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Blowing out the candles at Circle Centre: Downtown mall is 25-years-old

Years of planning went into 1995 opening
Circle Centre.PNG
Posted at 9:39 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 21:43:14-04

INDIANAPOLIS — September 8, 1995. One of the biggest events in the history of downtown Indianapolis took place at the corner of Illinois and Washington streets.

It was the opening of Circle Centre Mall, and it was quite the celebration, complete with a big red ribbon wrapped around the entrance.

16-years of planning went into the project and for awhile, it seemed like it was going nowhere — just a huge crater in the middle of the city where old buildings had been torn down to make way for the mall.

But it finally opened and prospered in its early days, with Nordstrom and Parisian serving as anchor stores.

Retail has gone through tremendous upheaval in recent years and changes at the mall reflect that. Nordstrom closed in 2011, Parisian became Carson Pirie Scott only to see that store go dark in 2018.

Today, the Indianapolis Star occupies some of the former Nordstrom space, while the Carson Pirie Scott site, once L.S. Ayres, sits vacant.

The pandemic has done Circle Centre no favors, especially with the loss of convention business and many downtown workers. But the mall soldiers on, with its restaurants, a movie theater and even a school on the upper floor.