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Eastgate likely to be demolished

Nearly vacant mall sold to Texas firm, city official says

By Madhusmita Bora
March 16, 2005

A Texas-based real estate investment firm has purchased Eastgate Consumer Mall and likely will demolish the nearly vacant facility to make way for new development, Indianapolis' economic development chief said Tuesday.

Officials at JTL Capital in Dallas didn't return phone calls. But Gordon Hendry, the city's economic development director, confirmed that the company completed the purchase of the Eastside landmark on March 8.


No financial details were immediately available.


"We met recently with JTL officials, and we believe their redevelopment plans will be an important stimulus for the Eastside and Indianapolis," Hendry said.


He said it is too early to know exactly what the company will do with the nearly 40-acre site.


"It is likely that the existing building will come down," he said.


Once a bustling shopping mecca, Eastgate mall began to slide after Washington Square Mall opened in 1974.


In 1981, Simon Property Group purchased the facility and turned it into a consumer mall, featuring less-than-retail prices. It sold the mall in 2002 to Haywood Whichard of North Carolina.


He ceased operating the mall in June. Four months later, Wachovia-Cust/Sass Muni V DTR bought the lien on the 289,000-square-foot mall at a tax sale for $1.1 million.


"Certainly anything is better than a vacant building," said Sharon Tabard, president of the Eastgate Neighborhood Association. "But we would like to know what the plans are. We need something to enhance the area."


Dr. Larry Tavel, whose office has been rooted at the mall since it opened in 1957, continues to serve his clients and patients at Dr. Tavel Family Eye Care amid all the speculation.


"I have contacted the acquiring company and asked them about what the future holds, and they were essentially noncommittal," Tavel said. "We have a lease in place (until 2006)."


Call Star reporter Madhusmita Bora at (317) 444-6202.

For more information visit www.jtlcapital.com.

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