In an announcement that spurred quite a bit of discussion over on Property Lines, the Simon company announced a proposal for a 47-story residential tower in Boston called Copley Place. This tower, which would be that city’s tallest residential building, would sit atop a Neiman-Marcus anchored retail development. Here’s a rendering:
I think that’s a legitimate question to ask. Clearly Indy is not Boston. However, it is intriguing to think about Simon being part of a high rise package at, for example, the old MSA site, especially if a retail center were incorporated. We’ll just have to see.
One thing it is not reasonable to expect is that Simon would undertake such a project if it didn’t make financial sense. While I think one would expect a company to try to do right by their hometown, investing in money losing projects that harm the long term viability of the company is the wrong move. The best way to make sure valued hometown companies stay valued hometown companies is to make sure they are well-managed and very profitable. Still, one would hope that a company like Simon would at least give the MSA site a look. Particularly if they could control a significant retail component, participating could make some sense.
As for the notion that Simon could bring a Neiman’s to town, I’d say forget it. Indianapolis has money. What it lacks is a culture of high end consumption and connoisseurship. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it limits high end retail possibilities. Admittedly, most fashion is women’s oriented, and Yours Truly is a dude, but I must say that the Saks men’s assortment at the Keystone store is sorely lacking in comparison with larger market stores. Until you start seeing a store like Saks carrying higher end lines (think Kiton and Oxxford suits, not Canali and Armani), I don’t see much of a prospect for higher end retail.