Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer 2013 update

We have some great new posts on the way listed below with some teaser photos. Updates on all older articles will start at the beginning of the new year. The updates on the older articles will add more information to each post and make corrections if needed. Some older posts will be consolidated to eliminate redundancy.

Here are some projects in the works, feel free to comment below and send over information about these properties.

Almeda/ Northwest Mall update and mall comparison
Buyer's Market Mall Fry Road

Deauville Mall Kingwood/ Northeast
Deauville Mall Southwest/ Stafford

Former Pasadena Kmart now Alco
Lake Charles Kmart update and a new Dicks Sporting Goods at Prien Lake Mall

Memorial City Mall Houston Texas

Montgomery Ward Spencer Hwy Pasadena Texas
North Oaks Mall Houston Texas

Parkdale Mall Beaumont Texas update

Rivercenter Mall San Antonio update

A major project in the works is a mega-article on the Mall of the Mainland Texas City.

Some articles that could use more information such as store lists are the Buyer's Market Mall and Deauville Mall. Both of these malls have very little information about interior stores available online.

22 comments:

  1. I am looking forward to these posts. It looks like there is a lot that we should expect here soon. I'm glad that you are doing a post about Memorial City Mall. I'm also glad to hear about the Almeda/Northwest Mall comparison and the post about North Oaks Mall. Obviously there is a lot that could be said about many of these topics, but we've discussed some of them already.

    That picture you took of the Pasadena Alco/ex-Kmart really looks like a Kmart. You could have fooled me if you didn't say what it was and if the Alco logos weren't on those price tags. It'll be great to see more photos of that place. It's really interesting to see a Kmart (an older Kmart at that) converted into another discount store after all these years. That teaser picture certainly makes me want to visit that store in person even more so than I did before.

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  2. Slowly but surely these posts will make it to the blog. It takes a while to load the photos onto blogger to use for posts. I spend the majority of my blog time researching and finding as much accurate information as possible before posting an article. If I am not sure about the source I will not post the information on my posts, but I will bring it up in comments to see if I can get confirmation on the facts.
    I have 15 images of the Alco store including one with the display televisions with the Alco logo from their in-store commercial on each one which looks really cool. I probably need more images of Almeda to do a good comparison, but I have a ton of Northwest photos that I can use though. The Memorial City article is a work in progress which will take a while, but the many anchors that have changed and the anchors that were announced in the late 1990's but never made it there make it a good story. The new camera really takes much better images and the blog will look much better than before so there are many things on the way.

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  3. This probably won't help your research much, but I did come across a very, very short video clip of inside Northwest Mall in 1969. I guess it's from an old KHOU newsreel that the Houston Public Library was able to add to their collection. You really can't see much, but maybe it'll give you some idea of how NW and Almeda Malls looked from a decor perspective back then. The video is on this link. You have to click the link that you accept the disclaimer on the left side, then select "N.W. Mall Kid Traffic School" far down on the right side, and then press the play button. There's also an interesting video of the Spring Goodyear Blimp Base construction (click "Blimp Base"). Of course, the Spring Deauville Fashion Mall was built right next to that base.

    Some other KHOU/HPL vintage footage that might be of interest to you might be this footage of a 1974 disco era Randall's store (click "police boat"), 1974 footage from inside a GEMCO store (click "weights"), 1970 footage of the new Central Plaza mall (it is unclear to me what this is exactly) (click "New Mall), 1974 footage of inside a TV department at a mall store (I'm not sure which store this is if it's even a Houston store, but maybe it's a Joske's?) (click "Nixon Resignation").

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  4. The website on those links is down, so I will have to check them out later. I think the Central Plaza Mall is located in Lubbock, well at least the name is the same.
    There is a major outdoor center (600,000 sq. ft) that will open up near Kingwood in 2015 so the Northeast side may finally be getting some attention from retailers and restaurants that would not have touched the area 5 years ago. The skyscraper page forum city compilation thread for Houston has all kinds of development information, not just skyscrapers. Of course right now, the page is going crazy because several major developments are being announced weekly.

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  5. The HPL website those videos are on isn't very user intuitive. The video player won't come up unless you click the red text saying "I have read and accept the terms of the disclaimer" first on the left side. Then you can select the video from the right side and then press play. Hopefully that will work.

    I did read about the Kingwood town center type thing that they are building. It looks somewhat similar to the Cypress town center complex that was built some years ago. The East/Northeast/Kingwood parts of town have always been one of Houston's best kept secrets, but maybe there is some real growth potential out that side. It's really quite unfortunate that so many downtown commuters are choosing to live way out on 290 and past Katy when there is a lot of room in the Kingwood area with a better commute. Of course, growth has some serious drawbacks as well. I'm sure those living on the Eastex don't want 290-type traffic for example.

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  6. I am sure that traffic will continue to grow on the Eastex Freeway because of the conversion to I-69 that is taking place North of the city. The recently completed Beltway 8 Northeast portion is seeing major development in several areas. Add the theme park that is planned and the connection to the Grand Parkway that is under construction just north of Porter and the area is going to start getting attention.

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  7. I heard about that proposed theme park up near New Caney or so. I think it is called Grand Texas or something. It seems kind of hokey to me and probably won't do much to change the stereotypes that anything past Kingwood on the NE side is full of rednecks, but I guess we'll see. It might be a bit unfair to compare that operation to some other failed Houston theme parks with more attractive names like Six Flags Astroworld, Hanna-Barbera Land (which is now the Splashtown near Spring-Cypress and I-45), or Busch Gardens. Of course, there was also Playland Park as well where there was a race track that AJ Foyt raced at very early in his career and many other failed amusement parks in the area.

    The obvious downside to growth is definitely traffic, but there are other potential downsides that may or may not occur especially as it relates to retail. There's always the potential that shopping center developers (as well as other stuff like apartments) may overestimate the demand for the area and that could lead to a lot of under-utilized shopping centers like what happened on parts of FM 1960. We'll see though. I think Kingwood is a strong area and I don't think it will be due for a major demographic shift anytime in the foreseeable future. I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so. We'll see. Of course, Deerbrook Mall is and has been pretty strong for the last several years so I don't think that is any concern.

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    1. I think Deerbrook is set up well for success over at least the next 10 years. If another developer tries to create a mall to the Northeast in the near future I think Deerbrook still has the advantage. I don't think that will happen but you never know, the growth of Houston will cause developers to launch projects with a low chance of success.

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  8. I'm not really sure where to put this, but I came across an interesting recent article discussing the legal battle Triyar is having collecting money from their insurer, Fireman's Fund Insurance, over Hurricane Ike damage at Greenspoint Mall and San Jacinto Mall. It seems that Triyar wants $50 million, the insurance company actually wants Triyar to repay $23 million in benefits already paid under their policy.

    I don't think that I was aware of this legal battle going on, but it is quite interesting. Of course, as we well know, it's not the first time Greenspoint Mall was a part of a significant legal battle. Perhaps this could at least partially explain the distressed physical state of both Greenspoint and San Jacinto Malls. It's a bit interesting to think what might happen to these malls depending on what is decided either in court or in settlements. If Triyar is able to collect some or all of what they want, will the physical state of those two malls improve significantly? If they aren't able to collect, will that spell further doom for these malls? I think it will be interesting to see what happens.

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    1. It appears that San Jacinto had the worst damage from the storm. Many sections of the mall including the now closed off corridors had water leaks. There are some sections near the JCPenney where the skylights are boarded up since the hurricane.

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  9. Part I:

    I think Deerbrook Mall, as with all the other Homart designed Houston area malls, are looking good for the next 10 years at least. The chances of someone building another indoor shopping mall (at least of the non-outlet variety, but even then) in Northeast Houston in the foreseeable future seems very, very unlikely. There might be power centers, more outdoor lifestyle/town centers like the proposed Kingwood one, and perhaps outdoor outlet malls that could be built further Northeast, but I don't think that those will hurt Deerbrook too much. Obviously power centers do well in Houston and some of the outdoor outlet malls are seemingly doing okay, but I think there is still a demand for indoor shopping here in Houston. I think Deerbrook is close enough to the money in Kingwood and Atascocita to maintain a powerful enough shopper base. Even if something unbelievable happened and someone built a large indoor mall out in New Caney or something in the next few years, I would think that Deerbook would still be in a very favorable position and that the new mall might end up being a more northernly Mall of the Mainland type deal. I guess there's always a possibility that Humble may decline to a point where the more wealthy shoppers may want to avoid it, but I don't see Humble becoming a Sharpstown or Greenspoint type area anytime soon. Then again, aimless development of stuff like apartments and shopping centers could drag the area down. Hopefully that will not happen.

    Yes, it certainly seems like San Jacinto Mall was impacted the most by Hurricane Ike. I would imagine that most of the money that Triyar is looking for is for repairs at San Jacinto, but perhaps some of the roof problems/leaks at Greenspoint Mall were caused by Hurricane Ike and will be costly to repair. I'm not sure about that. I would say that San Jacinto Mall has more to gain and more to lose depending on if repairs are made or not. There's still more than a glimmer of hope for San Jacinto Mall as it still has some big name anchors and it is in an area where the competition is perhaps not so strong. Sure, the mall is probably too big for the area, but some repairs and renovations may go a long way. Granted, parts of the mall have been in sad shape since Ike and Ike was quite some time ago. So much time has passed that repairing San Jacinto Mall's reputation might be difficult at this point. As for Greenspoint, well, it's going to be a struggle there regardless if the leaks and stuff like that are repaired. Of course, fixing that stuff can only help.

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    1. The San Jacinto Mall has been declining for years as the population of the trade area has increased. The mall desperately needs a renovation and will not get the modern stores that shoppers want in the malls of today without one. A major renovation with demolition of the dead anchors and dead corridors needs to happen for the mall to prosper. A complete rebuild of the interior mall is an ideal scenario, but it will likely not happen.

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  10. On a different topic, I know we discussed mall ads on the radio in the Mall of the Mainland discussion. Well, I heard a couple of mall radio ads this past week in anticipation of the tax free weekend. One was a Katy Mills Mall spot on 99.1 FM. That isn't shocking as Katy Mills has done quite a few radio ads, but it seemed to me that the voiceover on the ad said that the mall was on "Pine Oak Rd." instead of Pin Oak. Maybe I just heard things wrong, but I thought that was rather odd. The more surprising ad that I heard was one for Northwest Mall on 104.1 FM. 104.1 FM probably isn't the cheapest station to advertise on so it was a bit odd to hear a NW Mall spot on there. I guess 104.1 and some other stations had appearances at the mall this past weekend. The ad wanted people to "rediscover NW Mall." I'm not really sure if NW Mall is the best "Back to School" shopping destination, but at least the mall is trying to promote itself. I don't listen to 104.1 FM all that often so perhaps NW Mall radio ads aren't all that unusual, but it's the first time that I've heard a NW Mall radio ad that I can remember.

    Speaking of back to school shopping and Northwest Mall, do you remember BizMart stores in Houston before Kmart-OfficeMax brought them out? I'm quite sure that there was one at Northwest Mall because I have memories of shopping there. Anyway, I was looking at some of their store brand products last weekend (hanging folders or something, I don't remember) and I saw that the shell company listed as the company behind those store brand products was BizMart. Odd, but perhaps OfficeMax has to use that name to keep trademarks active or something. If nothing else, I guess recycling an old name makes things easy. I thought that was interesting though because I don't think I've seen the BizMart name in a long time. Of course, OfficeMax is a bit of an odd company as it was mostly owned by Kmart at one time and also merged with an office store chain, Office World, that was largely backed by Montgomery Ward. Talk about an interesting history! We'll have to see how things go for OfficeMax with their merger with Office Depot. Of course, the people who started Office Depot got their start by building a hardware store chain, Mr. HOW, that was sold to Service Merchandise and later Kmart-Builders Square. It's odd how these things work out sometimes, isn't it?

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    1. I also heard the commercial for NW Mall last week, which is a sign the mall is going to stay as is. There were rumors of a complete demolition and rebuild of the mall as a lifestyle center. I am not sure what is going to happen now and if Macy's will ever come back. There has been no news in a few years about the redevelopment of Northwest.
      I remember BizMart and I think Nolan Ryan was a spokesperson for their commercials. There was a location on I-45 near the former Toys R Us by Greenspoint Mall. The office stores of today do not have much difference in prices or selection of products so unless there is a major breakthrough in the office store segment each of these brands will continue to struggle. Office store companies overbuilt stores as they expanded into several big name shopping center projects in the 1990's and 2000's, but now these companies as hurting. I didn't know about Office World or Mr. HOW so I will have to look into those companies.

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  11. Another addition to our future collection are some awesome pictures sent in by one of our readers from the Riverwalk Mall in New Orleans in the final days of business. That mall has been completely closed down and the crews are completely gutting the mall interior in preparation of a complete rebuild of the mall into an Outlet Mall which will open in 2014. The mall which had 140 store and restaurant spaces will have 75 anticipated store and restaurant spaces when the mall reopens.

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  12. I heard that the people behind Northwest Mall wanted to wait to see what would happen with the 290 construction and the proposed Hempstead Hwy. redevelopment plans before they made any decisions about the future of the mall. I don't know if anything has changed since then, but perhaps the operators intend on keeping the mall more or less as is for the time being if they are marketing the mall as it is now. NW Mall has more or less operated as an anchorless mall for the last several years so it's actually somewhat impressive that it has done as well as it has. I know that the old JCPenney has the antique mall now, and maybe that does help drive traffic to the mall, but I don't know how much of a connection there is between the antique mall shoppers and the shoppers of the stores within the mall. I don't know what Macy's will do with that location. NW Mall is close enough to The Galleria, which perhaps has too many Macy's as it is, that I really don't see that location reopening. On the other hand, Macy's only has one location (I'm counting the Willowbrook Mall stores as one location) in all of the vast parts of NW Houston. Of course, NW Mall is so far away from the wealthy sections of NW Houston that aren't really close to Willowbrook Mall so it may only work if NW Mall becomes a popular stop for commuters living in places like Cypress and beyond. Perhaps the commuter strategy works for the Almeda Mall location though so it's hard to say. It would surprise me a bit of that Macy's did open again, but I was a bit surprised when the Almeda Mall location reopened so who knows.

    I don't really remember if Nolan Ryan did commercials for BizMart, but maybe he did. Nolan Ryan has endorsed a lot of things over the years. I know that there was an older OfficeMax south of Greenspoint Mall that I believe has been closed for several years now. I think it was near where the old Goodson Honda dealership used to be before they moved further north. I believe there was a Best Buy across the freeway from that location. I don't know if that is the Toys R Us location that you are talking about because I don't really remember if there was a Toys R Us there or not.

    It is true that there isn't much difference between the major office store chains. That said, Staples has been dominating the sector for whatever reasons. I think the OfficeMax-Office Depot merger may be a good idea as there probably isn't room for three different chains. The merged company will probably still have less market share than Staples, but hopefully it will be enough to keep them surviving. The Chronicle had an article earlier this year discussing what might happen to some OfficeMax and Office Depot locations that are located near each other. It is expected that some of those locations will close, but we'll have to see which ones survive and which ones get cut. We have a couple of spots here near me that have OfficeMax and Office Depot stores near each other. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

    It is sometimes possible to tell small differences between the office supply stores. I feel that OfficeMax has the best selection of office furniture, but perhaps their technology selection isn't quite as good as it used to be even though the other two have stayed more stable in that area. I've heard some people say that Office Depot has office supplies in flashy designs and colors. Some people like that. I know that our office switched recently from being supplied by Corporate Express/Staples to OfficeMax. One interesting thing is that Staples tried to merge with Office Depot about 15 years ago, but the FTC blocked that plan.

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    1. That was the last news I heard as well about Northwest Mall. If the Macy's at Sage in the Galleria closes I think Northwest will reopen. The Macy's at Sage is supposed to stay open until a replacement anchor or other development is able to take that spot.
      I am sure that some Office Max/Office Depot store locations that are close will close similar to what happened with the banks in 2008-2009 when Wells Fargo and others took over struggling banks. They will pick the best locations to live on and hopefully as many people as possible will keep their jobs through the transition.

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  13. you should do a page for town and country mall and tie it in with memorial city mall. since MCM was "the winner" over town and country . they got Dillard's, but waited until Lord and Taylor left to get Penney's but never got Neiman Marcus or saks. MCM is starting to fall in my opinion, the area seems over retailed they built shops on the conner of gessner and I10 but never filled them. MCM Dillard's and jc Penney is empty and the mall is packed with people just walking .do you all think city Centre and the village are putting a dent into the mall and trying to take over again?

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    1. I have a Town and Country post with my only photo of the old mall on the blog. I plan on updating that older post along with many others in 2014. I would have to say that Memorial City is one of the strongest malls in the Houston area. If anything has taken away sales it would be the massive shopping centers at Bunker Hill with Costco and on the other side of Bunker Hill with HEB and many other stores. Memorial City has a bright future ahead with the energy corridor growth and several new high density residential developments off I-10.

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    2. I would have to agree with je about Memorial City Mall. Memorial City may be the strongest mall in Houston after The Galleria. It does not have a lot of high end retail, but that's not uncommon for Houston malls outside of The Galleria. Memorial City Mall is not only able to draw significantly from the heavily populated and relatively wealthy Katy area, but it is also surrounded by the wealthy Memorial villages.

      Although Memorial City Mall does have a reputation for being a traffic and parking nightmare, I'm not aware of any other negative stereotypes about Memorial City. Thus, I'm not really concerned about about Memorial City Mall declining anytime soon. I think Katy is big enough and has enough wealth that a regular mall (not an outlet mall like Katy Mills) in that area could be successful. Memorial City may struggle if that ever happens, but it seems unlikely that another regular indoor mall will be built anytime soon. Plus, Memorial City is surrounded by enough wealth and population (including I-10 work commuters) that it may still do well even with increased competition.

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  14. found this interesting picture of a nearly identical lord and taylor that opened in 1978 at memorial city mall but at Burlington mall in MA. where to send?

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  15. you should include this photo in your memorial city mall page
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explorer#view=photo&position=2008&with_photo_id=10278529&order=date_desc&user=877282
    this is nearly identical to the former lord and taylor that was originally at the mall that was built in 1978.

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