There are so many real problems in today’s world that it seems extremely petty to complain about this, but I see that The Indianapolis Star is negotiating with the Simon Company to move into the space previously occupied by Nordstrom.
The City has worked long and hard to get a critical mass of retailing in the downtown core. An adequate retail presence is necessary if we are to continue the residential rebirth downtown: these uses are co-dependent. We need enough people who live downtown to support retail uses, and we need retail uses that are convenient in order to attract downtown residents.
We’ve already lost the site of the former Borders to a bank. Now we are losing the Nordstrom site– a prime retail location that many hoped would be filled by a Macy’s or similar shopping destination.
When I first worked downtown, I was a lawyer at what was then considered a large firm (52). There were perhaps two places to have lunch; there was nowhere to shop. When I first moved downtown, there was no grocery. (What is now Marsh and was O’Malia’s was then an old and decrepit Sears Roebuck, with blue metal siding.) City officials and not-for-profit organizations have worked hard over the ensuing years to revive the core of our city, to attract a broad mix of uses, and to make it a place people want to live in and visit.
It’s worrisome enough that the soaring crime rate is once again making people hesitant to attend downtown events. If we lose the things that attract people downtown, that’s a double whammy.
This is just one location–albeit an important one–and obviously, Simon can do what it wants with its own property. But it’s disappointing–another lost opportunity at a time when Indianapolis lacks the political and civic leadership that over the years turned “Naptown” into a great place to live.