Monday, May 4, 2009

Highland Mall Austin Texas

Welcome to Highland Mall

The photo below is an example of a recently closed store. For some reason the mall has covered up the front of the store but the logo is still visible. There are several stores that have closed and the mall only put up a partial covering instead of fully covering up the store. It looks like the mall has given up on boarding up closed stores since only a handful of closed stores have been covered up.

A mall of recent controversy; this is Highland Mall. I do not have any information on this mall's history so maybe my readers can help me out. My family and I have visited this mall a few times since 2003, and this mall has rapidly emptied out recently. In 2003 the mall was nearly full and had several new or renovated stores. In the past year the mall has lost many tenants and Dillard's is closing their larger store. JCPenney closed in 2006 and Macy's and the smaller Dillard's will be the only anchor by the end of 2009. This mall still has a nearly full food court with a great selection. We visited this mall this past Sunday and the mall was very slow. The former JCPenney wing is nearly deserted once you pass the food court on the second story. The first floor of the former JCPenney wing is still surprisingly 50% full and has a train for the kids. The Dillard's south wing is about 50% occupied. The Macy's wing has only a handful of vacancies and had the most people shopping today as well. There are several water stained ceilings in the stores and mall corridors.

Old school ceiling

Images of the two Dillard's; the first photo is the one that is closing.

Inside of the mall

The food court


Former JCPenney

Dillard's West (Men's)will be transformed into an outlet store for men and women.

Dillard's South (Women's)soon to be closed.


  1. Hi, I'm a native Houstonian who went to UT and this was my mall when I was a student. In my mind I always compared this mall to Houston's Sharpstown and now it looks like it might be travelling down the same road. A few years ago I stopped by Highland to kill some time during a business trip and I didn't notice any activity that made me feel unsafe though they did have some store closures. It's a very bright and shiny mall. It would be a real shame if this mall were allowed to fade away due to crime, whether real or percieved. It's located so close to UT that the students should be an automatic customer base, we were in my day. I hope they can turn it around. - Kristin

  2. Austin is so small. With a high end mall like Barton Creek, and the Domain only miles away it's hard to be competitive. It's not that this area is bad it's just that it's not as nice as the Barton Creek or Domain mall, therefore, people will travel a few extra miles to have a better selection.
    There are several car break ins in this area. This mall is also a high theft mall due to a large younger gatherings. It's hard for stores to stay in business if you aren't making sales and have a high shrink.

    It's really sad. As a USGBC green builder, It's hard to imagine what will take the place of this building given the economic time we are facing.

    It almost seems that a developer/ the City of Austin should be proactive in giving in to the urban shopping/ living way. It could save this area from becoming worse off... or a Sharpstown/ Greenspoint/ Almeda mall of houston.

  3. I can give you a brief history on Highland- Originally 84 stores, with Joske's,Scarbrough's (local retailer)and JCPenney. Joske's was bought out by Dillard's in '87 and Scarbrough's by Dillard's in '92. Also had a Luby's cafeteria until early '90's. Highland wanted to raise their rent, so they moved out into a standalone location. Expanded with an east wing anchored by the first Foley's outside Houston to a total 165 stores in '79. Converted to Macy's in '06. Hope this helps.

  4. Chasrich, I am a student at St. Ed's doing a project on re purposing malls and big box stores. Is there any sort of reference you could point me too. An interview would be great as well. Thanks.

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