It was spring weather Tuesday as the ribbon was cut for the first tenant of The Junction at Logansport, formerly the Logansport Mall.

Planet Fitness had its “soft opening” on March 1 in about 15,000 square feet that used to be the Sears store, but this week made it official.

The new Planet Fitness is also a milestone for the owners, Alex Baker and his father Robert.

This is the 20th franchise of Planet Fitness they’ve opened in Indiana in 10 years.

Alex Baker, also the CCO for the Planet Fitness Baker Group, said the response has been great.

Mayor Chris Martin said that Logansport has a heart and “this is the part of that heart beating.”

Logansport Cass County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Cuppy thanked the Bakers for locating in Logansport and making a difference, “not only their investment but the spurring of the development of the mall.”

Park Development, a real estate developer from Chicago owned by Joe DiCosola, bought the old mall in February 2020. The mall opened in 1968, but only Dunham’s Sports remained after April 2020.

“We’re working on a handful of things,” said DiCosola.

The internal demolition of the mall has begun, following the February demolition of the former J.C. Penney for a planned hotel.

The Park Development subsidiary that oversees the mall, 3900 E Market Street LLC, is now working on a contract to remove the southern part of the building, changing it from an indoor, walking mall to an outdoor shopping center.

The open-air retail shopping center will have about 144,000 square feet of retail space.

Besides Planet Fitness officially opening, spring is bringing other growth to the city.

DiCosola said the hotel that will go at the spot where the Penney has also been upgraded.

The Hampton Inn by Hilton that Sulai Hospitality planned will now be a Home2 Suites by Hilton It will be an extended stay hotel with studio and onebedroom suites that have a kitchen and a workspace, complimentary Wi-Fi and hot breakfasts.

Mitesh Patel, director of Sulai Hospitality, stated in a press release that the Home2 Suites has been successful, even during the COVID19 pandemic, and that an extended stay hotel appeals to their market here.

“With all the industries in Logansport and the surrounding area, this just feels like a better fit,” Patel said.

Financing will be handled by a Logansport bank, although the press release doesn’t identify which.

Cuppy said the Home2 Suites is the top end of the kind of hotels Logansport will attract.

He also expects “more construction in the near future,” although he added that it’s too early to discuss specifics.

Developers going through town see that construction and work being done and want to be part of it.

“It’s really a momentum thing,” Cuppy said. “Progress brings more development.”

DiCosola has also been developing more than the mall.

As the ground thaws, his company will start digging up ground along High Street and Yorktown Road to build 52 single-family homes as the Lexington Village subdivision, which the city has been planning for over more than a decade.
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