That a key piece of downtown retail space at the mall would become office space set off a firestorm of criticism. Much of that criticism focused on the possibility that the Star converting retail space to office space could ultimately doom the mall as a place for shopping.
Today the Star publishes an article with the headline "Star's move would rejuvenate silent corner of Circle Centre, leaders say." In the article, the Star reports that "civic leaders" praise of the move while barely acknowledging the criticism:
The Indianapolis Star’s likely move to Circle Centre mall would breathe life into a corner of Downtown that has been under-utilized for the past two years, according to civic leaders and those involved in the deal.
The state’s largest news operation is negotiating with the mall manager, Simon Property Group, to lease about 100,000 square feet of space formerly occupied by the Nordstroms.
The deal would fill roughly half of the 210,000 square feet left vacant when Nordstroms left the mall in July 2011.
While some have held out hope for a new retailer, civic leaders say The Star’s move would bring vibrancy to the empty three-story brick edifice at the corner of Meridian and Georgia streets.
This is not just an office redevelopment of that space,” said Marc Lotter, spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “Ultimately, The Star has some very exciting plans to integrate the space with Georgia Street and become a focal point for the city.”For a newspaper to publish a straight news story, which praises the newspaper for a business decision it made, brings the Star to a new low in journalistic ethics.
Those plans could include a newspaper-themed coffee shop on the first floor, electronic video and ticker boards on the building’s exterior, and a street-side video studio, said David Contis, president of mall platform for Simon Property Group.
“We would like to see them engage the community and become interactive with the street,” Contis said.
...Downtown boosters say the move’s impact would extend beyond the mall.
“When we look at urban development and the relevance of news-gathering organizations, we don’t have to look any further than Times Square,” said Bob Schultz, vice president of marketing and communications for Indianapolis Downtown Inc.