northeast corner of the complex and was dedicated in August 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. GLENDALE CENTER {6.5 miles northeast, in Marion County / Indianapolis} opened in 1958. GREENWOOD CENTER {4.4 miles southeast, in Greenwood} was completed in 1966. CASTLETON SQUARE {10.2 miles northeast, in Indianapolis} began business in 1972. FASHION MALL AT KEYSTONE {8.8 miles northeast, in Indianapolis} was dedicated in 1973. Lastly, WASHINGTON SQUARE {13.4 miles southeast, in Indianapolis} came along in 1974.

Anchor alterations at LAFAYETTE SQUARE commenced in 1988, after the Block's store was shuttered. 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 had started to decline. Its upper tier tenants were 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 metropolis. The first was Indy's CIRCLE CENTER, one of the few successful center city redevelopment malls in America, which dedicated in 1995. Then came PLAINFIELD COMMONS SQUARE {10 miles southwest, in Plainfield, Indiana}, a lifestyle venue completed in 1995. Lastly, there was CLAY TERRACE SQUARE {13.2 miles northeast, in Carmel, Indiana}, a power center dedicated in 2004.

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

Lazarus locked its doors 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 spot 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 of the space, in November 2008. L.S. Ayres, "Macy-ated" in September 2006, closed in January 2009. Sears, a 1969 charter tenant, moved out in the same month.

Indianapolis' Simon Property Group 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
www.deadmalls.com / Comment post by "Cory"
www.cinematreasures.org
www.specialtyretail.com
www.acrealty.com