Remembering Melvin Simon

Melvin and Bren Simon
Melvin and Bren Simon

Melvin Simon was a well-respected and accomplished businessman and a pillar of the Indianapolis community. He died Sept. 16, 2009, at the age of 82. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Melvin Simon was co-chairman of Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., a member of the S&P 500 and the largest U.S. publicly traded real estate company. Simon Property Group is engaged primarily in the ownership, development and management of retail real estate, primarily regional malls, Premium Outlet Centers® and community/lifestyle centers. It currently owns or has an interest in approximately 285 properties in the United States; more than 50 properties in Europe; five Premium Outlet centers in Japan; and one Premium Outlet center in Mexico.

In addition to his duties at Simon Property Group, Mr. Simon served as co-chairman of the board of Melvin Simon & Associates Inc., which, until the formation of Simon Property Group in 1993, was the nation’s second-largest developer and manager of shopping centers.

Mr. Simon attended the Bronx High School of Science and the City College of New York where he earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting and a master of business administration with emphasis on real estate. He came to Indiana while serving in the U.S. Army when a transfer brought him to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis.

Following his discharge from the Army and prior to creating Melvin Simon & Associates in 1960 with brothers Herbert and Fred, Mr. Simon worked as a leasing representative with the Albert Frankel Company, an Indianapolis developer of strip shopping centers.

Mr. Simon’s diversified business interests beyond real estate included co-ownership with his brother Herbert of the Indiana Pacers.

Mr. Simon supported numerous charitable, political and civic organizations. He had also earned many distinctions, including Jewish Welfare Federation’s “Man of the Year,” The Horatio Alger Award and a seat in the Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame. In 2003, he was named a “Lifetime Trustee” of the Urban Land Institute and was a former trustee of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Mr. Simon earned honorary doctorate degrees from Indiana University Kelley School of Business and Butler University and was a member of the Real Estate Legends Hall of Fame housed at the USC School of Urban Planning and Development.