A blog that focuses on Louisiana and Texas retail and commercial developments.
I recently went to the Mall of the Mainland a few weeks before Ike, and it was in bad shape. It's worse now (Dillard's is gone)http://twowayroads.blogspot.com/2008/08/mall-of-mainland.html
A month after Ike Someone came in and filled every thing but Dillards just before Christmas. Even that space was under renovation. Now, only 49% of the mall is occupied. On June 1st there were 48 of a possible 91 tenant locations and booths occupied. Down from the 90% at Christmas just after Ike. That's twelve less tenants than when the mall was bought by the former owner. Who ever they had at Christmas managed to do what has'nt done in 10 years.
Well it seems like all of you go there when it is not busy,. They have over 70 stores, not including Sears, Macy’s, Lane Bryant, etc… and a few more just opened last few weeks. Fema just brought in 555 employees. Shishkabab is the best Mediterranean restaurant in South of Houston, try it if you like food with real taste. Go there on a Friday and Saturday there is not enough parking. Anyway if you want to shop this is the best shopping center in Galveston.
I went out "THERE" on Saturday, and there was rain water everywhere. Several people fell and the few shops that were open were cleaning up the flood. The formal dress store lady said it has always been like that. The food was mall food, and the meat on a stick place told my sister the mall owned their place, as did the other "NEW" store mentioned. The taxpayer funded entity at the closed down Dillards end listed in public domain the lease expiration date as the end of the month. The workers outside said they were all from Dallas and expect to return there at some point. That has 555 employees "JUST" moving out! Those that want the truth need no more than to ask those with water in their store, sick employees from mildew, or nausious odors, and community contributors in private.
(To anonymous)I was there Saturday night and I posted an update today with pictures from my trip there. It was about to rain badly as we were leaving around 8:30pm, so we did not see any flooding inside. There were several areas with buckets, wet floor signs, and caution tape blocking walk ways inside of the mall.
I'm not sure how I ran across this blog, but I felt compelled to share this story...My family had a retail store at Mall of the Mainland from 1999 through 2001. I have to be honest and say that we did pretty well during those years, but we happened to be selling pro-wrestling merchandise - which was a hot item at the time. To make a long story short, the mall - for whatever reason - decided not to renew our lease. In part, I think it was because they felt we didn't give them an accurate percentage of sales during the Christmas holidays, which you are (or at least were at the time) contractually obligated to do if sales were above a certain mark. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise. I still reside near the mall and am looking for it to close any day now. Dickinson and Webster and the booming spots in this general area now. The Texas City economy has not bounced back like expected after hurricanes and layoffs from the local industries. It's sad that the mall is in this shape, but it's mostly due to poor management and design.
(To anonymous) Excellent story and I am glad you shared it with us. We rarely hear from owners/ employees of the malls that I cover and I encourage everyone to comment.
It isn't really a surprise that this mall is struggling, due to its location (If you are heading from Galveston up to Houston on the interstate, it is not visible until you have already passed up the exit ramp, and the next exit is several miles to the north). I really think Edward DeBartolo (the man who developed this mall) was a somewhat incompetent mall developer, as many of his malls ended up failing. If you look at other posts Sky City and Labelscar, you will notice this. Randall Park Mall, Regency Mall, and Pinellas Square Mall/Parkside mall just to name a few.
In case anyone has ever wanted to own their own mall, it seems that the Mall of the Mainland can be yours for the low, low price of $8,860,000. Also, it seems that the Mall of the Mainland website no longer exists. I don't know for how long the website has been gone. Either the domain has been parked at GoDaddy or whoever owned the domain let it expire and GoDaddy picked up the rights to it. I'm not sure exactly. I do agree with Anonymous above about DeBartolo being somewhat incompetent as a mall builder. Not all the malls he built were duds, but many of them were duds and some of them were spectacular duds. It's probably more than fair to say that the Mall of the Mainland belongs in the spectacular dud category unless something spectacular happens to it in the future.
The website was taken down sometime between last summer and the end of 2012. Whenever Boxer was taken off the mall project was when the website was shut down. Is the mall still for sale, the listing was recently modified to say "off market" on the loopnet page. The bar and grill restaurant was recently reopened under a new name, and it looks like the T-body and monogram store has been replaced by a new clothing store. I am not sure if these new openings will help, but the mall is still continuing on as a retail center for now.
The page listing the $8,860,000 price on LoopNet that I linked above was posted only 24 days ago so I assume that it is still for sale at that price. Perhaps someone was planning on buying it earlier and the deal fell through. It's hard to say.That's interesting that the Mall of the Mainland website has been offline for so long. It's good to hear that there is still some business going on at the mall, but it is still in a very difficult spot. Stuff like not having a website does not help. I remember hearing quite a few Mall of the Mainland commercials on the radio 2-3 years ago, but I don't know if they still air those. The stations that I heard those on (106.9 and 103.7 FM) changed formats and I don't listen to them anymore. As an aside, Houston radio really stinks. It was terrible a few years ago and it is even worse now. Anyway, those stations probably weren't real popular a couple of years ago if they changed formats so maybe airtime on those stations was cheap enough for Mall of the Mainland to afford the ads.
Ok, I did not check out the site recently the mall was taken off market around the beginning of the year so a deal must have fallen through. The property is listed as distressed on the main info near the top of the listing. Yes I agree about Houston radio, during peak hours most stations play very little music and flood the air with talk and commercials. And what is the deal with 106.9 and 107.5 being the same station. Why can't they put together something that Houston does not have for that station instead of doubling up that station.
It is said on Wikipedia that the Mall of the Mainland was on sale for $15.4 million in September 2012. Obviously, it's selling for close to half that amount today. Will the price continue to fall if there aren't any buyers? I guess we'll have to see. Perhaps the owners are willing to fire sale the place, but perhaps that goes without saying given that the property is distressed. Yes, 106.9 FM is now a simulcast of 107.5 FM, The Eagle Classic Rock. 107.5 is transmitted out of Lake Jackson or something like that, so the signal may have been weak on the North side. 106.9 is out of Conroe or Splendora or someplace like that so it covers the North side. It's a shame that two stations are being used up to cover one lousy station, but it is what it is. I liked 106.9 FM back when it played 1980s music as The Point. It was nice because they played music without the dumb morning talkshows and all that nonsense. They also didn't run a lot of ads, but perhaps that is why it changed formats. It briefly changed formats into a classic alternative station, but that didn't last long before it was converted into a 107.5 simulcast. There are very few stations in Houston that play decent music (IMO) and those that do have tons of commercials and silly/ridiculous talkshows during the peak hours. Perhaps those are the commercially viable stations so I guess the talkshows work, but they don't work for me.
The sad part of the Mall of the Mainland is the amount of retail nearby that has been successful. While the mall and the retail center next door have suffered, the retail across I-45 and further North has expanded. JCPenney even reopened a store just a few miles north on I-45 in a new development. Over half of the mall was sealed off to the public in the beginning of the year, so it is hard to say what is going to happen to the property. The Sears and nearly every other store in the mall closes at 8pm except on Friday and Saturday now. Radio is very frustrating, I stay away as much as possible. When I try to listen, I go all the way around the dial and attempt to find some music, but there are so many commercials I just switch on my mp3 player. I can also see traffic on a Houston Transtar app so I don't have to wait for a traffic report on the radio anymore. There is a huge gap in rock stations as you mentioned. 93.7 and the 2 Eagle stations play mostly 1970's and early 1980's rock. 94.5 plays mostly 1990's grunge and alternative and newer music. The Point filled the gap and even the short lived 103.7 Adult Alternative from a few years ago filled that gap after the Point abruptly shut down. If you live in the Southeast side 89.7 (Alvin) is a really good college station that plays everything rock from the 1960's to modern post 2000's rock, but the Northside does not get their signal. I also have an app on my phone called Tune-In Radio that gets radio stations from all over the USA. It does not have any Clear Channel stations from I-Heart radio, but it has several good independent radio stations from all over.
There is some successful retail in that part of I-45, but I think the successful stores draw crowds from League City and Clear Lake/Friendswood. I don't think Mall of the Mainland has ever been really successful in doing that. Obviously Baybrook is more convenient for many of those people and has always been a more successful mall. Perhaps Mall of the Mainland can be viewed as being a Galvez Mall Part II, but even the Galvez Mall was turned into a successful (I assume) shopping center with Home Depot and Target. I'm not even sure if the Mall of the Mainland could be converted into a power center given the power centers that already exist near the bigger/more wealthy population centers. We'll see though. A new owner could solve a lot of problems, but the mall owners who usually do good turnarounds have not seemed to be interested in the Mall of the Mainland so who knows. 89.7 FM seems like it might be pretty good, but yeah, I highly doubt I'll be able to pick it up around here. I usually listen to Sunny 99.1 FM these days. It's not that I'm a big Sunny fan (especially the absolutely terrible Delilah evening show), but what else is there? I've been meaning to dump some of my digital music collection to CDs or to a MP3 player so I can play them in my car, but I've never gotten around to doing it. My current car does not have a cassette deck, but I could play a Walkman through the line-in jack. That would be an interesting option, but I'd like to get an auto-reverse Walkman so I don't have to flip the tape while driving. I don't know if you're familiar with HD Radio, but stations are capable of playing subchannels using HD Radio (like with DTV subchannels) so maybe there is some good music on some of those subchannels. I'm not really sure what there is as I've never had an HD Radio tuner. HD Radio has been on the market for a few years now and it really hasn't taken off, but some car manufacturers do offer stereos with HD Radio capability in some of their cars. Toyota and Mitsubishi come to mind, but I'm sure that there are others. It's a shame about the sorry state of Houston radio as some areas do have good radio stations. I know of someone who does mainly vintage stereo reviews on YouTube in the NYC area and I'm always jealous of the kinds of music he is able to pull in on both AM and FM when he is doing product demonstrations. Even the Rust Belt had far better radio options than what we have when I traveled there a couple years back.
There are not many options for the Mall of the Mainland to gain a major retail following as a big box center. Once the area a few miles north started gaining the major retailers it pretty much sealed the fate of the mall area. Restaurants seem to do well there and parking lots always have several cars on my visits to the area. The cinema also seems to do good business, but many people probably don't go into the mall if they are watching a movie. I wonder if the mall was built on the opposite side of I-45 where the Walmart and Sam's Club are now if things would have been different. From what I understand about the Galvez Mall they lost both anchors at around the same time effectively killing off the mall. I remember driving by that mall in the mid 1990's and they had a sign advertising that GNC and another store were still open. At that time I thought it was strange to see a mall with only two stores open, but now it is much more common. I have not tried HD radio, they talk about it on 94.5 sometimes. I am sure it will eventually take over when it becomes mandatory like with analog TV. I can listen to most stations here as long as they have music on. The sad part is, the commercials and repeated songs is ridiculous. When you change from 93.7 to 106.9 or any 2 similar stations and the same song is on sometimes it can be a little much especially if you dislike the song. The only station that I can tolerate talk radio is 97.5 ESPN during football season. I have tried to listen to the talk shows, but I just can't get into the peppy early morning shows or the monotonous voices in the evening. The radio is the worst between 6-9 am and again from 5-6 pm, good luck finding music during these hours unless you have satellite radio.
I think it is fair to say that the Mall of the Mainland does not have an ideal location. The mall does not have great visibility on I-45. There are signs indicating where it is, but perhaps people driving by don't really anticipate the mall being as big as it is as it really isn't visible. Perhaps it would have been better if it was located where the Wal-Mart is now, but it probably would not have been ideal to put it too close to the dog track. There are probably some shoppers who do not want to shop close to a gambling establishment. There are certainly a lot of people who work in the Texas City oil industry, but I don't know how much the Mall of the Mainland can benefit from that. Are the people who work in the refineries the kind who would support a mall on their way home? Perhaps not. Maybe it is a favorable demographic for Sears, but perhaps not for Macy's and most of the other typical mall retailers. Even if those people want to shop at those type of stores, will they/did they shop at Mall of the Mainland versus Baybrook Mall, San Jacinto Mall, or other options that may be closer to the neighborhoods that they live in? I've heard horror stories about the congestion at Baybrook Mall, but yet it seems that people picked being where the congested crowd were at rather than trying a much less congested alternative that really didn't provide much less of a shopping experience like Mall of the Mainland (or San Jacinto Mall) back when it had it's anchors. I guess that's the way it is. Vacancy seems to give malls that "dead mall" stigma that drives people even further away from otherwise decent malls. That's a big problem for the Mall of the Mainland given that it was basically born with vacancies that have only gotten worse with time. Maybe the Mall of the Mainland should not have been built at all (or at least not where it was and when it was), but it probably should not have been built to be as big as it was even otherwise. Some major mistakes were made in planning that mall, but that should not be a surprise for a DeBartolo mall. There are some good images of Galvez Mall on this HAIF thread. I don't think that HD radio will replace analog radio any time soon. Unlike analog TV, the analog radio spectrum can't really be sold/used for other use. Also, it may be difficult to make digital converters for some cars and other applications. The DTV switchover really only affected those without cable/satellite, but a digital radio switchover would impact pretty much every radio listener. Also, unlike with digital HDTV, there really isn't high consumer demand for higher quality radio. Although there are a lot of Houston sports radio stations these days, all of them are quite bad IMO. Some may be worse than others, but it's all pretty bad. I'm a New York Giants fan so I listen to WFAN, the main NYC sports radio station, podcasts quite often and they are soooo much better than any Houston sports show. WFAN's morning show is quite bad too since they have a shock jock host, but otherwise it is quite good compared to Houston stations. It seems like Houston sports radio shows either play national shows with clueless hosts and guests who know little about what is going on or local hosts who keep telling jokes that would only appeal to ~15 year old boys. Anyway, I think it is best to listen to sports radio through podcasts instead of listening to the whole shows so that way you can listen to good guests and skip all the nonsense that goes on to fill the gaps.
Mall of the Mainland was planned in the Mid-1980's but the oil bust killed the plans for a while. In the early 1990's when the economy picked up it was a race to open a new mall in the Houston area with Mall of the Mainland opening in 1991, but it was not fully leased and did not have all the anchors they anticipated having there. The Foley's opened 2 years after the mall did. Another issue with the Mall of the Mainland is that it opened with several areas of the mall without stores. Huge chunks of the Sears and Dillard's corridors of the mall never had stores. The area has enough population between Galveston, Texas City, and Dickinson to support the mall but it never happened. The refineries pay very good money to their workers, but there were layoffs from time to time which did not help the stability of the economy of the area. The mall also had several store burglaries that were reported in the newspaper in the early to mid 2000's so this did not help the mall to attract new stores. Had a redevelopment plan started in the early 2000's with an influx of new stores and a redesign of the mall I think this mall could have been successful. The San Jacinto Mall has never had a major renovation and is a great time capsule of the 1980's but shoppers want the newest and nicest places to shop. The fact that two of the anchors seen from I-10 are closed and the mall has a whole abandoned section in the back with another closed anchor does not help the mall either. Those photos of the Galvez Mall were interesting it looks like the last one in the set has a part of a Woolco sign in the far left of the picture.I agree with you about the sports radio stations, that is why I only listen during football season. I can't stomach too much of the annoying talk so I tune it to catch scores or Mike and Mike.
Yes, I think it is fair to say that the Mall of the Mainland was born a "dead mall" with all the empty space. It had that stigma since it was new. It is very difficult for a mall to shake that reputation especially when the nearby competition is staying strong or getting stronger as is the case with Baybrook Mall. It would have been better if the mall was right sized from the beginning, but it wasn't. Oh well I guess.Speaking of Baybrook, I came across this news article yesterday. Yes, I do believe that there was a Woolco at Galvez Mall that became the Eiband's. Someone on that HAIF thread mentioned the Woolco as well so that must be accurate. Of course, Mall of the Mainland and Galvez Mall aren't the only failed/failing malls targeting the Galveston community. There was also the earlier Port Holiday Mall that is seemingly now a part of UTMB Galveston according to the HAIF board. The same guy who posted the pictures of the Trans-Ams at Galvez Mall has Port Holiday Mall pictures as well. Here seems to be the first one and you can keep pressing the next arrow on that link until photo 78 which seems to be the last Port Holiday Mall photo.
I never heard of the Port Holiday Mall thanks for getting me up to speed on that place. I know where that building is located from the photos. I may have to check it out one day and see what I can find out about the place from the Chron archives. The Galvez Mall is a project I started a while ago, but I was unable to find any good photos online. I am not so sure a to-go bar in the middle of a mall is a good idea. I can see people getting tanked and stumbling around the mall spilling wine glasses and beer bottles on the ground and on people. I am sure the mall management sees it as a way to keep people in the mall longer, but what happens when someone gets hurt or worse? There are several more reasons why I am against this idea in a mall, but I will not go into them.
There really isn't a ton of information out there on the Galvez Mall and there's even less out there about Port Holiday Mall. Perhaps there is some stuff in the Houston Chronicle archives, but you might have better luck searching the Galveston Daily News archives if you can. I'm not even sure if they have accessible archives without looking at microfilm. The Google Maps aerial image of the Port Holiday Mall building shows there being a lot of construction equipment around the building. I don't know if they recently remodeled the building or what the situation is. Hopefully they have not done anything major to the building and perhaps it is accessible, but I don't know. The photos of inside the mall are quite interesting, but seeing all those Trans Ams makes me think about Poncherello's Trans Am from the TV show CHiPs. Talk about 1970s!I did a bit of a double take when I read that Baybrook Mall article. I would expect something like that happening at a dying mall like Mall of the Mainland, but I would not expect a successful mall to green light a bar. Then again, lots of successful malls have restaurants that serve alcohol. Still, it does seem a bit odd and out of place. I agree with you that this could be inviting trouble to the mall. Mall parking lots are often chaotic even without boozed up shoppers, but this could add a whole new level to the chaos. Of course, a lot of malls also have bars and restaurants near them so maybe the trouble potential has always been there. Drunks causing trouble inside the mall would be a potential problem as well. I do wonder if malls are a bit desperate to attract stereotypical male shoppers and non-fashion oriented women. Malls just don't have that "something for everyone" type quality to them anymore. Baybrook does have a Sears, which helps, but perhaps they need more than that to attract males and/or to get males who get dragged to the mall to spend some of their money at the mall while they wait things out. But, yeah, I can see things not ending well when some drunk guy finds out that his wife spent a lot of money on handbags or something!
I am going to look into an older Galveston video I have to see if the Galvez Mall is in it. The video is around the mid 1990's so I may have it in passing. It is a possibility because I can remember the sign. I would also like to get photos of the site today to show how small the mall was. There is a Target and Home Depot with a small shopping center between the two that seems crowded on the lot. The main issue I have with the bar at Baybrook is that once people leave the place they have no control over what happens to the drinks. People can easily pass off the drinks to minors, and people can easily get drunk without anyone such as a manager having control over the situation as at a regular bar or restaurant. It just seems like a huge liability and so much can go wrong with this idea.
That would be great if you have some Galvez Mall photos that you can capture from that video if you have any because there simply isn't a lot of information about Galvez Mall on the Internet aside from a few news articles. There's even less information about Port Holiday Mall. It's not like either of those malls were anything special, but it's still a bit surprising to see two malls with so little information written about them. It seems like even the locals who lived in the Galveston area when these malls existed don't know a ton about them either. Perhaps that helps to explain why none of these malls, including the Mall of the Mainland, have had much success. FYI, the previously mentioned LoopNet posting for the Mall of the Mainland was updated again yesterday to indicate that it is still for sale, but the selling price is the same $8,860,000. That's a good point about not having a bartender to observe the patrons. It just seems like something that a dying mall might try instead of a successful mall, but I guess we'll see how things turn out.
I am not sure exactly the cause of why so many malls failed in Galveston county. I am sure the overlap with Port Holiday Mall with the Galvez Mall. Then the overlap with Galvez Mall and Mall of the Mainland. Now the Mall of the Mainland with the Outlet Mall. I also did not mention the LaMarque outlet mall which did not do well as a retail center, but has stayed full with other services taking up space. Investors seem to keep putting large retail centers there without figuring out why the older centers failed and then the property fails a few years later. I could see the Mall of the Mainland going for 5 million or less when the property is sold. There is the potential by 2015 when all leases are up that the center will clear out completely except for Sears making the mall a complete redevelopment project.
Yes, there has been overlap/cannibalization issues with a lot of these malls. Galvez Mall cannibalized Port Holiday Mall, Mall of the Mainland cannibalized Galvez Mall, and perhaps you could say that Baybrook Mall cannibalized Mall of the Mainland even though it existed before the Mall of the Mainland was built. Of course, cannibalization of mall markets has happened before where there is at least one successful mall (for a while at least), but that really hasn't happened with the Galveston area malls. Maybe there is something with the mindset or demographics about the people living in that area that isn't really conducive to mall success. Perhaps the people there are used to and perhaps even enjoy going to Houston to shop instead of doing it locally. Those areas aren't the most wealthy areas, but perhaps there are cultural factors that would restrict mall success even amongst those who do have money. Perhaps things like fashion just aren't popular in that area. It's hard to say and I'm sure there are multiple factors involved. Perhaps it is just the case that none of these malls have had competent mall operators. Sometimes that makes all the difference in the world, but then you have to wonder why competent mall operators have not tried their hand in that market. Again, it's hard to say. I wonder how the Tanger outlet mall there is doing. I believe that Tanger is a credible operator and that may help, but outlet malls and regular malls are kind of different deals so it's hard to compare the success of one to the other especially when you compare an outdoor mall to an indoor mall. You might be right about the redevelopment of the Mall of the Mainland. Perhaps it could turn into a Westwood Mall type deal, but it might be a harder draw to get businesses to locate in Texas City outside of oil/chemical companies. I don't know the history of the situation, but I believe that BP has some offices operating out of the Kroger shopping center in Texas City across from the old Kmart that is still relatively untouched. I don't know if that was built as offices or if it was a retail conversion. Perhaps there could be another retail-to-business conversion with the Mall of the Mainland. Of course, I don't know if there are developers jumping to do that given that the property is seemingly slow to sell even at a fairly discounted price already. Hopefully the Sears will remain regardless of what happens as I think Sears is a good retail fit for that community (especially compared to Dillard's and stuff like that), but the Baybrook store isn't too far away so it would not be highly unfortunate if it did close. Of course, we could have said the same thing about the Greenspoint Mall Sears with the N. Shepherd and The Woodlands Mall stores being relatively close, but now that area is down to one Sears. You never know if Sears might get an opportunity to cash out on that Baybrook location. Speaking of Sears, I noticed that the Seritage website has the Pasadena Town Square location listed on their mutli-tenant pad portfolio page. The N. Shepherd and Westwood mall Sears Auto Centers were already on there, but now they have Pasadena Town Square on there as well. They don't have a brochure up with the details on the Pasadena Town Square location so I don't know if this is another proposed redevelopment of the freestanding Sears Auto Center or what. We'll have to keep an eye on that.
I think the Tanger mall is doing well, but the stores there seem very small compared to what you see at the similar Northwest outlet mall. It is a nice place, but outdoors and in the hot, muggy south Texas weather. I think the offices are actually in either an old Albertsons or a Kmart location. I think the Kmart moved across the street but I may be wrong. I can see a similar Woodlands Mall type of deal at Baybrook if Nordstrom is interested in going there. I am just really not a fan of Baybrook Mall, to me it has never interested me and the selection of items that I would buy is terrible. I am not sure what is going on at Pasadena Town Square, the mall seemed to be gaining stores about five years ago but now there are many more vacancies. The mall lost their Anna's Linens to the shopping center across the street and they were the last mall in the area to have a F.Y.E. music store.
The old mansard slice type facade Kmart in Texas City across from the BP office shopping center is still relatively untouched. Perhaps Kmart opened a new store across the street in what is now the BP offices, but I really don't know. Baybrook Mall is a bit of an interesting mall. It has a sort of odd circular format instead of the linear format that most Houston malls have. I have not been there since 2005 even though I spent quite a bit of time in Clear Lake in 2009. I never had the time to visit the mall, but I did go to the Super Target across the street once or twice and I think I went to the Burger King in the mall parking lot a few times. Actually, I read today that there are plans to put in a Fresh Market across from Baybrook. About the only mall store that I really care about these days is Sears and Baybrook Mall has one of those for now at least (it had a Montgomery Ward as well back in the day). It would have been nice if it still had a RadioShack, but Willowbrook Mall isn't really any different in that regard. There isn't really anything spectacular about Baybrook Mall that would explain why potential Mall of the Mainland, San Jacinto Mall, and Pasadena Town Square shoppers chose Baybrook instead when all of these malls had all their anchors, but perhaps it ultimately boils down to Baybrook Mall being surrounded by relatively affluent neighborhoods while the others (as well as Almeda and Gulfgate Malls I suppose) being in more working class areas. Also, it's not a stretch to think that Homart and now GGP were/are more competent mall operators.
The Kmart did indeed move across the street. The address for the location that was 3401 Palmer Hwy where BP is located. The old Kmart across the street still looks like an old Kmart but the building was in use at one point so it probably does not have much left on the inside of the former Kmart. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2003-01-14-kmart-closings-list_x.htmhttp://www.loopnet.com/Property-Record/3401-Palmer-Highway-Texas-City-TX-77590/Ovz1l5k1A/I am sure that the wealth of the area is the main reason why Baybrook Mall and the surrounding area succeeds while others have struggled. There is another good store at Baybrook called Fanzz, they sell all kinds of sports clothing similar to the Lids Locker Room store at Willowbrook.
That's some interesting information about the Texas City Kmarts. I think this is the first time that I have heard about two closed Kmarts being across the street/next to each other. I'm sure there are other examples of this across the country, but I can't really think of any off the top of my head. Of course, there were Knart owned subsidiaries that closed near each other. The Designer Depot and Kmart on FM 1960 and 249 are examples of this, but those stores operated with a large gap in between them. That intersection also had a closed Builders Square II, but that's a bit of a different story I guess. I wonder if the BP Kmart started out as something different before it was Kmart. Maybe it was a Venture, but I don't know. I couldn't really find much on the topic. Turning that old Kmart into a BP office is a pretty interesting reuse situation. Retail-to-office conversions certainly aren't something new. We know about Westwood Mall and I believe there are plans (or perhaps it's already been done) to convert the old Memorial City Mall area The Great Indoors into offices. There's an old Wal-Mart on 249 near Spring-Cypress that was converted into offices, but I don't believe that the company/companies operating out of that are anywhere near as big as BP. It's also a bit strange seeing a busy office operate out of an otherwise fairly busy retail shopping center.I'm not sure if the Mall of the Mainland has any Westwood Mall type business reuse type potential given that Texas City isn't really a big commercial hub outside of petrochemical companies perhaps (though there are certainly a lot of those in the Houston area), but I guess it is true that retail-to-office conversions have been successful in Texas City. Of course, I guess if anyone could pull that off in Texas City, it would be BP. I suppose one thing that Baybrook Mall has that many other malls on the Southeast/East side don't have is complimentary retail. Obviously there used to be the Deauville Fashion Mall near Baybrook, but there are other relatively unique stores in the area like Fry's. Malls like San Jacinto Mall and Mall of the Mainland have retail around them, but things like Wal-Mart and Sam's Club aren't really going to make those malls into shopping destinations since they are so common in just about every area. Of course, there is a bit of a chicken and egg situation about the relationship between Baybrook Mall and the complimentary retail. Did Baybrook Mall create a "retail magnet" type situation in the area or would all those other stores that are in the area have stores in the Baybrook area if the mall was never built? It's hard to say and there's probably a combination of factors. Perhaps Texas City would have had a lot of relatively unique complimentary retail had the Mall of the Mainland been successful, but we can only guess about that.Galveston and Clear Lake are both pretty big tourist destinations and tourists do like to shop, but convincing tourists (especially those who are escorted by Houstonians who are familiar with the reputation of the Mall of the Mainland and Texas City) to stop in between the two locations to shop at the Mall of the Mainland might be a tough sell given the strength of Baybrook Mall. The Tanger outlet is a totally different situation since there really isn't much outlet competition in that part of town and it seems like visitors do love outlet shopping. Perhaps the Mall of the Mainland can benefit from the outlet mall attracting people to stop and shop in between Clear Lake and Galveston, but I don't think the Mall of the Mainland is in any position to do that at the moment. They barely have any stores and they don't even have a website. It's a pretty sad situation.
I came across some information about various Texas City retail items that were discussed here earlier in this post. Also, I was able to visit some Texas City retail including the Mall of the Mainland a little while back. I think you said that you were planning on doing a new post about the Mall of the Mainland so hopefully this information will help you out with that.Even though I knew to expect it, I still had to try hard to not bust up laughing in the middle of the mall (not that anyone would have heard me) when I saw the famed postcard from Gloria to Nikki on the wall! That, combined with the fake storefront paintings, makes it truly one of the most bizarre dying malls out there. It's been a little while since I went so I can't remember all that was in there, but there really isn't much left in there at all. I think there were a couple of food places in the food court, but I'm not sure about that because I didn't actually see any employees manning the stores and there weren't any eaters. Some of the ceiling paint is water damaged and there was one bucket catching leaks I guess, but the bucket problem was nowhere near as bad as what is at Greenspoint Mall. Of course, it wasn't raining when I went so that might have helped. It was very warm in the mall though so they may be cutting back on the A/C usage.The Sears wasn't super busy either, but there were probably at least five times more shoppers in the Sears than were in the rest of the mall (not counting the other anchors). It's a pretty nice Sears. It isn't very big, but it is in pretty good shape. It was pretty spacious for what it is and at least they had the A/C going in there. One thing that I will say is that the ex-Macy's building sticks out like a sore thumb when seeing the mall from 1764. I don't know if there is anything the mall can do about that, but it really does reinforce the idea that the mall is "dead" even if people didn't know any better. I did go to both the ex-Kmart shopping centers. The BP office is now a Marathon Oil office, but I guess that should not be surprising given that Marathon brought out the refinery earlier this year. The more interesting story was on the other side of the road. There is now a big Goodwill store in what I can only guess is an ex-Randalls (there is also a small thrift across the street). The more interesting story is the Kmart though. Yeah, we knew that it was quite well preserved with lots of labelscar and all of that. I guess that roller derby store is still in business, but I don't know. The interesting part though is that it still has the vintage Kmart "In" sign! I didn't see an "out" sign so maybe I missed it or someone removed that.I found an interesting article from last year discussing Texas City retail. One of the interesting points is that it seems that HEB owns that Kmart and planned on opening a store there, but I guess they put those plans on hold. I guess if you want to photograph that Kmart, you might want to do it ASAP because it may go away at some point. That article also sheds some light on the Mall of the Mainland situation. Using it for medical may work, but I don't know if the college would be interested since the campus is right down the street and it seems like they have room to expand on their existing campus if they wanted to. I didn't know that they plan on building a large nature park behind the mall, but putting a nature park next to a mall seems a bit odd.
I will reply to the other comments at a later time. I have probably over 100 images from the Mall of the Mainland that I will use for the future mega-article. I have some video from the now closed off section of the mall as well that I will use. I am currently researching store lists, and I will make a trip down to a local library when I can to attempt to attain a grand opening store list. The leases to the theater and Palais Royal only have a couple of years left, so the rest of the stores at the mall will probably leave between now and then unless something happens to change the decline of the mall. I actually posted that Jones Lang Lasalle was representing the lender in selling the bank owned mall before the Galveston article that you linked on your comment came out. I only discovered that information because the website for the mall was taken down and I researched the address of the mall to see what was going on. I did not ever notice the Kmart "In" sign down the road so I will have to check that out when I make it down there next time. There are just not a lot of options for redeveloping the mall as it currently stands. A Westwood Mall type of redevelopment would be the best case scenario for the property. Sears would still remain open, and the rest of the property could be offices and/or more college space. I like the Sears at Mall of the Mainland mostly because it seems that clothing takes up a small percentage of space in comparison to most Houston area stores. They carry a large amount of tools and appliances for the smaller size of the store.
I did not realize that the leases for the theater and Palais Royal at the Mall of the Mainland will be up in a couple of years. I could see the theater wanting to stay as long as they are making money and the mall is willing to give them an appropriately priced lease. I'm sure the theater operators would like to keep a theater presence in the area if they are making money and relocating a theater may not be as cheap or necessary to do as relocating a store or something like that. I don't know what Palais Royal will do though. That's a tougher one to answer because they could just as easily move to another shopping center in the area that is doing better than the mall or something like that. Certainly losing one anchor would be a huge blow for the mall, but losing two would almost certainly be a fatal shot. Then again, Northwest Mall operated as an anchorless mall for a little while so maybe that can happen, but Northwest Mall is like The Galleria compared to the MotM in terms of lease rates. I would guess that losing the Palais Royal would be a bigger blow of the two as losing retail would probably hurt the other retail more than the theater who may make most of their money at times when the rest of the stores are closed anyway. The leasing information signs in the mall indicated that Kennedy Wilson is operating the mall currently, but the leasing signs on the old Foley's had UCR listed. I don't see that site on the UCR website though. I'm not sure who has control over those vacant anchor spots. That article also mentioned Kennedy Wilson as the operator. The LoopNet listing indicates that Indigo Retail Advisors and Cordes & Company have been retained by the owners. I think that it might be difficult to redevelop the Mall of the Mainland into a Westwood Mall business center type deal. It's going to be difficult to attract businesses to Texas City. Even if that did happen, the companies might prefer to build on some of the available vacant land. I just can't see the college having much interest at the time being given that they have their own campus just a little bit away. It's one thing for HCC to do a retail re-do in areas where land is expensive or not available, but I don't know if that issue really exists there. Medical may be the most reasonable option, but that is a really big place to fill for just one thing. Perhaps they could team up with UTMB or something like that to use up all that space. Another option may be to convert some of the anchor space into a disaster shelter and/or data center like what Sears has been proposing at other sites. Then again, I don't know if that site is ideal for a shelter or for a data center given the potential for it to be hit pretty hard by tropical weather. I also observed that the hardware and appliance departments at the MotM Sears were pretty decently sized all things considered. But, yeah, the store felt like it was quite well organized given the size restraints and it felt like there was at least a decent amount of separation between departments instead of feeling like an open discount type store like how some Sears locations feel. Not to give you more homework, but it would be great if you could find more information in the local library about the Marathon ex-Kmart location and why Kmart moved across the street. My hunch is that it was a former Venture, but that's just a hunch. As for the "In" sign at the older ex-Kmart, it's on one of the driveways on 1764 and is quite visible. I'm a bit curious about the garage design of that older mansard slice type Kmart. I've seen other Kmarts that have the garage door on the front of the store, but I don't think that I've ever been in an operating store that had one. Did those stores have some kind of "drive in" garage similar to the Willowbrook Mall attached Sears and ex-Montgomery Ward auto centers?
Part II:I didn't really intend on this reply being a two-parter, but I just found out some more information that may be interesting to some. First, the aforementioned Indigo retail group that is helping Pacific West Bank (who I guess is the mall owner at the moment) with the sale of the Mall of the Mainland announced just today that they are opening an office in west Houston and will be targeting malls, lifestyle centers, and stuff like that. Does that mean anything for the Mall of the Mainland specifically? Maybe not, but it is interesting. Indigo does give some insight into their sales strategy for the Mall of the Mainland if you go down to the Jan. 23, 2013 listing on that Indigo news link. Indigo maintains a blog by the company president that has some insider strategies about effective strategies for leasing space out at malls and retail centers like that. It's interesting to read this stuff from an insider's perspective especially since it seems to have a focus on improving "dying" malls. AFAIK, there really isn't a lot of insider information out there like this.
I am glad they are looking at the mall as a redevelopment project instead of trying to make it work as is for a while. Another idea that I have is to keep Sears and the Cinema on the site and demolish the rest of the property. Once that is complete they can build town homes or apartments along with some shopping and add more restaurants or hotels to the front of the property. I know this is a bland idea, but it might be what winds up happening. As for the Macy's at the Mall of the Mainland, I actually had two sets of photos. I lost one set that I had not uploaded to the blog when my last computer crashed. I lost about two months of photos, but I revisited every place else and retook pictures. Sadly, I could not make it back to the store to retake those pictures, but at least I have the first set. I can use the Chron archive library access to find more information on the Kmart and Venture locations in the Houston area since most older articles on other search engines require a paid subscription (Don't get me started on that topic, lol). The Indigo blog is really interesting, I can see it being a time drainer on my days off.
I think that it is inevitable that they will have to tear down at least a part of the mall unless they can find some alternative use for all that mall space. The mall has always been oversized. Perhaps what they could do is tear down the eastern half of the mall and then either tear down or convert the western mall space between the Sears and the theater into regular shopping center space. I suppose keeping that part of the mall as a mall could be an option if a lot of retail comes to the redeveloped eastern part, but I'm not really sure if that is a realistic thought. There would probably need to be some kind of interior walkway that leads to the theater since it is on the backside of the building if the western mall corridor is removed, but that can be used for restaurants, a food court, or mall type stores if there is interest in that. It won't happen, but it would be nice if Sears moved from their location to the old Foley's store. That would give the mall better visibility as an active shopping center. Of course, that would probably cost Sears more than it's worth to move even if they were given the building for free. It would be great if that Macy's anchor spot was torn down if they can't find some kind of use for it because it is a bit of an eyesore as it is. My preference is for the place to stay as an indoor mall. I'm sure most of your readers feel the same way, but I'm not sure if there are any viable plans that would involve keeping the Mall of the Mainland intact as it is unless the new owner pays so little for the mall that it is just cheaper to keep it operating as is for a while. That probably isn't a viable thought either as just keeping up with the maintenance will probably cost more than what they are making from leasing out space. OTOH, I'm not sure if there can be any "sure fire" redevelopment plans for that place even if the mall is replaced by something else. I don't think Texas City is one of those places, at least not at the moment, where you can just build something trendy and know that the people will come to it. The outlet mall and Buc'ees and stuff like that are a bit of a different story since they appeal to visitors traveling between Galveston and Houston on I-45, but I'm guessing whatever goes where the Mall of the Mainland is now would have to be quite dependent on locals. On a bit of an unrelated Texas City retail note, what do you know about the history of the Texas City Museum? Their website claims that the museum is in an old JC Penney building, but I don't know if that means that it was an old store, warehouse, or what. Perhaps there was an old store there that moved to the Mall of the Mainland given the timeline of when the museum opened, but I don't know about that.
Just a quick update on the sale of the Mall of the Mainland. The LoopNet listing for the mall was updated this week. It's still listed as being on sale for $8,860,000, but now there is a statement indicating that the seller will take a $1 million price reduction and $100,000 broker incentive if a sale is closed by 12/15/2013. It's not a big surprise, but it certainly seems like the owner is pretty desperate to sell the mall. The Mall of the Mainland may be closer to being a lump of coal instead of being a Cabbage Patch Kid or Tickle Me Elmo, but we'll see if the discounted prices will lead to the mall being someone's stocking stuffer this Christmas.
I think it is safe to say that the mall price will have to be reduced further to make the sale happen. The mall property will more than likely sell for less than the land itself is worth because millions more will have to be invested to either demolish or refurbish the building into something else. It has been several months since I stopped by, but I will probably make a trip before the end of the year.
I am not sure if you have access to the Galveston Daily News, but they have a couple of articles about the Mall of the Mainland from the last year that might be of interest. One from about a year ago discusses some rumors about the community college taking over the mall (I'm guessing those rumors were false given that the mall is still for sale) and the other from a couple months back discusses rumors of Cinemark building a new theater near the Tanger Outlets in Texas City and what impact that might have on the Mall of the Mainland theater.
The Galveston Daily News recently made article access to subscribers only, which I do not have. I wonder why they did that since there is not a large population that subscribes to their paper. I read the first article that so far has turned out to be just a rumor. The college was going to expand near their campus and not at the mall property as the rumors stated. I had an idea that the Cinemark was going to jump ship. They have not invested money in a renovation at the mall and their lease is up in a little more than a year. If any new big box centers are planned near the Tanger Center, I can see Palais Royal leaving the mall as well. They have two years left on their lease, but I can see them leaving with the theater. Sears will be there even if the mall closes, but many Sears stores with an exception being Westwood leave not too long after the attached mall fails.
It would be a major blow for the Mall of the Mainland to lose the theater. Then again, it seems almost inevitable that the mall will cease being a mall sometime here in the next few years. We'll have to see what Sears does though. I don't really know what to make of the Cinemark rumors, but I am not surprised that the college rumors are false. The college there isn't that big and they seem to have room to expand on their own campus if they ever need to. It is disappointing that there isn't free access to Galveston Daily News content anymore. Maybe access is available through some sort of library database, but I don't know about that. I guess the newspaper wanted people to keep their subscriptions instead of just browsing the free articles online. Oh well I guess.
Things are not looking good for the mall as it currently stands. I will visit there sometime before the end of the year to see how the Christmas season is going there. It is strange to see a smaller newspaper publication remove free online access and hopefully it will work out for them but people can get free access elsewhere and it may hurt their efforts to gain a profit from online readers.
I was at the Mall of the Mainland again a couple of weeks ago and I noticed that Sears had some fliers printed up that indicated that they were looking to hire seasonal help at that location. Also, the furniture store there (Affordable Furniture?) and one of the kiosks also had Help Wanted signs up. Help Wanted signs at 3 locations within a mall may not seem remarkable, but that is probably about a third of the operating stores at the Mall of the Mainland! Anyway, one could say that those Help Wanted signs are a good sign for the mall, but the mall was a ghost town when I was there (except for the Sears and maybe the Palais Royal) so it's still very difficult to be positive about things. I did see people purchasing stuff at at least 3 different registers at the Sears store though so that was a good sign for the Sears store if nothing else. Hopefully you'll have some good observations about what the Mall of the Mainland is like during the Christmas shopping season. There's a lot of potentially interesting posts to be made about Texas City retail aside from the malls such as the former Texas City Kmarts (including the one that still has the vintage "In" sign up) and perhaps even the old JCPenney that I guess is now a city museum.
I am sure turnover is high for some of those struggling stores at the mall because of the lack of available work hours. Most of those jobs are probably part time work on weekends so the managers of the stores can be off. Sears and Palais Royal do a good amount of business but they both close early which does not help the mall.
The Mall of the Mainland is officially a dead mall. Well, at least it will be on Jan. 31, 2014. It was announced today that the mall will be shut down. Sears, Palais Royal, and the Cinemark will continue to operate. I actually brought a paper copy of the Galveston Daily News today to read about the news. They had some nice interior pictures of the mall, but I guess it's nothing that hasn't been posted here. Anyway, it is sad but not unexpected news to hear that the mall is closing.I suppose that there is some chance that the mall may open again at some point down the road if a new buyer wants to run a mall, but that is highly unlikely and I would not be surprised if the mall starts physically falling apart once it is vacated. The Daily News suggested that the mall could be repurposed into something like a medical center or a distribution center, but those are just ideas and not plans. There was another snippet in another story in the Daily News today discussing previous rumors of a new Texas City Cinemark near the outlet mall. I guess those rumors have yet to be confirmed or denied, but it would not be surprising if the Mall of the Mainland Cinemark closed too. I did go to the Mall of the Mainland today on this "historic" day. It was business as usual I would say. None of the in-line stores or kiosks showed signs of their impending doom, but that will probably come soon enough. I was able to do some Christmas shopping at the Sears though so that was good. The Sears wasn't super busy, but it did have a decent number of paying customers. I actually had to wait in a line to pay so that is a good thing I guess. The Sears will really, really need new roadside signage now to promote the store's continuing existence. That is assuming that Sears will keep the store open, but that could happen since Sears kept their Westwood Mall store open even after the mall closed. Then again, the Westwood location may arguably be a more strategically placed location than the Mall of the Mainland store. Well, hopefully the Sears will stay open.
I just saw the news about the mall. It is not surprising but sad news indeed. The downfall of the mall that began in 2008 was too much for even experienced companies to fix. I guess you could say the problems started long before then, but that is when the mall really took a turn for the worst. I am going to visit again soon for sure hopefully as close to Jan 31 as possible. I will reply to the rest of the comments at a later time.
The building at 3401 Palmer Hwy, which is currently Marathon offices, started out as a Wal-Mart. When Mall of the Mainland opened in West Texas City, Wal-Mart moved out there. Later when the dog park came, Wal-Mart left Texas City altogether and moved across 1-45 to La Marque.The K-Mart across from the Marathon offices was its original Texas City location. When Wal-Mart came in, it couldn't compete but held on. After Wal-Mart left for its new West T.C. location, the building was empty for a while but then Venture came in ... and when Venture soon failed, that's how 3401 became a K-Mart.The Texas City Museum was a JC Penney retail location that closed in the 1980s and was vacant until repurposed into a museum.
Also: 3401 Palmer Hwy was a Woolco store before it became a Wal-Mart!
Thanks for the clarification and history of those properties.
The building to the east of the former Kmart (torn down for an H-E-B) was a former Albertsons, and before that it was a Randalls.
That building still looks very much like a grocery store despite being redeveloped. The entrance to the Goodwill uses the same door from the grocery store.