I’ve covered familiar territory with my latest blog post–so familiar, in fact, that I decided to feature the full article on Urban Indy instead of here. Yes, it’s the Indianapolis City Market once again.I first covered it in 2009, when the market was a sad place, plagued by vacancies, excessive seating (just about any seating was excessive at that point, because virtually no one patronized the market) and two expansive “wings” to the old structure, which further decentralized the activity. The mall was little more than a drab food court that completely emptied out by 1:30pm.
Fast forward to my second article, in 2012, and the changes were remarkable. The management removed all tenants from the wings and completely repurposed them, concentrating energy in the central, historic structure, transforming the market into a much livelier place, with an overall occupancy rate closer to 85%–the best it had been in probably a quarter century.
Now, in 2015, occupancy is even greater (probably over 90%), and even more of the unnecessary mezzanine seating has turned to businesses. Some of the newest vendors are getting acclaim on social media review sites such as Yelp, and Saturday hours have expanded to pretty much the full day. The market looks pretty solid.
But there’s still one Achilles heel. Most of the old tenants–the ones who bravely stuck it out during the times of dearth–take up monumental amounts of space. Look at this “kitchen” that belongs to a single tenant:This vendor, an oldie, claims four times the space of most of the new tenants. It’s a drag on the entire market environment, preventing what is now a B or even B-plus performing from earning a solid A. I ruminated on the tenant mix back in 2012, but this article is much more pointed, and this time I come up with the recommendations for market management to help bring this historic building to a modern version of the great commercial space it was at its 19th century prime. Read up!