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Centrum Mall gets new name

BOSTON HILL CENTER: A car passes in front of Centrum Mall, now known as the Boston Hill Center, which is undergoing renovations. The building is scheduled to have the facade redone by this summer.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

Marion Housing Authority (MHA) has announced a name change for Centrum Mall, located at 428 S. Washington St., to go along with the renovations and rebranding of the building.

The building will be called Boston Hill Center. Riley Tangeman, assistant development coordinator for MHA, said the name was designed to reflect the building's history. 

The building was initially built around 1880 as a department store called the Boston Store, which was a destination for people living in the Midwest with its more than 39 departments, Tangeman said.

Grant County Historian Bill Munn said the Boston Store was very important to the City of Marion. While there were other department stores that targeted upper class individuals, he said the Boston Store was the store of the middle class, similar to a Target today.

In 1935, the building was purchased by Frank Maidenburg and was renamed the Hill’s Department store. That's where MHA got the "Hill" part of Boston Hill Center. 

The word "center" is a reference to Centrum, Tangeman said. 

“We really wanted a name that would reflect the building’s identity as it began and progressed through history,” Tangeman said.

Indiana Wesleyan University senior, Hannah Hood, has been working alongside Tangeman and the Marion Housing Authority throughout the rebranding of the building. Hood first entered the mall for an IWU senior art show a few years ago and had been impressed by the changes that had already taken place, she said.

The name change was another piece to the puzzle for the new start.

“There's a ton of growth and potential in the Boston Hill Center and my hope is that this name change gets people's attention and contributes to the forward momentum,” Hood said.

Along with the change of name, the building’s interior paint, flooring, LED lighting and the majority of the bathrooms have all been restored and redone and new doors and access control security system have been installed, according to Tangeman.

Additionally, Tangeman said the Boston Hill Center will have a new logo and graphic designs completed sometime next week.

One of the biggest pieces left to redo is the building’s facade.

“… We will be doing a new facade by the summer, that will be the completing portion of it that will wrap up the project,” Tangeman said.

Tangeman said they are in the process of finding more tenants to lease spaces inside. Currently the building houses 10 different tenants, including Bodies in Motion and the Center Township Trustees office, but could potentially fit 10-12 more.

As of now, Tangeman said there is a restaurant planning to open in the summer on the ground level, so the community can be on the lookout for that as well.

Tangeman said she enjoys entering the building and seeing the community that has developed between business owners that already have spaces there. She hopes to see that continue to grow.

“Our vision for the space is to be a very full and thriving community space where a diverse range of businesses and retail can fill the spaces and have an organic community within themselves,” she said.