Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pasadena Town Square and Steve and Barry's Pasadena Texas

Pasadena Town Square Mall has not changed much since my last visit although the FYE is now closed. A few more stores have closed including the Toys R Us Express that was there around last Christmas.



Palais Royal
Former Morrow's Nut House left side; what a name.
Far left; Goody's got it; uh maybe not! Former Sam Goody store and in the front a former Everything's A Dollar.
This was more than likely a Walgreens.
Macy's; this store looks to have been here long before the mall opened. It has the 1960's style Foley's arches and Blue F still on the door handles.

A GNC with a neon logo; I had never noticed this before.

The center court of the mall has a large fountain a throwback to the 1980's mall design.

The food court has not changed since our last visit. Seven food or snack outlets are located here.


Dillards formerly Joskes closed in 2006. The anchor surprisingly still has the power on with a few interior and exterior lights on.



The mall entrance to Dillard's; this part of the mall is nearly empty since Dillard's closed.
This view is the inside of the store through a small hole in the covered up mall entrance.




Steve and Barry's looks like it could still be open. This location is nestled in between a new Ross and Dollar Tree shopping center that is a redeveloped Mervyn's store that closed in 2006.



44 comments:

  1. Weird, the mall in my city has both a Closed Dillard's and a closed Steve and Barry's. This, seemed to drive away a lot of stores and seemed to drive away a lot of chain stores. Some empty stores opened as a church or family owned stores.The food Court was filled with all chain restaurants, but now is over half family owned places that do not seem that succesful.

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  2. Part I:

    I was finally able to visit the Pasadena Town Square mall. I was wanting to visit it for a long time, but I finally made it over there. I was also able to visit some thrifts in the Pasadena area, but I wasn't able to visit all of the ones that I wanted to visit. On that note, the former Mervyn's/Steve & Barry's store is now a Goodwill thrift store. The store very much looks like a Mervyn's on the outside still (right down to the doors), but it looks like most of the other Houston area Goodwill stores on the inside. It's nice to have a thrift store very close to the mall, but I can't say that there was anything truly remarkable about that Goodwill aside from the location. They did have a 1980s JCPenney clock radio for sale back from when they had an electronics department. That was kind of neat, but I didn't buy it.

    As for the mall itself, it's certainly a retro mall even if it was built in the 1980s. It reminds me of Almeda Mall in some ways even though Almeda Mall is much older. I guess the earthtone brown tile is the most obvious similarity. Of course, tile and colors like that were very common in malls through the 1980s. While I love the retroness of seeing that stuff live on today, I can understand why people thought malls were cookie cutter back in the day since it was so common. I visited the mall at night and I was somewhat surprised at how dark the mall is inside even though all of the light bulbs seemed to be working, but dark malls were also pretty common back in the day so perhaps I should not have been as surprised as I was. I'm sure that the mall looks quite different during the day though.

    The ex-Dillard's corridor was pretty much empty as one would expect. The mall entrance to that wing kind of reminds me of the former Mall of the Mainland entrance near the Sears since they are both very quiet and have posters on the walls (though they are PSA type announcements instead of old movie posters like at the Mall of the Mainland). There are signs of businesses in the former Walgreens and the store next to it, but both of those stores/businesses were closed when I visited. Perhaps they are open, but they close at night. It's hard to say. I pretty much had that corridor to myself even though I was at the mall at what should be a pretty busy time for the mall. The rest of the mall was decently busy, but I would say that it wasn't as busy as Almeda Mall was when I last visited it a couple months back at a similar time of day. Still, I would say that the mall was doing okay.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the number of operating vintage storefronts there are at the mall. The Champs Sports store facade is a real throwback, but there are other vintage storefronts as well. The signage for The Giving Tree also seemed like quite a throwback. The Giving Tree store itself may be a throwback. I seem to recall that name from the past, but I'm not sure if they have any other stores in malls that I visit.

    It seems like there are more than a few stores/businesses that have changed since you last wrote about the place. I know that RadioShack isn't there now and I think that Anna's Linens isn't there now either. I don't think that Melrose is there either. Perhaps these stores are still there and I just didn't see them. On the flip side, there is a performing arts center called Stage Door that seemed to be quite popular. I'm sure the loss of some of the national name stores isn't a good thing, but occupancy is still pretty good if the Dillard's wing is ignored.

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    1. The old Mervyn's has been completely carved up and rebuilt except for the one wall for some reason. I think Circuit City was building a store in that center when they went bankrupt where the Ross is now. There was a partially built frame next to where the Steve and Barry's is in this photo that was untouched for a couple of years. The construction on that store was stopped around the same time that Circuit City went out of business, but I have been unable to find out for sure if that was going to be a Circuit City. The stores you mentioned above have been gone for about a year. The mall has less stores now that about 4 years ago when the mall had a small renaissance. The layout of the mall is very similar to the now closed Belle Promenade Mall in Marrero that I covered (I have probably already said that).

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  3. Part II:

    As for the anchors, well, I thought the situation was quite interesting. Of course, the Foley's/Macy's there predates the mall by a number of years and the Sears there is newer than the mall by a number of years. It seems that the Macy's hasn't been renovated in quite a while so it has a bit of a vintage feel to it. It also feels a bit less upscale than other Macy's stores (especially the men's department near the mall entrance), but it still looks quite nice. In many ways, I prefer the clean and bright style Pasadena store to something a bit trendier like the Willowbrook Mall Macy's Mens store. What I am wondering is if there is a part of the Foley's/Macy's store that was built after the rest of the store was built. If you look at a Google Maps aerial image of the place, there is a rectangular section of the store near the mall entrance (probably the men's department) that has a different style roof than the rest of the store. The part near the mall entrance has a similar color roof as the mall itself. I wonder if that part of the store was added on when the mall was built? Or maybe that part is original to the store, but was redesigned in someway when the mall was joined to it?

    It wasn't unheard of for Foley's to open a store before the mall around it opened. This was the case at Almeda Mall (or maybe Northwest Mall or both of them), but those stores opened just a little bit before the malls so I'm sure the stores were designed with the mall entrance in mind. I don't know if Foley's knew that a mall would be built when they built the Pasadena store. Thus, perhaps some kind of redesign was necessary. It's hard to say.

    I was very curious to see what the Sears looked like inside since it is the newest Sears store in the Houston area. The Sears store has a very imposing look on the outside. It's certainly one of the grander looking Sears on the outside in the Houston area. I was wondering if it would look like the former The Woodlands Mall Sears on the inside since that one opened only like a year before the Pasadena one. It kind of does look like it, but it is different in some ways that are better and some that are worse. The clothing departments don't feel quite as upscale as the former The Woodlands store, but they still look pretty nice. That said, the store as a whole (especially the center of the store near the escalators and the path leading from there to the mall entrance) do feel quite modern and nice. That aspect of the store, as well as some areas like the tool department, are nicer I think than the former The Woodlands store. This creates a bit of an odd dynamic where the Pasadena Town Square Sears is arguably more upscale looking than the Macy's store at the same mall. That's certainly not a common thing.

    The electronics department at the Pasadena Sears is about the same as any other mid-sized Sears. The mattress department had the upscale "furniture store" look like the Baybrook Mall Sears. That was nice to see. Anyway, it is a nice looking store inside and out and the store was doing pretty good business. It might have been the busiest Sears store that I have seen in recent times aside from the N. Shepherd Sears store. A lot of people were walking out of the store with big bags filled with merchandise so I think the store is doing good business. I think Pasadena has favorable demographics for Sears. It seems like Sears does well with Hispanics. The parking lot was certainly full around the Sears, but some of that might be because the part of the mall around the Macy's has limited parking.

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    1. Did you visit the second floor of the Macy's/ Foley's? The second floor is much more retro than the first with wood paneling in several areas. I would not be surprised if the store was extended because many sections of the store seem strangely situated and do not flow well compared to many department stores.
      The Pasadena Dillard's store was similar to the Greenspoint Dillard's except the mall entrance to the store was smaller and tightly packed. I know these stores were both Joske's stores originally. The ceilings surrounding the middle of the store were much higher and made the store feel large compared to the mall entrance. Speaking of Joske's I saw some Star Wars toys for sale at a store in Katy Mills with Joske's price tags that can be yours for a couple of hundred dollars each.
      Sears is much more modern than anything else at the mall and seems out of place. I really like the Sears store though since the electronics are on the second floor. I like when the electronics are on the second floor for some reason

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    2. I am from Pasadena. Yes the Foley's was a stand alone store until about 1981 if I remember right. The mall Pasadena Town Square was built behind it with a Joske's. It was a cool mall back in the 80s. The Mervyn's was a Globe Department Store in the 70s. The Sears was a stand alone Sears from the 1950s about 2 miles down and was moved to the mall around 2000. The mall was recently renamed Plaza Paseo.

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    3. Interesting comment, I had to look up Globe Department stores. I must have missed out on those while I was in Louisiana.

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  4. Part III:

    All in all, I enjoyed my visit to the Pasadena Town Square. It may not be a totally retro mall by age, but it certainly has a retro mall feel. The mall kind of reminds me a little bit of the Deauville Fashion Malls and Buyer's Market Malls that were built around the same time. There are some common design elements between the malls. By contrast, it does not remind me at all of Willowbrook Mall even though they opened at around the same time, but I guess there are some slight common design elements between the mall and Willowbrook before it's 1992 renovation. It's certainly a rare mall for the Houston area in that it isn't right off a freeway and it was kind of shoehorned into an existing non-retail area. Perhaps these aspects are why the Pasadena Town Square is one of Houston's least known malls, but maybe it would have helped if they called it Pasadena Mall instead of Pasadena Town Square. I'm not sure if it really matters as long as the local community supports the mall.

    I think I like the Pasadena Town Square mall better than Almeda Mall, but that's largely because Sears adds a lot of usefulness to the mall. There really isn't much for me to buy that I would be interested in at Almeda Mall. I think the Pasadena Macy's is also a more usable store than the Almeda Macy's even if it isn't as flashy. It's probably safe to say that this is Triyar's best maintained mall in the Houston area out of the three that they currently own. Hopefully Triyar can find a tenant for the ex-Dillard's anchor so that wing may redevelop some. Was that wing in trouble even when Dillard's was still open?

    Anyway, I would like to visit the Pasadena Town Square again. It's hard to take in all aspects of a mall in one visit. I'd like to visit it sometime when it is daylight outside just to see how different the mall looks on the inside when there is light.

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    1. The Dillard's wing was about 50% occupied when the store closed. Some of the stores moved over towards the busier sections of the mall, but most closed. For example a Sam Goody store was used as a female clothing store and still had the "Goody got it" sign up in the back of the store. There was also a Dollar store that was originally and Everythings a Dollar store, but was under a different name before the store closed.

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  5. Part I:

    The Pasadena Town Square Sears certainly does feel a bit out of place. First of all, it is shoehorned into the mall in kind of an odd way. It does not look so odd on the outside, but the location of the store is certainly a bit odd from the mall corridor. Plus, it is much more modern looking inside than the rest of the mall including the Macy's anchor. It's not too often that Sears has a decidedly more modern looking store inside than Macy's at a mall. One could make an argument for something like the West Oaks Mall Sears being more modern than the Macy's, but that's more of a tossup. Of course, that is another case where the Sears opened up after the Foley's, but the time gap there wasn't nearly as long as the situation in Pasadena.

    Anyway, the Pasadena Sears being nice isn't just a relative comparison situation, it really is a nice looking Sears. I'm glad that it was seemingly doing well from a sales perspective. There are some other Sears in the Houston area that have electronics on the 2nd floor. West Oaks would be one I do believe. I'm pretty sure that electronics are on the 2nd floor of the Baybrook Mall location. I'm sure that there are others, but those are the ones that come to mind. Of course, the West Oaks and Baybrook Sears are also some of the best looking Sears in the Houston area along with the Pasadena store. It really does not matter to me where the electronics are located, but maybe there is something to putting it on the 2nd floor. Perhaps it helps to keep the ground floor focused on adult clothing and tools instead of splitting several different departments on it kind of like the Willowbrook Mall Sears. Of course, the Mall of the Mainland Sears only has one floor and it manages to look pretty nice (though it is also one of the newer locations in the Houston area) so maybe that isn't so valid. Putting electronics on the top floor also helps put more of a focus on the 2nd floor as some Sears have pretty small and quiet 2nd floors.

    I actually did not go to the 2nd floor of the Macy's. I wanted to, but I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to see the rest of the mall and all of the Sears store. That is interesting that it is even more retro upstairs as the 1st floor is a throwback as it is. Of course, other Macy's stores have hardwood floors as well. The West Oaks Macy's still has a 1980s look I do believe and I think the Greenspoint Mall Macy's still has hardwood as well. I've heard that the San Jacinto Mall Macy's has hardwood paneling in it somewhere, but I don't know about the floors. I'd imagine that it is also retro 1980s in there. I'll definitely have to check out the 2nd floor on my next visit to the Pasadena Town Square.

    The oddness of the men's department/mall entrance area of the Macy's actually made me wonder as well if that section was built or designed at a different time than the rest of the store. The store does flow in an odd way around that section of the store. Of course, the aerial image of the store provided even more evidence of that section of the store being different. I don't know if it was an add-on, but I do suspect that it was. Anyway, the store around the mall entrance certainly isn't as impressive looking as one would expect from Macy's (or Sears/JCPenney/Montgomery Ward even), but things do pick up a bit after the men's department. It's certainly functional if nothing else so I'm not complaining about it.

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    1. Deerbrook also has electronics on the second floor which are clearly visible when you walk into the store, and leads you to the back of the store. The Macy's at Pasadena Town Square has the elevator and escalator at the far end of the store away from the mall entrance so the 2nd floor does not get much traffic. The West Oaks and San Jacinto mall stores have retro second floors as well. Unfortunately West Oaks is partially blocked on the second floor so both sides lead to a dead end. The West Oaks has a furniture clearance section located at one of the dead ends, The Greenspoint store was the same way as West Oaks and eventually the second floor was closed.

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    2. the westoaks Macy's only lost I believe part of the children area and some maternity area. Greenspoint is a really large store so when they moved all the stuff from upstairs to downstairs it would still have a lot of room for all the other department . Westoaks would be in trouble if they closed upstairs since the store isn't as big. But remember westoaks Macy's is still viable compared to greenspoint. Macy's.

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    3. I am not sure why they closed the section at West Oaks. I would think that keeping the flow of the store going would be important to sales. If someone goes to look at the furniture and then wants to look at Children's clothing, they will have to walk all the way back around the store.

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    4. in theory one can still look at children's clothing and furniture they made an opening by the rugs . Maybe they closed it because children's departments are getting smaller over the years especially in departments stores and places like target and Walmart are getting bigger children sections. It is cheaper to go to target or Walmart to get children's clothing than spend $ 50 for a child's shirt.

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    5. They may have opened it up again, I last went up there a little more than a year ago and it was blocked off. Department stores have been shrinking the kids departments over the years as they have expanded the young adult and women's clothing offerings. I have noticed Macy's stores that have been remodeled have shrunk the children's sections. Price is a huge factor especially with the short time that clothes fit children before they have to be replaced.

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    6. it still close but from time to time they leave the doors opened and one can see the old hello kitty store.

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  6. Part II:

    I really don't have any kind of recollection about the Greenspoint Mall Joske's/Dillard's prior to it becoming the clearance store that it is now. I probably did shop there at least once before it's current form, but I doubt that it was a frequent stop for me since the Willowbrook Mall Joske's (as well as the Pasadena Town Square Joske's) opened up not much after the Greenspoint one did. The exterior of the three Joske's have similar elements as well, but I would say that the Willowbrook one was probably the best looking. The Pasadena one is probably the most austere. As for paying $200 for something with a Joske's price tag, no thanks. I probably have some stuff here with that already. I'm pretty sure that I have Joske's gift boxes still somewhere, but I'm not sure where.

    A clothing store with the "Goody Got It" slogan is interesting as there is a clothing store in parts of the US called Goody's. It is now owned by Palais Royal's parent, Stage Stores. It probably made sense for some of the stores in the Dillard's wing to relocate to more populated sections of the mall. It's a shame that the mall is losing some of their national stores, but hopefully Triyar can hang on to what they have now if nothing else. The mall had decent traffic during my visit (aside from the Dillard's wing of course) so I think that there is hope that it can at least maintain what it has now.

    Yes, only the Goodwill section of that shopping center still has the Mervyn's look on the outside. Steve & Barry's had some locations in old Mervyn's so maybe they kind of adopted the Mervyn's look as their own. It's hard to say. I don't know if Circuit City had plans for that center, but the Ross there was pretty busy when I was at the Goodwill.

    Anyway, I do plan on visiting Pasadena again in the foreseeable future so that I can visit the mall again and also visit/revisit some the thrifts in the area. The mall is certainly a pretty unique place with it's retroness and somewhat simple design combined with a really nice looking Sears. I saw some of your pictures of the Belle Promenade Mall. That mall looked to be a bit more upscale looking than the Pasadena Town Square, but perhaps it had a similar layout as you say.

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    1. The only similarity was the floor layout of the Belle Promenade Mall compared to Pasadena. Belle Promenade was much more elaborate and detailed. Pasadena in some aspects almost looks like the Deauville and Buyer's Market malls.
      I visited Goody's before they closed and eventually were partially reopened by Palais Royal. They were similar in design and clothing selection to Kohl's.

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  7. I also noticed that the Pasadena Town Square resembles the former Deauville Fashion Malls and Buyer's Market Malls. They are/were all fairly basic malls with late 1970s/early 1980s mall elements. I think I mentioned the similarities in one of my earlier posts. It is odd that a relatively small, basic mall in a blue collar area like Pasadena (even in the early 1980s) would have two anchors that are both middle-upper tier department stores like Foley's and Joske's. It would have seemed that it would have made more sense to balance the Foley's with something like a JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, or Sears, but perhaps the latter two weren't willing to move their nearby stores at that point in time. Of course, Sears did move eventually, but I don't know at what point did Sears consider moving. Perhaps the mall developers were willing to take anything they could get when the mall was being planned and Joske's was the interested party. It's hard to say.

    I tried to make the circle around the top floor of the West Oaks Mall Macy's during my last visit to that mall around last summer, but I did notice that blockade where the furniture clearance section is. Actually, an employee told me that the walkway ended there as I approached the wall. I was a little disappointed that the walkway does not go completely around as the store otherwise resembles what the Willowbrook Mall Foley's used to look like before part of the store was moved to the old Montgomery Ward. Oh well. As for the Pasadena Macy's, the location of the escalators and elevator does make it inconvenient for shoppers coming in from the mall. Of course, the store wasn't designed for a mall (I'm guessing that at least) so perhaps they have an excuse. At least those stores still have a furniture department unlike the Greenspoint and Almeda Mall Macy's. I would like to see the retro 2nd floor at the Pasadena store though.

    I can't remember for sure now, but is the 2nd floor of the Deerbrook Sears the parking lot level floor like what was the case at the former The Woodlands Mall Sears? The Deerbrook Mall Sears has a bit of a less impressive open look to it compared to something like the Baybrook Mall Sears or the Pasadena Town Square Sears. It's more a long the lines of the Willowbrook Mall Sears I would say. It, along with the Willowbrook store, are still nice stores, but they aren't as impressive I would say. On the flip side, the Deerbrook and Willowbrook stores have attached auto centers. I prefer that to the detached one like at the Pasadena Town Square as it's a pretty long walk through empty Dillard's parking spaces between the auto center and the Sears store itself.

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    1. Southmore is such an odd spot for a mall. I guess they were trying to develop the area into an FM 1960 type of retail corridor in the 1980's and it never fully caught on. The area now has several abandoned commercial buildings and the large closed hospital just down the street from the mall. The shopping developments in the area seem to be clustered on main intersections but are not continuous like on 1960. Spencer and Fairmont would have been better areas for the mall, but I guess would have been too close to Almeda for comfort.
      I actually went to Deerbrook yesterday and the store is more plain than the Woodlands was at the entrance. There is a central checkout and Men's clothing at the entrance that leads to the electronics which are very visible from the mall entrance. The store seems more open than on my last visit in several areas, maybe they are reducing inventory to make the store look that way. The store does not have any of the new updates yet that I have seen in other stores namely Baybrook.

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  8. Part I:

    I made another trip to the Pasadena Town Square mall. This trip was during the daytime and I noticed a lot of things that I did not notice during my initial visit to the mall a couple of weeks earlier. The added light in the mall during the day gave me a better look at the detail work of the mall. Another thing that I noticed is that there is more going on in the former Dillard's wing than I initially thought. Many of the stores in that wing have signs on them (albeit very cheap looking signs) and I think at least some of them are currently open businesses. Of course, they are small, non-typical mall businesses (a few of them only have signs in Spanish). It seemed like a few of them may have been closed permanently, but some of them may have just been closed for the day. One of the stores is a children's activity place that is coming soon (I saw people working in that store so I assume that it really is coming soon). Another is a beauty school I believe. It looked like it was closed, but I saw someone washing hair through a slightly open door in the back so I guess that is open as well. Obviously none of these businesses are drawing large amounts of traffic (that wing had few if any shoppers in it), but at least the mall is getting something from those storefronts.

    Also, The Giving Tree was advertising a big sale. It looked like a lot of their inventory was gone too. I didn't see anything indicating that the sale was a going out of business sale, but I would not be surprised if they are liquidating. It would be a shame for the mall to lose that store as it is one of the retro storefronts at the mall. Perhaps it is a charter store, but I don't know that.

    I did visit the entire Macy's store this time and I also paid more attention to the parts of the store that I visited last time. It was a pretty surreal experience to say the least. Perhaps the most interesting thing was that they were playing 1980s music through the store sound system. That seemed totally appropriate at that location! It was good '80s music too. I did visit the 2nd floor. It's certainly retro, but I'm not sure if I would say that it is significantly more retro than the 1st floor. The whole place is a relic in many ways. The wood paneling on the escalator complex ceiling makes you feel like your riding up to 1960s-1980s heaven though (and this is aided by the 1980s music of course). I also noticed a large patch of wood paneling by the exterior doors kind of near the men's department. Anyway, one thing that I did notice about the 2nd floor is that the ceiling tiles up there are in pretty bad shape. A lot of them have a lot of water damage to them. Some of the lights up there are screwed up as well. Actually, a lot of the 1st floor ceiling tiles are pretty dingy as well. I wonder if those have been changed since the era when smoking was allowed in stores. The women's juniors department on the 1st floor is very retro looking too.

    One funny thing is that the store has a little room by the end of the men's department with a couple of "courtesy" landline phones for customers to use. That is certainly a department store relic, but someone was actually using one of those phones. I probably should have looked to see if the phones had a rotary dial!

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    1. The Macy's still has the retro "F" logos on the door handle entrances to the store. I think only the Northwest store also still has those, but I may be wrong. It sounds like the second floor may eventually be closed off if they are not fixing the leaking roof. It was like that the last time I was up there a couple of years ago. The elevator is also retro and if I remember correctly has orange paneling inside.
      I noticed some of the stores in the Dillard's wing about 6 months ago when I was last there, but none of them were open in the afternoon when I was there.

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  9. Part II:

    I am not sure if you've read Lasker Meyer's book about Foley's (it has some retro photos of Foley's stores including one of Foley's appliance & electronics stores that they opened up before they built full stores in the suburbs (one of those was at Palms Center apparently)), but I found some information about the Pasadena store in the Google Books preview of the book. It seems that the store wasn't initially popular because they sold mainly lower line products that might have typically been sold at the bargain basement departments at other stores. Also, the store only had a central checkout instead of department checkouts. Apparently the reasoning for these things is because it was a blue collar area store, but they did have to make the store more normal to attract customers.

    The Sears store was doing pretty good business again it seems. One thing that I noticed is that the mall itself and the Macy's were both pretty warm during my visit, but the Sears store was kept at a comfortable temperature. I know that we are at a strange time of the year where A/C may or may not be necessary depending on the day so I don't want to assume that the mall and Macy's were skimping on A/C, but I thought it was interesting that Sears was the most comfortable. Of course, the temperature was only one stark difference between the modern Sears and the rest of the retro mall.

    Yes, the Southmore retail scene isn't too busy. Even the area around the Wal-Mart does not have a lot of retail around it. Usually all kinds of retail surrounds Wal-Marts, but not so much there. I guess there is at least some shopper traffic on that road though between the mall and the current Wal-Mart/old Sears location. But, yes, there are some impressive abandoned or underutilized retail and commercial buildings on that stretch of Southmore.

    Something like the Spencer Hwy./Shaver intersection (where the Montgomery Ward was) may have been a better area for retail, but as you say, that would have put the mall dangerously close to Almeda Mall. The Pasadena Foley's and Wards stores opened a few years apart, but it is a bit of a shame that they didn't coordinate things better so that they could have opened together in a mall somewhere. Of course, Wards may have wanted something on/near Spencer and Foley's may have been uncomfortable with that location if they knew that they were opening a store at Almeda. It's hard to go back in time and say what was going on.

    The timing of the construction of the Pasadena Town Square is also a bit interesting. The mall opened at around the time that San Jacinto Mall opened and Baybrook Mall opened not much before. Almeda Mall was still a popular spot at that time too. Perhaps a reason why the mall is relatively anonymous is because it was always overshadowed by the competing malls. It never really had it's time of glory. Opening around the time of a local recession probably didn't help either, but it did hang on to it's two anchors during that period and it still has one of those plus the Sears addition. To that extent, the mall is still hanging in there despite all the questionable decisions about it's construction.

    I'm not sure when the Deerbrook Mall Sears will see some updates. Does it have the brown paint ring around the clothing departments and other stuff like that that some other Sears have received in recent times? The store was quite open looking during my couple of visits there a year or two back. I do remember buying something from the men's department near the mall entrance there during one of my visits and I also remember seeing the electronics department there in the back.

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    1. I am going to have to check out that Foley's book, hopefully they have a kindle version. I think North and South Pasadena were competing for retail at one point which lead to the mall going to North Pasadena, and the majority of retail going to Spencer. Spencer is also a more centralized location for not only Pasadena, but Deer Park and to LaPorte. Speaking of the Pasadena Wards, they have closed off more of the former store and decreased the size of the market. I think they are expanding one of the businesses into the space, but the flea market has been downsized twice now. I have a few pictures from the section that is now closed off, one of these days I will upload them here.
      No they have not gotten that paint update at the Deerbrook Sears, but they have filled the space of the golf section with more Men's clothing.

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  10. Part I:

    It is hard to say if the Pasadena Town Square mall developers really had a choice as to where to put the mall. They may have had no choice but to build it where the Foley's was because perhaps Foley's (as well as Sears and Montgomery Ward) did not display interest in relocating their stores to a new mall. Then again, I've heard that the mall developers had to tear down houses and/or other buildings to build the mall and the parking lot. If so, that was probably an expensive venture to build the mall there especially given that it seemed unlikely that Southmore would become a massive retail hub. It's hard to say what happened or what the thinking was, but perhaps there is information about the construction of the mall at the Pasadena Public Library. Of course, that is conveniently located right next to the mall itself. I may have to look at a historical topography map of the area to see what was there before the mall and if the Foley's building was changed any for the mall.

    I'm sure that you know a lot more about the Pasadena area than I do since you lived there, but I would think that getting to the Pasadena Town Square from Deer Park and La Porte isn't too difficult (at least now) with 225 being there. The mall isn't too far off 225. Of course,it probably also depends on what part of Deer Park and La Porte we are talking about as surely there are parts where Spencer Highway would be more appropriate.

    The decision to build on Southmore could also have been strategic in terms of deciding whether to compete with Almeda Mall or Gulfgate Mall. Gulfgate wasn't a long haul away from where Pasadena Town Square is. I believe that the Gulfgate Joske's was converted to be a clearance store not long after Pasadena Town Square opened so perhaps Joske's was more willing to compete with themselves from that perspective than Foley's was if the mall was located closer to Almeda Mall. Perhaps Almeda Mall would have declined and Gulfgate Mall would have stayed at least somewhat relevant if Pasadena Town Square was located further south, but I think Almeda Mall was the stronger mall regardless and it probably made more sense to try to raid Gulfgate than Almeda. Gulfgate declined even further pretty quickly after Pasadena Town Square opened, but I'm not sure how much we can relate the two events. It's not like Gulfgate was thriving before Pasadena Town Square opened.

    As far as the Macy's goes, it's hard to say if the water damaged ceiling tiles I saw was relatively new damage or if the tiles were damaged months/years ago and never replaced. It probably could be a combination of both. Hopefully the roof is in good shape and the damaged tiles are just things that have not been changed because I would think that roof damage would be a problem regardless if the 2nd floor is open to the public or not. Of course, they should change those tiles as they look pretty bad. I'm not even sure if I would expect something that bad at a Kmart even, but some of the dingy ceiling tiles on the 1st floor were kind of Kmartish.

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    1. Baybrook is not far from Deer Park and La Porte so I believe many people made the trip there instead of Pasadena because of the anchor choices. Baybrook had some turnover in anchors over the years, but the mall and shopping district there has been mostly full over the years. Bay Area Blvd. goes all the way to La Porte and the travel time to Baybrook is not much further than to Pasadena Town Square. I did not know about neighborhoods being demolished to make way for the mall. I have not heard of any other malls where this happened in our area.
      It is hard to say if Gulfgate would have fared better if Pasadena was never built. The anchors at Gulfgate with the exception of Dillard's were all doomed as well as the Mervyn's which was across the street from the mall where Lowe's is now. I only went to Gulfgate once in the last year it was in business and it was mostly empty at that point. The area is booming now, but with mostly big box stores that would have probably not been a part of the mall to replace a closed department store.
      The Pasadena and San Jacinto Macy's stores seem to be just hanging on and I would not be surprised if Macy's decides to pull the plug on either store in the upcoming year.

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  11. Part II:

    I did not visit the elevator at the Macy's, but I would not be surprised if it is very vintage looking. The escalators were quite slow it seemed, but that let me enjoy the vintage combination of wood paneling and 1980s music (Tears for Fears at the time I believe) for longer. I've had family members get stuck in the elevator at the Willowbrook Mall Foley's and I've seen firemen rescuing people from that same elevator during at least one other occasion so perhaps I'm a bit conditioned to avoid elevators at Foley's/Macy's! A vintage elevator may not be any more confidence inspiring, but perhaps it is just the Willowbrook store that has/had issues. Maybe it was just odd luck, who knows. I was on the 2nd floor of the Willowbrook Sears a number of years ago when someone had a panic attack or something while riding the escalator. The person was screaming loudly and they had to stop the escalator. Weird things happen sometimes I guess, what can I say.

    As for the Pasadena Macy's door handles, I did not notice them since I entered the store through the mall entrance. I would not be surprised if they are vintage though. I can't really call myself an expert on Macy's doorhandles as a whole as the only time that I've entered a Macy's through an exterior door anytime recently was at the Willowbrook ex-Montgomery Ward Macy's Mens store. Unfortunately, they got rid of the classic "MW" handles there. I can't imagine that there are too many Macy's with the old "F" handles though. Obviously the Northwest Mall Macy's has been closed for quite some time so I wouldn't even count that even if the handles still exist outside.

    I can tell that some of the businesses in the Dillard's wing are still operating even if they were closed when I visited. For example, there was a tax service place there that was closed at the time that I went, but clearly they were still in business because there were papers on the desks and such. That may just be a seasonal business though. A couple of other businesses looked to be closed (like the salon school), but I think they were actually open.

    I know that there is a ballroom type operation that operates out of the old Pasadena Montgomery Ward. Perhaps they have expanded their operations and taken over some of the flea market? Google Maps also says that there is a Jumping World in that old Wards building, but I don't know if that is true or if that is new if it is true. I've seen a number of those Jumping World places open up in old stores so perhaps it is true. Well, at least there is always the old Palms Center Wards flea market if anything happens to the Pasadena one. Any photos of those old Wards stores would be appreciated for sure.

    I'm a little surprised that Deerbrook Mall has not received the new paint designs. It seems like most of the other Sears have had those updates at least for a little while now. I'm sure that they will come soon though. I think it makes sense for Sears to expand their men's clothing department (at least compared to the women's clothing department) as I've noticed that the checkouts near the men's departments are usually pretty busy these days. I would not want clothing departments to take over room from tools or electronics, but perhaps it could steal some room from the women's departments if nothing else.

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    1. I may have to avoid elevators from now on, lol. That is strange that someone would have a panic attack on an escalator, unless it was one of those high speed escalators that was in the downtown Foley's/ Macy's.
      I don't think any other stores still have the vintage Foley's "F" logo on the outside door entrances. The Deerbrook store still has mirrors with the old Foley's apostrophe on the inside of the mall on both floors. I wish I could see a store with one of the old signs one of these days, but Macy's made sure to remove as much of Foley's as possible from the stores.
      The Palms Center Montgomery Ward with the exception of the outside labelscars is hard to tell it was a Montgomery Ward in the past. I am sure you would probably not want to use the elevator there, but the store does not have an escalator. There is a set of stair in the middle of the store where most places would have an escalator. I did not see a hidden escalator in a corner like they have in the Pasadena Wards.
      We may have already discussed this, but Sears is going to compete with fast fashion stores such as Forever 21 to attempt to earn the business of the younger generations. I hope this is successful, but I don't want to see this clothing line force out electronics in the future. It seems like Sears continues to cut inventory from their electronics sections, but hopefully they will fill some of this space with new products such as tablets or something besides more clothes or mattresses. Deerbrook seems to be one of their stores that keeps a lighter inventory than many other Sears stores, but the store seems to do well.

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  12. Part I:

    I had a chance to look at some historical topography maps of the Pasadena Town Square area. Unfortunately, the only "pre-mall" maps that I have are from the mid-1950s and late 1970s, but that showed enough to give an idea about the situation. The mid 1950s image showed a neighborhood (or some sort of buildings that look like houses) on the land where the mall is now. All of that area was already cleared in the 1970s image. The Bayou City History blog had a series of Pasadena images from 1964 that focused on the Southmore area. One of the images shows the Foley's store with the land around it cleared, but it does appear that traces of the old properties still existed in those photos. Perhaps we could call that "foundation scar" or something like that. One interesting difference between the 1964 images and the late 1970s image is that the rectangular section of the Foley's store that is probably now the men's department was there in the 1970s pre-mall image, but it looks like it may have not existed in the 1964 image. Thus, perhaps that was an addition after all, but perhaps it predates the mall. It's hard to say.

    Anyway, it looks like the neighborhood was cleared out well before the mall was built (perhaps around the time that the Foley's was built). I wonder if Pasadena and/or developers planned on there being a mall (or some other facility) on that land around that time, but perhaps it just took a long time for things to actually develop. If so, it probably would have made more sense for the city/developers to scrap their ideas by the 1980s, but the mall was built anyway. Perhaps the cost of clearing out the neighborhood was never passed along to the mall developers, but it is hard to say who paid for that. I wonder if there are materials about the history of the land and the mall in the Pasadena library as it seems that there is some history to that area that has yet to be explained on the Internet as far as I can tell.

    Photos do exist of Foley's with vintage early 1980s (and prior in some cases) signage. The Lasker Meyer Foley's book that I mentioned a few replies up has a scanned image of something that Foley's probably published around 1985 called a "Portfoleyo" showing some (or at least most) of their stores at that time including the Deerbrook Mall store. All of those pictures have vintage signage of some kind except for the Almeda Mall picture. That one has what appears to be the last version of Foley's logo. Some of the others, like Deerbrook, Willowbrook Mall, and West Oaks Mall, have the all lowercase "foley's" logo that was used when those stores opened. This link also has some images, but that is not as complete as what is in Meyer's book.

    My understanding is that Gulfgate Mall was in a deep decline in the 1980s. The decline may have started before that, but the mall lost Sakowitz and the Joske's anchor was demoted to being a clearance store at around the same time in the mid-1980s. Obviously those were huge blows to whatever hopes the mall had at that point. It's possible that Joske's expected that the Pasadena Town Square location would replace the Gulfgate location, but I'm not sure if that was the intention or not. Joske's decision to open a store in Pasadena in the 1980s still seems very surprising to me, but I guess Foley's/Macy's is still there now so maybe there is some viability to that area.

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    1. Those photos are interesting, it took me a while to figure out the google map below since all of the buildings are flat in the photo. I guess it is possible that developers bought the land and cleared it out for the mall and possibly had problems with financing. It is also possible that they may have originally planned for that area to have several office towers to complement the bank building. Maybe in ten years that area will be booming again if land inside of the Beltway becomes an issue, but for now it seems to be in a slight decline.
      I am not sure of the Foley's store sizes on the Department store museum are accurate, Greenspoint was largely considered their largest mall location. The first floor of that store is larger than many two story department stores.

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  13. Part II:

    I'm sure that SE side shoppers prefer going to Baybrook Mall over all the other malls in that area even if it is a longer drive. Baybrook really is the star mall in that area. Although there have been anchor shuffles at Baybrook over the years, that's moreso because of the anchors themselves than any issues with the mall. Baybrook has the huge advantage of being centrally located in the Clear Lake area. That is a stable and relatively wealthy suburban area that is a real cash cow. On top of that, the mall manages to be bigger than all of it's competitors without being too big. This has kept vacancies to a minimum and the limited amount of space ensures good lease prices. This may subside now that the mall is expanding, but we'll see. I guess San Jacinto Mall would be considered a competitor for the S-SE side shoppers and it is/was of a similar size to Baybrook, but the local demographics of that mall are a hindrance and not a positive for the mall like Baybrook.

    I don't have a problem with riding elevators except for Foley's/Macy's ones perhaps (well, the Willowbrook Mall main store ones in particular). I did know that one of the elevators at my previous place of employment was a bit wonky and it did get stuck a couple of times (though not badly enough to require any kind of serious rescue like I saw at the Willowbrook Foley's). Obviously I avoided that particular elevator, but I usually took the stairs anyway. I also rarely ride department stores elevators. I usually find the escalators to be more convenient. I'm not even sure where the elevators are at some of the stores that I frequent. I had to use the elevator at the Willowbrook Sears a couple months back since I had a cart full of housewares purchases and it was a bit of a strange feeling since I couldn't recall using that elevator during any previous visit over all these years. I'm sure that I did ride it before that visit, but I can't remember it. Of course, it's hard to remember obscure things like that from the 1990s much less the 1980s.

    On the topic of the Palms Center Montgomery Ward, did you ever have the chance to watch that 1950s Wards video that I linked in the Lufkin Kmart thread back in August? You don't need to watch the whole thing because the interesting part is shown briefly at the 17:40 mark in the video. The store in that video looks just like the Palms Center Wards. I don't know if it is the Palms Center store or another store that looks just like it, but it's an interesting view nonetheless.

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    1. I think that store is the Palms Center location, it looks just like it all the way down to the parking lot lights. I am still amazed at how the labelscars have survived for about 30 years on that building when most landlords would have just painted it over. I would probably not feel comfortable riding the elevator at the former Palms Center Wards.

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  14. Part III:

    I had a link to the Sears fast fashion story the other day in the Sears Midtown thread. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not so sure if it will work. Young fashionable women don't really look at Sears and I'm not sure what would change that barring some remarkable marketing efforts. Fast fashion then may just end up being fast to clearance. We'll see though how things turn out. I doubt that this would require Sears to open up more floorspace for clothing at most of their locations. They'll probably just eliminate some of their traditional young women's lines. We'll see though. Hopefully the electronics departments won't be shrinked anymore than they are. As far as tablets go, they are still seeing sales growth, but the growth rates are declining now. It seems like a lot of the people who wanted one have one now and they aren't ready to replace them yet. It seems like the industry is pushing new gadgets like smart watches and smart glasses to create a new craze, but I'm not so sure if there is demand for smart watches. There may be demand for smart glasses (they would certainly make photographing/video recording retail stores easier), but there could be laws enacted against them due to safety/privacy risks and I'm not sure if they will be sold through traditional electronics stores anyway.

    I would imagine that the Deerbrook Sears is a good performer. It has probably benefited from the closures of The Woodlands Mall and Greenspoint Mall Sears in recent years. Of course, it was probably a good store even otherwise. The store may have more flexspace than other similarly sized Sears due to the demised Edwin Watts golf store, but otherwise I would imagine that the inventory is roughly similar to other similar stores. Perhaps it will be better now that we aren't in a transitional weather period in terms of clothes and outdoor lawn & garden inventory. Then again, I would not be surprised if Sears started selling Christmas stuff in May or June!

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    1. I guess Tablet sales have reached their ceiling. People are not in a rush to replace them either when they break like they would be for a cell phone. I noticed the strollers that cost several dollars to use at Deerbrook Mall now have tablets for the kids to use while riding. I don't see much point in the smart watches, but the glasses could really take off. Hopefully people will not drive while using them because they will be a major distraction.
      I would not be surprised if Sears rolled out Christmas stuff early again this year. Many Sears and Kmart stores took a while to finally fill in the space left behind from their Christmas sections. I guess all retailers struggle with this, but Sears does not set up Valentines or Easter items like Target and Walmart. They go from Christmas to Summer pools and gardening items.

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  15. Part I:

    I am also enjoying looking at those vintage photos. It is hard to say why all that land was cleared and who paid to buy all that land. Perhaps you are right that the plan was to build more office buildings at that intersection in addition to what was actually built. Perhaps they planned on that area being a mini downtown Houston. It's hard to say. I also wonder if the local government gave the mall developers a sweetheart deal to build that mall. Perhaps developers would not have built a mall there on their own, but perhaps at least one developer was interested in opening a mall with incentive to do so. I really can't imagine any developers being interested in redeveloping the mall any time soon as it is in an area that does not have a lot of residential or commercial appeal, but again the issue of government incentives could change that. All that said, it'll probably stay a mall as it seems that the Pasadena Town Square is doing enough business to stay viable.

    The Foley's store sizes on the Department Store Museum blog post (at least the Houston ones) may be accurate. The Greenspoint Mall Foley's was/is huge, but some of their other stores were quite big too. The Sharpstown Mall Foley's was very large at one point. I think it started out smaller, but it was expanded over time due the superstar performance of that store once upon a time. Wikipedia says that the former Sharpstown Foley's building is 360,846 sq. feet. That's even bigger than what the blog has. The Levcor brochure for Northwest Mall says that the Macy's building there is 298,855 sq. feet. That's pretty close to what the blog has and I'd imagine that the Almeda Mall store was about the same size before it's renovation. Triyar's brochure for Greenspoint Mall says that the Macy's there is 305,165 sq. ft., and I believe that to be accurate (of course, the current operating size of the store is smaller than that with only one floor open).

    One interesting statement on that blog post is that Houston's first Joske's opened up in the old Main St. Foley's a year after Foley's moved from it. I did not know about that. Of course, we know now about how the "newer" downtown Foley's once had a Sears on it, but I guess that wasn't the only "anchor shuffle" that happened downtown.

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  16. Part II:

    Yes, the almost 30 year old label scar at the former Palms Center Montgomery Ward is quite amazing. Of course, that label scar is from the signage that the Wards opened with many, many years ago. I don't know when the King's Best Market there opened (or anything that was there between King's and Wards), but it is interesting that the exterior was never painted or renovated to cover up the label scar. Then again, flea markets usually don't put much effort into curb appeal. It is a flea market after all. I don't know about the state of their elevator maintenance, but I'm not all that eager to find out about them! I'm just glad that the building still has retail use. The label scar is a great remembrance of Montgomery Ward and the famed "MW" logo. That video is quite amazing. It's hard to believe that so many people were interested in shopping there when that video was filmed, but I'm sure that the Pasadena Wards grand opening was pretty chaotic too. It's nice that we have videos of one kind or another from when those Wards stores were new.

    I didn't realize that they had mall carts with tablets in them. I never really check those out. The only carts that I've ever used at a mall are the Sears ones. The current tablet market is quite strange. Tablet makers are starting to push smaller sized tablets recently to try to get people to buy new tablets, but at the same time, some of those same companies are coming out with phones with bigger screens. What's the point of having both a phone and a tablet if they are just about the same size? On top of that, ultraportable laptops are now more common, some of which have convertible touchscreens, so that may take away some appeal of regular sized tablets too. Smart watches seem very pointless to me. Perhaps some fitness people will want one (digital pedometer type things were very popular last Christmas), but that may be more of a fad than anything. Smart glasses are probably more useful and will probably be more popular, but there are a lot of people who are anti-smart glasses due to safety and privacy risks. The distraction factor should be obvious, but also it makes it easy for people to record everything and some people don't like that. Retailers will probably hate that.

    Yes, it does seem that Sears has some seasonal space that is only for Christmas and summer lawn, garden, and patio stuff. It wouldn't surprise me if the Christmas stuff starts showing up not soon after the current inventory of summer stuff sells off. It seemed like the Mall of the Mainland Sears had Christmas stuff out from September (at least) to February (albeit a small section of clearance stuff). It was very odd seeing that stuff out for so long. I was starting to wonder if Sears is one of those stores that sells Christmas stuff 12 months a year.

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    1. It sounds like the mall brochures would be the most accurate. Maybe the Sharpstown store was expanded shortly after Greenspoint opened which made that store the largest. I know Sharpstown was one of their best stores for many years and Macy's closed it shortly after taking it over due to not meeting sales projections.
      Maybe Sears could sell Christmas items year round like those Christmas stores I have seen in many other cities. Another article popped up on my news feed again about the state of Sears stores here

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    2. how old is that brochure for northwest mall? If that is recent that could be a really nice looking redevelopment. I wonder why they put Target, Dillards and Macy's name on their but the other store don't have any names. Are the three interested in that location but are waiting for construction to be completed?

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    3. That Levcor Northwest Mall brochure is from around the time that Levcor brought the mall in 2008. Levcor brought NW Mall with the intent to redevelop the mall (though I think the retailers that they put on there were more of a wishlist than anything serious), but they had to put those plans on hold due to 290/Hempstead Highway construction that will still take time to complete. Last we heard, Levcor was trying to sell the mall, but they may keep it if nobody puts in a high enough bid. It’s hard to say, but I wouldn’t take any redevelopment sketches on that brochure too seriously at this point.

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  17. Just found your blog while doing a search on old malls.I grew up in Pasadena,Texas and remember when Town Square was being built. Construction began in 1981 and stalled for a while. It opened in 1982 (Summer IIRC) and Richard Simmons was the celebrity guest that day.(He was very popular during this time frame.) The housing that was once on the property existed for many years prior to being purchased and then torn down for the mall to be built. That neighborhood had become quite dilapidated and with it being so close to the elementary school nearby (Gardens),I doubt the city of Pasadena minded seeing it torn down. Foley's had been there since at least the 1960's,as I remember my brothers and I as young boys having our picture taken with Santa there at least once.My cousin and I were quite the mallrats in the early to mid 80's,and Pasadena Town Square was our stomping ground. I was talking to my brother (who still lives in Pasadena,I moved away years ago) and he did a walk through the mall recently. Like me,he remembers the glory days of the place,and how now it's very much a shadow of it's former self. One thing not mentioned,when it first opened.there was a statue of a cowboy riding an armadillo. Yes,you read that correctly. Not sure what year the statue was finally removed,but is now in private ownership.

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    1. Thanks Douglas for sharing your story with us. The mall is struggling again after a slight boom a couple of years ago. The former Joske's/Dillard's is now an office and most of the Macy's and Joske's/Dillard's sections of the mall are empty. The food court is about half full and there are several vacancies even in the better sections of the mall. The mall seems to have good afternoon and weekend traffic, but struggles the rest of the time. The Macy's recently closed the second floor, but the store is still somewhat busy. The Sears does well and usually is much busier than the mall corridors. The whole area near Southmore has really declined, but some new investment has improved a few spots along that retail strip.

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    2. Thanks for the information about the mall's early days. Perhaps the Richard Simmons appearance permanently doomed Pasadena Town Square! As je has chronicled, there have been some changes to this mall since my last visit about a year ago. Hopefully I'll be able to visit the mall again soon to see the changes and to see how the mall is doing. Also, as je alluded to, the Pasadena Town Square Sears seems to be the hot spot at the mall. Typically Sears does not take that roll at malls these days, but that Sears store seems to do well. Of course, it's the newest Sears store in the Houston area since it opened several years after the mall was built (of course, the old Sears used to be down Southmore a bit and that spot is now a Wal-Mart) and it's a nice looking store inside and out. That probably helps.

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  18. The Houston-area Macy's in Pasadena, West Oaks, and Greenspoint will be closing their doors in the next few months. The only anchor left at the twon Square will be the Sears and Palais Roayal.

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    1. It is going to be strange for the mall just to have the middle anchor at the mall. I wonder how this will affect the corridor near Macys which was already struggling.

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