LAPORTE | The owners of a former shopping mall hope a $7 million investment will become a regional attraction for fans of music and other high quality entertainment.
Tely's recently opened at the former Maple Lane Mall, now called LaPorte Town Square, along Ind. 2 on the city's west side.
Owner Jim Nagle, a Chicago native, described Tely's as an upscale restaurant, sports bar and music venue.
For major events, the traditional cozy surroundings can be opened up to provide 950 seats in 15,000 square feet of space.
“It's a combination of the House of Blues in Chicago and an upscale sports bar,” said Nagle.
Nagle said LaPorte Town Square started to become a regional destination last year when regional sporting goods chain store Dunham Sports occupied some of the space at the old mall.
The momentum continued last month with the opening of Tely's, which in the coming weeks will feature events such as Battle of the Country Bands every Tuesday night, along with reputable blues players from Chicago and other parts of the nation.
Nagle said people from outside the city are beginning to come to LaPorte Town Square when for many years local consumers were taking their money to venues in Michigan City, Valparaiso, Hobart and Mishawaka.
“It was always the other way around. Now, for the first time, we saw it coming here to LaPorte and we wanted to build on that trend,” Nagle said.
Tely's also features 30 big-screen TVs, along with four levels, a professional stage and VIP rooms.
There is also more than 100 feet of bar space made of wood and stone.
“We have big promoters from Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville that are booking acts there already,” Nagle said.
Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bert Cook said money flowing out of the city due to a lack of choices locally, especially in the retail area, is an issue that the redeveloped mall seems to address.
“Projects like these start to reverse that trend a little bit,” Cook said.
He said the impact from Tely's might be larger because the offerings might be something many of the neighboring communities don't have, “so you're going to bring people in to spend their money.”
“It's a huge deal when you look at quality of life,” Cook said.
Nagle bought the old mall eight years ago but the economic downturn prevented him from redeveloping its quarter-million square feet of space.
“In this economy I am very blessed to have this opportunity to do this kind of work,” said Nagle, an attorney for 20 years before getting involved in real estate.