Monday, February 3, 2014

Mall of the Mainland March 20, 1991 - January 29, 2014


I am hoping that this article will inspire debate about the future of the property that will lead to a plan that will create jobs and bring the property back to life. This article has been in the works for several months and I hope my readers will enjoy it. This article will have future updates on the progress at the mall and as always comments are appreciated.

Mall of the Mainland was announced to the public on June 13, 1989 by The Herring Marathon Group Sears and Dillard's had already purchased plots of land at the property ahead of the announcement. Sears announced plans to close at the Galvez Mall when the new store opens at Mall of the Mainland. JCPenney was announced as the 3rd anchor on October 14, 1989 and closed their downtown Texas City location to open at the mall. Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. was brought in as a partner of the mall in October 1989. Construction of the mall began in late 1989 after 11 years of planning and waiting for the economy to improve enough to build the mall. The mall was planned to host 5 anchor stores and a cinema. The mall was planned to include 110 store and food court spaces, but only leased 51% of the store space by the time of the opening. The mall opened with 31 stores and 4 department stores on March 20, 1991. Several of the interior stores were still under construction when the mall opened. In September of 1991 the mall was half-full of interior stores and was already seen as struggling. The mall was built on the anticipation of nearby population growth. Foley's signed on to build a massive 150,000 square foot store at the mall on October 6, 1993 when mall interior occupancy was at 58%. The Foley's opened on October 26, 1994. October 29, 1997 came with the announcement that DeBartolo had given up the mall to Mainland Holding Company/ Chase Bank owing over 61 million. In 2002 the mall was sold to Triyar COS; Bob Yari and Kim Mateen who also owned the Greenspoint and San Jacinto Malls. Occupancy in 2002 was 65% at the mall and the new owners planned to increase tenants to the mall. Affordable Furniture opened in September of 2006. In 2007 the mall was purchased in 2007 by the Brentwood group and by 2010 Pacific National Bank took over the mall when the previous owners fell into bankruptcy. In September 2008 the mall was closed after Hurricane Ike but reopened by September 18. Boxer was hired to manage the property. Boxer had helped several malls including Sharpstown now PlazAmericas come back to life.The value of the mall had plummeted since the mall opened in 1991. Boxer was released in late 2012 and the property was put up for sale starting at 15.4 million. The mall had several ups and downs over the years. Every new management team brought new stores and helped increase sales for a short time, but the small gains were never sustained for long periods of time. Many sections of the mall never had stores and stayed covered up by sheet rock and were painted with murals or fake storefronts. The highest occupancy for the interior of the mall was around 70%.

Here we are less than 2 years since Macy's closed at the mall. As of January 30, 2014 the rest of the interior of the mall is now closed to the public. This is a mega-post with the history, store lists, photos, and possible future plans for the mall site. Several notable events occurred to bring the mall to the closing point. October-December 2005- JCPenney pulls out and opens at Baybrook Mall. September 2008- Dillard's is damaged by Hurricane Ike and is subsequently closed. FEMA moved into the Dillard's for two years. January- March 2012- Macy's closes at the mall. January 7, 2013- Half of the mall (End of the food court to Dillard's) is sealed off to the public. November 2013- The rest of the interior of the mall closed on January 30, 2014 two days earlier than the original closure date of Feb 1st. Palais Royal, Cinemark, Affordable Furniture, and Sears will remain open for now. Several photo sets will show the decline of the mall from January 2012 through January 2014. The closure of Macy's and the opening of the nearby Tanger Outlets was the tipping point that sealed the fate of Mall of the Mainland. I made purchases on each trip to the mall, but there needed to be more support to keep this mall alive.

Events outside of the mall that had an impact on the mall.
Mid 1990’s- Galvez Mall closes.
1990- Lone Star Outlet Mall opens down the street from the Mall of the Mainland site off I-45.
1991- Mainland Crossing shopping center opens across from the mall with Phar-mor, Walmart, and Sam’s Club.
Early 2000's- Walmart relocates across the Interstate.
September 2005 Hurricane Rita.
September 2008 Hurricane Ike. 
October 19, 2012 -Tanger Outlets opens down the freeway from the mall.
March 21, 2013- Sams Club relocates next to the Walmart.  

Store List 1999

Aerial Communications
Afterthoughts
Airbrush Wizards
Bath & Body Works
Camelot Music
Carlton Cards
Claire’s Boutique
Corn Dog 7
Diamond Express
Dillard’s
Dippin' Dots
Dr. Claudio A. Lagunas
Electronics Boutique
Elegance Jewelry
Eyemasters
Fashion Nails
Foley's
Foot Locker
FootAction USA
Formal Gallery
4 Ever Young
Gala Hallmark
Garfield's Restaurant & Pub
GNC
Gold Time
Gordon’s Jewelers
Hallmark
Hello Josephine Philly
JB'S Wrestling World
JCPenney
JCPenney Styling Salon
Joanne Fabric & Crafts
Just About A $1
Kay Jewelers
Lam's
Lane Bryant
Lerner New York
Management Office
Manchu Wok
Mastercuts
Merchant Bank ATM
Metabolife
Movies 12
Original Cookie Co.
Palais Royal
Perfumeria
Point of View
Radio Shack
Regis Hairstylists
Rockview Christian Bookstore
Schwartz's
Sears
Sears Automotive Service
Shaheen Silver Jewelry
Shoe Dept.
Smartecart Stroller Rental
Subs & Spuds
Sweet Factory
Texas Emporium
Thai's Fine Gifts
Things Remembered
Ticketmaster
Tilt
Verizon Wireless
Villa Pizza
Vitamin World
Waldenbooks
Watches & Gifts
Wheelchair Rental
Zales

Photos from January 2012
The Macy's was about a week into the closing sale at this point. 
The fake storefronts really make this mall unique. Coastal Dive Shop and Gautreaux's Cajun Seafood.
More fake storefronts Captain Dave's Fishing Charters, Shelly's Souvenirs, and Surf Shop.  
The center court of the mall, where most of the action was at. 
The mall had just reopened earlier in the week after a heavy rain and possible tornado damaged the mall. You can see bags and fans that were being used to dry the air inside of the mall. Several stores had their carpet removed from this event.  
The former Tilt in the center of this picture, was walled off after the roof collapsed during the storm. 
The lighting in the mall really made this mall look cool. You will see this view later in the final days of the mall and the difference is huge.  
Here we start in the section of the mall that was closed on January 7, 2013. 
Sam Goody, had kiosks inside of the store. 
Gordon's and the candy machines that were moved to the food court. 
A row of stores that included Foot Locker
Shipman Sailing Supply (fake store) and the former Zales Jewelry store.
 On the other side of the JCPenney court the former Kay Jewelers and the plane for the kids.  
The former JCPenney entrance
Inside of the JCPenney, I am not sure if they removed the ceiling tiles before or after Hurricane Ike. 
The skylights looking up from the front of the JCPenney entrance.
The food court mural looking from the JCPenney entrance. 
Looking from JCPenney towards Dillard's. 
Looking down towards the food court from in front of the JCPenney. 
The Lerner store
Inside of the former Lerner store. 
More fake storefronts Bike Shop, and Camera, Film, and More. 
Down by the former Dillard's from a slightly different angle. 
Inside of the former Dillard's. 
Eye Masters was renamed as Visionworks for a short while and finally closed. 
These stores which were being used by a church were once recruiting offices for several Military branches. 
This long section of never used mall space had a food court mural.
T-Body on the left closed not too long after this picture was taken. 
TWIC put up a simple sign and did not bother to cover up the Just About $1.00 sign. 
Sears 
Affordable Furniture was once a JoAnn Crafts store. 
The exit near Sears. 
Looking from the Sears entrance to the mall.
The furniture is no longer affordable, lol.
Outdated movie posters. The posters were changed in the summer but that was the last time they would be changed. 
Looking from near Sears towards the food court. 
Palais Royal still has an old school entrance. 
The fountain
Yet another store temporarily closed because of the storm damage. 
The B&B news stand closed not too long after this picture was taken. 
A view of one of the bags to vent the air in the mall. 
Photo Depot never reopened after the storm damaged the floor. The Finish Line was there until around May and is now open at the nearby Tanger Outlets. 
Ironically this is where the mall was sealed off January 7, 2013. The jewelry store on the left is where the mall ends now. 
Waldenbooks just before the sign was removed. Since the gate was open, I was able to easily take a peek inside.
Inside of the Waldenbooks
Gordon's Jewelers and a different short lived church in the mall.
More Waldenbooks, this was the only Houston area Waldenbooks store left that still had signage up.
The empty block of stores with Foot Locker on the far left and Sam Goody in the middle. 
Facing towards Dillard's with Sam Goody on the right. 
Lens Crafters and the former Dillard's. 
The exit in the Dillard's wing. 
JCPenney again from a different angle. 
One of the stores near the former JCPenney, I can't recall which one though. 
The center court again. 
This space was later reopened less than a year before the mall closed as another bar. 
Pay phones in 2012! The former Tilt is in the background.
The cinema entrance
The outside of the bar from the above interior picture. 
Follow the tubes to the restroom. You will notice in later photos that the above sign is no longer lit up either. 
The Corndogs restaurant merged with the Hamburger place that was one space further to the left of this picture. The restaurant to the right was opened shortly after as La Pizzaiolo which was one of the best pizza places I have ever had in a mall. 
You can see the Texas Burger and Fries and Aloha Java Juice in this picture. 
Looking into the Palais Royal. 
Relaxation reopened and operated until the end of the mall. The store with the lights on was used as a Halloween store in 2012.
The Perfume Plus moved across the hall next to Palais Royal and operated until the end of the mall.
Footaction operated until the end of the mall.
Camelot Music, later FYE was one of the last mall music stores to close in the Houston area. 
Sears had started closing earlier than the rest of the mall, but still remains open. 
When this picture was taken, you could rent Scream 4 at Blockbuster. 
The skylights at the mall entrance near Sears. 
Looks like the interior sign was not the only one that was missing lights.  

May 2012
Dillard's again.
The neon did not come on until later that afternoon. 
The Texas Burger and Fries must have merged with the Corndogs Heaven. Once this place closed, La Pizzaioli had Corndogs and Fries on special. 
Hello Josephene was here until the last week of the mall.

The Macy's closed in March 2012. 
The exterior of JCPenney
More from Macy's
Shortly after these pictures were taken, the windows were boarded up. 
The mall entrance near Dillard's. 
One of the Mall signs that advertised specials or store openings. 
Inside of the Lerner store again, but during the day.
The skylights near JCPenney. 
Looking from near JCPenney towards Dillard's. 
Inside the former Kay Jewelry store through the window. 
The Kay jewelry store with the kiddy airplane.
The row of empty stores near JCPenney.
Another view of the empty stores near JCPenney.
Facing the food court near the former Gordon's. 
Sam Goody again.
The sunset provided some cool images of the center court of the mall.
The center court, notice the bags from January are gone. 
The front of Macy's/ Foley's. 
Looking inside of the store before the windows were boarded up. 
Looking towards the food court from the front of the Macy's. 
The infamous postcard that was never updated. The dreams of this mall being a major success never really worked out. 
Sears
Another version of the mall map from near Sears. 
The inside of the Just About $1.00 store. 
Looking into Affordable Furniture. 
Looking towards the food court from Sears. 
Looking towards Sears/ Macy's from in front of Palais Royal. Perfume Plus was open but did not move their sign over for a while. 
Aloha Java Juice was actually open in this picture. The food court space was hardly open on any of my visits over the years even at the end of the mall. 

Store List 2001
4 Ever Young
Afterthoughts
Airbrush Wizzards
Bath & Body Works
Camelot Music
Carlton Cards
Claire's Accessories
Corn Dog 7
Diamond Express
Dillard’s
Dippin' Dots
Electronics Boutique
Elegance Jewelry
Eyemasters
Fashion Nails
Foley’s
FootAction USA
Foot Locker
Formal Gallery
Gala Hallmark
Garfield's Restaurant & Pub
General Nutrition Center
Gold Time
Gordon’s Jewelers
Great American Cookie
Hello Josephine
JCPenney
Joann Fabric & Crafts
Just About a $1
Kay Jewelers
Lane Bryant
Lerner New York
Manchu Wok
MasterCuts
Movies 12
Palais Royal
Perfumeria
Point of View
Radio Shack
Rave
Regis Hairstylists
Rockview Christian Bookstore
Schwartz's
Sears
Shaheen Jewelry
Sweet Factory
Texas Emporium
Thai's Fine Gifts
The Shoe Department
Things Remembered
Tilt
Time Shades
Verizon Wireless
Villa Pizza
Vitamin World
Voicestream Wireless
Waldenbooks
Y'alls Texas Store

Zales

December 2012
Sometime after the May visit, the neon lighting was turned off to the mall. Little did I know at the time that half the mall was about two weeks away from being closed off. There is a major difference in the appearance of the mall with the decorative lighting turned off. My cell phone camera which was going to crap really did not like the dim mall.  

Looking from near Dillard's towards the JCPenney court. 
The row of empty stores near JCPenney looks worse in dim lighting. 
Near Waldenbooks close to where the mall was walled of in January 2013.
The center court 
As you can see from the time stamp in these pictures, this was a major shopping day for most centers. The loss of the three anchors and Tanger Outlets opening nearby killed this mall. 

Crimes at the mall (from the Houston Chron archives and Galveston Country News archives)
July 1991 shots fired inside of a theater into the ceiling. 
Years of 2005 and 2006- Several car burglaries and store thefts were reported.
July 2005- A few days before JCPenney announced their store would close, the store was burglarized and $100,000 estimated in jewelry stolen.
July 2005- Shoe salesman robbed inside of his vehicle.
August 2005- Gordon’s Jewelers robbed.
March 2006- Purse snatched but recovered after one of the women attacked the vehicle of the perpetrators.
June 2006- Purse snatched.
August 2006- Gordon’s Jewelry was robbed after the store opened.
October 2006- Two teenagers were robbed inside of the Tilt.
January 2007- A Cinemark employee was robber at closing time.
January 2009- Purse snatched elderly woman injured.
December 2009- A man was robbed in the parking lot while waiting for the mall to open.
March 2011- Purse snatched.
August 2011- Macy’s a man allegedly stole almost $3,000 of jewelry, roughed up a loss prevention employee, and bit a police officer.
July 2012- Mall store owner robbed and kicked in the throat by shop owner.
July 2013- Bomb threat hoax at the cinema.

Mall Events
Art Shows
Beauty Pageants
Blood drives
Broadway pianist played in the food court
Car shows
Fossils LTD store in 2006 selling Fossils
Immunizations
Model Train show
Petting Zoo
Santa Claus
Taste if the Town
Veterans Day Salute

Strange incidents at the mall.
February 1994 Customers allegedly denied entry into the Power Play (later Tilt) arcade due to the color of flannel T-shirts by security.  
September 2006- Feds investigate the Fossils LTD store because of some of the items that were shipped to the store. Nothing illegal was found and the store opened in October.
August 2009- 3 shoppers detained and kicked out of the mall for their chain wallets violating the dress code of the mall.
January 9, 2012- Heavy rain, strong winds, and a small tornado hit the mall. A portion of the roof of Sears is damaged and another section of roof (former Tilt store) collapses. The inside of the mall near the food court is flooded.
March 2012- Mall is locked down when a child goes missing, but is found hiding inside of the Sears store.
July 2012- An electrical box caught fire inside of the mall.


Rumors
Cinemark is looking for a new site in the area. (2013)
College of the Mainland was interested in purchasing the mall. (2013)
Kohl’s at the mall in the former JCPenney space. (2007)
The City made an offer for the mall but was rejected. (2012)
Will Sears remain at the mall? (2011)

Entertainment and mall services.
Airplane in the former JCPenney court (during the Boxer era).
Boat in the Sears court (during the Boxer era).
Candy machines in several spots in the mall.
Coke Machines in 2 locations in the mall.
Hurricane Simulator.
Pay Phones until 2012.
2 Photo Booths.
Playground in the food court.
Water fountain in the center of the mall, (shut down in late 2013).

February 2013 
The mall is now sealed off just past the food court. The area from Sears to the food court and cinema is all that is left now. This visit was in the evening time and the mall was mostly empty. 
The TWIC sign and Just About a $1.00 sign is gone. 
The mall map 
A close look at the stores on the directory. The list had not been updated since 2012 when Macy's closed. 
The exit near Sears. 
Macy's with the boarded up entrances is never a good sign when you arrive at a mall.
Here is where the mall was sealed off. There will be better quality pictures further down. 
The view from the highway (FM 1764) of the mall with the boarded up Macy's dominating the view. 
April 2013
Looking towards the closed off section of the mall.
Former Subway
The food court
The fountain and the bar which was open. 
The former Texas Burger and Aloha Java Juice
Looking towards Sears, Perfume Plus finally moved their sign. 
The Texas Burger/ Corndogs Heaven was closed. 
The Camelot Music store, better quality photos further down in the post. 
More shots of the stores that remain.
You gotta love the fake storefronts. 
Two real stores just past the two fake storefronts. One was a hair salon and the other a nail salon.
I hope nobody went looking for this place, it was long gone when this picture was taken. 
Looking towards the center court from the front of Affordable Furniture. 
The movie ads were updated, no more Scream 4. These ads were mostly intact when the mall closed.  
The corner near Sears had more empty space and this former office (2nd picture). I never saw this office used, what was here?

Store List 2004

4-Ever Young
Air Force
Army
B&B Home Decor
Bath & Body Works
Breeze
Cafe Milano
Carlton Cards
Claire's Accessories
Corn Dog 7
Diamond Express
Dillard's
Dippin' Dots
Dollar World
Duran's BBQ
Electronics Boutique
Elegance Jewelry
Embroidery Express  
Everland
Eyemasters
Fashion Nails
Foley's
Foot Locker
Footaction USA
FYE Music & Movies
General Nutrition Center
Gold Time
Gordon's Jewelers
Hello Josephine
JCPenney
Joann Fabrics & Crafts
Kay Jewelers
Lane Bryant
Learner New York
Leather Plus
Mainland Newsstand
Marines
MasterCuts
Movies 12
Navy
Paradise
Perfumeria
Point of View
Radio Shack
Rave
Regis Hairstylists
Rockview Christian Bookstore
Sam's Hobbies
Sears
Shades Express
Shaheen Silver Jewelry
Shoe Department
Sweet Factory
T-Body
Texas Emporium
Thai's Fine Gifts
Things Remembered
Tilt
Uptown
ValuFloor America
Villa Pizza
Vitamin World
Waldenbooks
Zales

April 2013 Photos

More views from FM 1764, as you can see the Macy's stands out above the rest of the mall. 
Dillard's 
JCPenney
Sears
Affordable Furniture
Under the tower at the entrance of the mall.
The view when you walked into the mall.
There were not many changes on this visit. 
The fountain stayed on until just before Christmas in 2013. After the Christmas tree was removed from this spot, a platform covered up the fountain. 

The inside of the former Macy's store was still visible from the mall entrance. 
JCPenney
Dillard's
The Movies 12
The back of Dillard's. The labelscars on the Dillard's building have not faded after over 5 years. 
A few shots of the closed entrance near Dillard's. 

Store List 2008

Affordable Furniture

All Shoes $9.99

ATA Blackbelt Academy

B&B Newsstand

Bath & Body Works

Body Jewelery by Blings.com

C&C Create and Celebrate

Candle Unique

Carlton Cards

Cinemark Movies 12
Claire's Boutique
Colbert Ball Tax Service
Corn Dog 7
Dillard's 
Dollar World
Eyemasters
Fashion Nails
Finish Line
Foot Action USA
Foot Locker
FYE For Your Entertainment
Galveston Island musicals
Gamestop
GNC
Gold & Watches
Gold Time
Gordon's Jewelers
Hello Josephine
In Style 2
Ivy Nails and Spa
Kay Jewelers
Lane Bryant
Macy's
Mainland Cellular & Wireless
Mastercuts
New York and Company
NY Diva
Palais Royal
Perfume Plus II
Photo Depot
Point of View
Quick Fix
Rave
Red Cap Express
Regis Hairstylists
Rockview Christian Bookstore
Royal Formals
Sameer's Accessories
Sears
Shaheen Silver Jewelry
Shoe Department
Sprint
Subway
Sweet Factory
T Mobile Beta Page
T-Body & Monogramming
Tilt
Titan Sunwear
T-Mobile Voicestream
US Armed Forces Air Force Recruiting
US Armed Forces Army Recruiting
US Armed Forces Navy Recruiting
US Armed Forces Marines Recruiting
Villa Pizza
Waldenbooks
Wild Bill's Texas Gourmet Foods & Rustic Furniture
Zales Jewelers

Photos from December 2013

The fountain is shut off. 
The gate was up early to block off access to the cinema. This is the gate that is being used to block off access to the mall now that it is closed. 
Gift wrapping, the mall kept operating as usual until January. 
The former Corndog 7. 
Footaction continued to stay open until 9 pm. 

As you can see the mall had Christmas decorations everywhere just like a normal year at the mall. This would be the last Christmas though for the interior mall.
Now for a quick ride around the mall, again.
This is the sign that greets shoppers near the hotels in front of the mall.
Christmas Eve, very few shoppers inside of the mall. The anchors were busy though. 
The infamous postcard, there has to be an interesting story behind this one. It was never updated and still lists all of the former anchors that were at the mall. 
Zoomed in on the closed entrance

The signs on the JCPenney doors are simple. Store closed, moved to Baybrook Mall, Phone number and Thank you.
The delivery area of Macy's/ Foley's.
The boarded up entrance of the mall.
Looking inside of the former FYE/ Camelot music store. 
Looking inside of the former Finish Line.
The inside of the "convention center" with a diagram of the mall.
Inside of the former EB games/ Gamestop.

November 2011 Store List 

Affordable Furniture 
B&B News Stand
Bath & Body Works 
Boost Mobile
Claire's Boutique
Classic Color Photo
Corndog's Heaven
Customer Service Mall Office
Elyza Diamonds
Eye Masters 
Fashion Nails 
Finish Line
First Class Seats/Massage Chairs 
Foot Action USA
Forever Famous
Glamorous
Gold Time
Gold-N-Watches
Gordon's Jewelers
Hello Josephine
Incense & More 
Lane Bryant 
Mall Office
Macy's 
Mastercuts 
Movies 12
Overlay Designs
Palais Royal 
Perfect Brow
Perfume Plus II
Photo Fantasy Photo Fun Strips
Qigong Massage 
Relaxation Massage
Royal Formals
Sameer's Accessories
Sears
Security Excorts Mall Office
Shaheen Silver Jewelry
Stinger's Bar & Grill
Subway
T-Body & Monogramming
Texas Burger and Fries
Tilt 
Titan Cellular
Titan Sunwear
T-Mobile 
Villa Pizza 
WaterWalk
Wheelchairs Mall Office  

Photos from January 2014
The sign says it all.
The convention center.
EB games/ Gamestop
B&B Newsstand
La Pizzaioli
Relaxation moved to Pasadena Town Square
Moved nearby 
This kiosk was empty for a long time. 
The fountain as it now stands. 
One of the displays that featured advertisements for the real stores at the mall. Several of these windows were in the mall in locations that were never used for stores. 
A week later the lights had been mostly shut off in the far section of the food court. More stores had moved out. This was less than a week before the interior mall closed for good. Most of the stores did not move out until the last week of January. On my last visit to the mall before it was closed off Footaction and Bath and Body Works were open until 9 pm. Everyone else except the cinema closed early or had closed down. 
This was the last food court restaurant. 
Footaction and Bath and Body Works stayed open until 9 pm.  
A last look at the infamous postcard. 
Going down to the Sears wing you can see all of the remaining plants inside of the mall have been moved to this section of the mall. These would later be used to block off access to the mall. 
Sears will stay open.
Inside of the former B and B newsstand.
Some last photos of the food court. 
I am not sure if the Hangout Bar will stay open. Their last Facebook post was from December and there was no mention of the bar closing. 
This entrance to the mall will remain open as long as the cinema is still operating. 
Sears has this sign and a generic open sign near the top of the building. 
January 31, 2014 the official last day of the mall. The mall actually closed the day before when the last stores moved out. The majority mall was blocked off already, but a portion of the Sears wing was still open. This is all you can see, plants are blocking off any further access to the mall. 
The sign greeting visitors to the mall. Don't go past the plants!
Sears mall entrance and this short section of the mall were still open. Will this section of the mall remain open?
Looking from the small section of the mall that is still open at the cinema. 
The Palais Royal mall entrance was being sealed up. 

Store List February 2013 

Anchors

Cinemark Movies 12
Palais Royal
Sears

Kiosk/Stores

Affordable Furniture
Bath and Body Works
Chinita’s Château De Salon
Claire’s
CLR Jewelers
Fashion Nails
Footaction
Formal Gallery (Royal Formals on directory).
Gold N Watches
Gold Time
Perfect Brow Bar
Perfume Plus 2
Qigong Massage
Relaxation Full Body Massage
Rhythm Babes Dance Company
Sameer’s Accessories
Shaheen Silver

Food Court

Aloha Java Juice
La Pizzaioli
Hello Josephine
The Hangout Bar and Grill (Food Court Mall entrance, opened April 20, 2013)

The mall was originally scheduled to be closed on January 31, 2014. The mall stores closed early and the mall was closed off to the public on January 29, 2014.

February 2014 Store List
Affordable Furniture (Outside entrance rumored to close in June) 
Cinemark Movies 12 (Food Court Mall entrance)
Palais Royal (Outside entrance) 
Sears (Mall entrance and Outside entrance)

122 comments:

  1. Part I:

    Wow, this is a fantastic post about the Mall of the Mainland. There are great photos and content here. For those who don't know, there is a lot of information about the closing of this mall in the user comments section of the Sears Midtown post on this blog. I just posted a comment over there about the mall entryway leading to the Sears mall entrance still being open as of today at least with no significant changes compared to what we saw last Friday. As unthinkable as it may seem, perhaps they will leave that sliver of the mall open? I'd be happy if that is the case even if they wall off the mall side of that entryway as at least there will be one interior section of the mall left. Of course, I guess there would be two left as there is still a tiny part of the mall that is part of the theater entrance.

    The photos are wonderful. To some extent I think the photos make the mall look more spectacular than it really looked (at least when looking at the late 2013/2014 pictures of the mall), but part of that might be that I usually visited the mall during the day and perhaps it looked more spectacular at night. It's hard to say. The lighted ceiling elements made the mall look even more special, but I guess it could be said that it also made the mall look more dated than it looked without those lights.

    There has been a lot of discussion on this site about the history of this mall in user comments in older Mall of the Mainland posts and in the Sears post linked above and I'm sure it will be discussed even further here. I'm glad to see a summary of some of the newsworthy events that happened at the mall over the years. The "Flannelgate" situation sounds interesting and very 1990s-like. I wonder what happened there? As for some of the crime aspects of the mall, some may point to those as being part of the downfall of the mall, but I think a lot of that stuff happens even at successful malls like Baybrook Mall. A tornado hit is never a good thing, but the timing of it was particularly cruel. Ike also happened at a critical time for the mall, but ultimately I don't think the weather situations were the ultimate downfall of the mall. I'm sure we'll discuss this in further detail, but a mall the size of the Mall of the Mainland may have been a surefire loser regardless of anything else. Perhaps any kind of mall in that area would have been a loser. Certainly incompetent leadership throughout the history of the mall (including by the people designing it) helped lead to it's poor history.

    I was not a SE side Houston shopper in the 1990s, but I will try to put myself in the shoes of one. If I lived in that area, would I shop at Baybrook Mall or the Mall of the Mainland? As you know, Montgomery Ward was my store. That pretty much gives the win to Baybrook right then and there. Baybrook also has a larger Sears, but the ease of access to the Mall of the Mainland compared to the traffic in the Baybrook area kind of evens that out if I wanted to buy something from Sears at that time. Anyway, I'm not sure if I can blame shoppers for choosing Baybrook over the Mall of the Mainland. I probably would have done the same thing at least when Wards was still around. It would have been a more even competition after Wards closed, but by then the Mall of the Mainland was already in some trouble. Then again, was there a time where the mall wasn't in trouble?

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    1. I still have a few items that I will post later including summaries of events in the last days of the mall. I also have some video that I will post eventually including a section of the 1st half of the mall that closed. I am hoping this post will get more information from people who shopped at the mall in the early days and merchants.
      I am not sure how many years it would have taken the mall to pay the initial loan off, but I don't think the mall generated enough money to pay off the loan. The department stores are a different story and any one of them could have left the mall much earlier if they were not doing good business.
      The Flannelgate issue was caused by a security guard believing that the flannel shirts were in gang colors and would not let a family enter the arcade. The management of the arcade was in a separate article blaming security and their inconsistency to save face. Flannels were certainly popular in 1994 and I cannot figure out why these individuals were hassled out of the many people wearing these shirts at the time.

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  2. Part II:

    The mall is still listed at a price of $8,860,000. As for the future of the property, it seems unlikely that it will return as a mall. Perhaps it could be turned into a powercenter anchored by Sears and perhaps a grocery store like HEB, but I'm sure that retailers would prefer to be closer to I-45. There is talk about new residential developments being built near the outlet mall. Perhaps that will make retail more viable in that region, but again, I'm sure the retail would prefer to be closer to the freeway. The recent Galveston Daily News article about the mall mentioned that a distribution center would be a good use for the mall. That may not be a bad idea if a business is willing to buy it for that. I don't know who owns the Macy's and other dead anchors so that may make redevelopment more challenging. Sears owns their property. They'll probably sell if the price is right, but I don't know if that will be the case and I don't know if they will put up any resistance to the rest of the mall being turned into something like a distribution center. Aside from warehouse type stuff, I think turning the mall (or part of it) into a medical complex may be viable. UTMB is huge out that way so I guess it depends on what they want. UTMB has a history with mall locations with the Port Holiday Mall if nothing else. Ultimately, tax incentives will probably be necessary for redevelopment, but I don't know how much will be available.

    But, yes, hopefully the mall can be turned into something useful. In the meantime, I hope that the Sears stays open if nothing else and that the entryway to the Sears stays open. If it does, I'll feel like the Mall of the Mainland isn't a 100% dead mall. There will still be a very small part of it that lives on along with the theater entrance (though who knows about the future of the theater). New signage needs to be added to indicate that there are still stores on the property. Sears' signs are better than nothing, but there needs to be more there especially for the other operating anchors.

    I'm not sure if you have noticed or photographed this, but there are still some very visible logos/names of past stores that the mall had on the doors on the outside of the mall between the Macy's and the JCPenney. It's very visible during the day if you drive by that part slowly, but it may not be visible at night. Anyway, that is an interesting reminder of what used to be there.

    Finally, I hope that the Gloria-Nikki postcard and at least one fake storefront gets preserved somewhere. Those are some real "dead mall" gems right there. Sometimes the only things that make "dead malls" truly special in mall history are the memories of the people who shopped there. That's not the case with the Mall of the Mainland. The mall's attempts to disguise it's failings are just as remarkable, if not more so, than the story of why the mall failed in the first place.

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    1. It seems like all of the anchors are owned separately and the JCPenney store is being marketed here but has no price on the ad.
      Well if anything my blog and several other photosets have the postcard up. I think the relation between the Greenspoint zip on the postcard may indicate that the fake storefronts were put up during the Triyar days since they owned both malls. The Belle Promenade Mall I covered here had a similar enthusiastic painting that showed their mall as a major attraction in New Orleans. That mural was painted in a nearly empty mall entrance just past the entrance of a closed Eckerds. I wish I was able to get a photo of that mural, it was hilarious. Researching for that mall was extremely difficult until I was able to locate the opening date of the mall and library research. I may do more of the same with Mall of the Mainland to see if I can compile a list of stores that were in the mall for the grand opening. Maybe even an old rendering of the mall may be out there. The mall took 13 years from the initial plan to the actual opening date of the mall so there are probably alternate plans for the site. I would not be surprised if the backside of the mall was originally planned to host two more anchors like most malls developed in the mid 1980's.
      I have seen the old store names on the back door entrances near Palais Royal and even on the back side of the mall. I know Waldenbooks is still on one of the doors by the Palais Royal.
      I am sure Sears will rethink keeping the mall entrance open during the summer when their light bill goes up significantly from air conditioning the mall through their front door. I wonder why the mall has the music back on, maybe it was the cleaning crew jamming to the mall music. They were doing a great job of keeping the mall in tip-top shape in the last few months it was open. I guess this is another similarity to the Six Flags Mall, the cinema was open and blocked off from the rest of the closed mall. You can hear music in the mall from the cinema there. They also have a similar gate blocking off mall access.

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  3. It would be great to hear some stories and/or see some photos of the Mall of the Mainland in it's early years. It is quite possible that the Gloria-Nikki postcard was put up by Triyar. Perhaps Triyar had some kind of office at or near Greenspoint Mall and they just used that Zip code on the postcard since it was what they knew. It's hard to say. I believe that Triyar still owns the Mainland Crossings shopping center near the mall.

    I don't know when the fake storefronts were painted up. Perhaps they are older than the postcard and stuff like that? I don't know, maybe not. I'm sure the walls covering unoccupied stores had to have some design on them from near the beginning or else it would have looked very dull, but I don't know what was painted and when.

    The anchors being owned separately will make redevelopment more difficult. It won't make things impossible as I'm sure some of the owners would like to get something instead of sitting on those properties. We'll have to see, but if the building is reused pretty much intact on the outside (for a distribution center or something), it's possible that the developers won't need to buy the anchors. Tax breaks or local governmental threats of taking over the land could force action too.

    It's quite possible that the Mall of the Mainland had spots for extra anchors. The area opposite the JCPenney is probably the most obvious area where that would be possible. The backside parking lot isn't very big and that might have limited the potential for a new anchor, but the parking lot kind of juts out near that area so maybe they planned that for the purpose of leaving the option open for an anchor.

    A lot of malls spent many years on the drawing board before they were built. I'm not sure how many changes in the mall plan were made over all those years, but perhaps they should have spent more years thinking things out. I'm not really sure what made them think that Texas City was ready for a large mall in the very early 1990s given that the local economy still wasn't totally recovered at that time and I don't think there was much evidence that the Galveston/Texas City area was destined to boom at that point. Perhaps JCPenney was ready to move out of their old store and Sears was ready to move out of Galvez Mall and maybe that gave the mall developers a false sense of interest for a large mall. As we discussed earlier, Dillard's and Foley's were building stores at just about every mall at that time and they were probably pretty desperate for new malls to open at that point so perhaps that also gave them more of a false sense of growth. Perhaps the mall developers should have known better.

    I guess "Flannelgate" was just a case of mall cops being mall cops. Flannels were certainly popular in the 1990s so that is why that comment in your original post made me laugh. I would normally associate flannel with the gangs of The Woodlands Mall or The Galleria than Mall of the Mainland though!

    I'm not sure why the music was on, but I guess it does not cost a lot to to play the music so they did it. Maybe they turned it on out of habit. As for Sears being concerned about losing their cold A/C air during the summer, that is a good point. Of course, when I was at the mall in September, the mall was very warm and the Sears was cool. Perhaps they are used to it, but that does not change the fact that they could save money if they closed that entrance. Then again, maybe the mall has a zoned A/C system and maybe they can cool that small part of the mall and be conservative elsewhere. I'm not sure why the mall would do that unless Sears made them though. Ultimately, I would be surprised if that part of the mall stays open, but I'm hopeful that it will. We'll see.

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    1. It would be very interesting if that part of the mall contained stores and the rest of the mall was redeveloped into a medical mall like in Kingwood. There is a mall in Jackson Mississippi that was converted into a medical mall but still had a few stores. Here is the link http://www.jacksonmedicalmall.org/
      Not many stores are left, but this could be a useful plan to bring back at least part of the mall.

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    2. I'm from Galveston, so I used to go to Mall of the Mainland a lot and I went there a few weeks after it opened in 1991 when I was about 6 years old. The fake storefronts have been there since the beginning and the postcard was there since at least the mid-90s if not sooner. I always thought they were hilarious and sad at the same time. One of the fake storefronts was a toy store, so as a kid, I got excited thinking that it meant that they would eventually open one where the fake sign was. Of course, they never did.

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    3. Thanks for clarifying the timeline for the fake storefronts. I bet they will start to really fade now since the A/C has probably been shut off to the mall. Well you can still see them here and take a trip through the mall as it was.

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  4. I read about the Jackson Medical Mall some time ago on the SkyCity blog. It is certainly an interesting concept and I think that it could work at the Mall of the Mainland site if the local governments and someone like UTMB support it. The mall has good access even if it isn't very visible (visibility is less of an issue for medical stuff) and the mall is a hub of sorts for the local bus line (which I'm guessing will continue). That is important for medical. It's possible that a medical mall could be built without changing a ton of stuff within the mall. That makes it more cost-effective than some other redevelopment projects that may be just as costly as constructing a new building from scratch. Then again, UTMB doesn't seem to do things on the cheap even if they have a medical mall of sorts with the former Port Holiday Mall. UTMB may want to make massive changes to the building if they ever took it over and that won't be cheap. Plus, there may be structural problems that may have to be fixed. That probably wasn't so much of a problem at places like the Kingwood Deauville Fashion Mall since that was almost new.

    I'm going to try to visit the Mall of the Mainland again this week or next week to see if there are any changes to the Sears mall entrance. I'll report on the changes if there are any. One thing that I should note about my previous visit there earlier this week was that the directory was still there and it was still lit. I'm sure that it hasn't been and won't be updated though.

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  5. I currently still work at the mall as a security officer. There has been talk that someone is interested in buying the property. I know Boxer doesn't want anything to do with the property anymore.

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  6. I still work at the mall as a security officer. Supposedly, someone is already interested in buying the property. For what, I have no idea. They rarely tell us anything about that subject.

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    1. Thanks for your reply, the property is being sold at a bargain right now for the size of the property and location. Since many sections of the property are still open they will need security which is a good thing. I am hoping that the property will come back and more jobs will open up for the community.

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  7. I was able to visit the Mall of the Mainland today and had some interesting observations. The main thing is that the entryway to the Sears mall entrance is still open just as it was last week. However, the Sears mall entrance itself was closed. It looked like this picture that you took except that the lights on the Sears mall entrance sign were on.

    The music wasn't on today. Since the open part of the mall was so quiet, I was able to listen closely and it seems like the HVAC system was running. It's hard to say though.

    I took a quick look behind the planter barricade and it seems like the closed part of the mall looks just the same as it did last week. One interesting thing is that someone left a Sears shopping cart in the area near the mall entrance (where that one vacant office looking storefront is). It'll be interesting to see how long it takes Sears to find that cart. I'm not sure why that part of the mall is still open if Sears isn't going to open their mall entrance, but we'll see. I'll enjoy that part of the mall while it's still open. I hope that it will stay open, but I'm not really sure why they would do that at this point.

    The Affordable Furniture store at the mall was closed. I took a look through the windows and a lot of the inventory was gone and most of what was left was wrapped in bubble wrap. Perhaps that rumor about them closing in June was wrong because it looks like the store is permanently closed now.

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    1. Being a member of Mall of the Mainland's Security team, I can confirm that Affordable Furniture WILL be closing. The Hangout, which is a bar, will be opening however, which will be located across from Tilt, near Movies 12.

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  8. One thing I may have in storage somewhere is one of the mall brochures. I picked up several of them from different malls in the early 2000's. I am not sure which ones I have but I will try to track them down. If I do find one I will scan it and add it to the article. I appreciate the updates as I will no longer make a special trip to the area to see the mall unless something new happens to the property.

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    1. Since I still have access to all of the mall, if you want updated photos, just let me know and I'll snap a few while working.

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  9. Being a member of Mall of the Mainland's Security team, I can confirm that Affordable Furniture WILL be closing. The Hangout, which is a bar, will be opening however, which will be located across from Tilt, near Movies 12.

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    1. I was thinking the Hangout was still open because they had a new Hours of Operation sign on their entrance that was not there before. Is the section of the mall near Sears now closed for good? I would like to see how the mall has changed since closing, but I would not want to cause any trouble for you at your job. Thanks for giving us info on the happenings at the mall.

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    2. No, you're not causing any issues. If you'd like anything like current state photos or anything, let me know.

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    3. You can send any photos to southernmalls@gmail.com
      Just send a reply if you send over any photos because I don't check that email box too often.

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    4. It would be awesome if pictures can be taken of the jcpenney and dillard's

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  10. I visited the Mall of the Mainland's Facebook page and noticed that they updated it a couple of days ago. The update said that the interior of the mall is closed so I decided to visit the mall to see if the mall entrance near the Sears is still open. Unfortunately, the exterior doors to that entrance were locked so I can only assume that that entrance/hallway is now closed to the public. There weren't any signs saying that the mall is closed though. I'm a little surprised that they didn't put something up. I can't say that I'm surprised that the mall decided to close down that entrance since that seems to be the logical decision, but it is a bit disappointing to lose that small part of the mall.

    I also visited the Movies 12 mall entrance and not much has changed there as expected. They still have that metal gate up to close access to the mall. The Hangout Bar & Grill door was open and they had a list of hours by the door as you noticed, but I don't know if it was actually open for business or not. I heard a person talking in there so maybe it is open, but I don't know for sure.

    One interesting point about the Mall of the Mainland's Facebook page is that they now have a link to the mall's LoopNet posting listed as the mall's website. That isn't surprising especially since the mall hasn't had a real website for some time now. Still, it is interesting that they are pushing sales information for the property.

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    1. It looks like the Hangout is still open according to one of the comments. I guess the aggressive marketing of the property will help sell the property, but whoever buys the property will also have to negotiate with the owners of the department store properties also.

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    1. That would be great if Macy's and/or JCPenney returned to the Mall of the Mainland, but I think the chances of that happening are slim to none. Perhaps that could happen if the property was redeveloped into a powercenter or something, but that in itself seems unlikely. Plus, JCPenney already has stores at Baybrook Mall and in League City so I'm not sure why they would want a Texas City store as well.

      Do you know what kind of condition the former JCPenney and Dillard's anchor buildings are in? I've heard rumors that at least one of them is in fairly bad shape inside, but the rumors may not be accurate. Perhaps you have some inside knowledge about the situation.

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    2. I think Dillards had a part of the roof torn off during Hurricane Ike. It looked like they had worked on the ceiling of the first floor. I know FEMA used the building for about a year so the damage should not be bad. The JCPenney store has been empty almost 10 years now so it may have some damage.

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    3. The JCPenny store is totaled. It has no ceiling, wires exposed everywhere, no carpet, mold and a cracked window.

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    1. That is good news, hopefully they have a good plan for the property.

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  13. The rumors about the sale of the mall are interesting. Hopefully we will hear about their plans soon if the sale is completed. These commercial real estate sales can take interesting twists and turns.

    One rumor was that Cinemark would build a new theater near the Tanger Outlet. The Galveston Daily News ran a story about that last week seemingly indicating that Cinemark was close to buying some land near Tanger, but they have apparently pulled out of the deal. I can't read the whole story so I don't know why they would have done this or what it may mean for the Mall of the Mainland Cinemark Movies 12. I suppose this could be good news for the Movies 12, but it's hard to say. I also don't know if these Cinemark rumors have any implications for any other potential Texas City retail developments. I'll try to find out more about the situation if I can figure anything out.

    In other news, it looks Tractor Supply is interested in opening a store in the Mainland Crossings shopping center near the mall. If so, they may take a subdivided part of a former Hobby Lobby store there. Tractor Supply usually doesn't open up stores in expensive/high demand shopping centers so I still think that there isn't huge retail interest for that area, but it's hard to say. The lack of retail interest in that area would hardly be surprising I would say.

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    1. I wonder if Cinemark is going to get a piece of land closer to the Sams Club/ Walmart in Texas City or closer to League City. With the exception of Bucees there has not been any further development of the land near Tanger which may be seen as a negative for the property. The price of the land is probably too expensive for many companies which may be a reason why nothing else has happened yet.

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    2. It is hard to say why Cinemark decided not to purchase the land near the Tanger Outlet. I have heard that someone plans on building a fairly large residential development near Tanger here soon, but I don't know if that will happen or how successful it will be. Of course, there is talk about the amusement park as well. Perhaps locating a theater in La Marque near the Wal-Mart is a better option, but there may be some safety perception issues with having a theater so close to the dog track and the Wal-Mart itself. Parents may not feel safe having their kids out there late at night. I think that locating the theater near League City is a safer bet, but Cinemark already has a large theater in the Clear Lake area so I'm not really sure if they need to compete with themselves that way. Anyway, it is hard to say what is going on without being able to read that Galveston Daily News article. Perhaps I can get access to that article here soon, but I'm not sure.

      I would be interested to know if sales at Tanger are meeting expectations. I'm sure that Tanger is doing better than what the Mall of the Mainland was doing in recent times, but that still may not be enough to prove to developers that the area is ready for prime time development. Maybe Cinemark is just taking a "wait and see" approach. Perhaps the landowners just want too much money as you say and developers are just waiting for the prices to come down. It's hard to say.

      The Mall of the Mainland Sears added one of those air dancer things like this recently to the roof of the store with the words "We Are Open." The words really aren't visible from 1764, but the dancer itself is so perhaps that will prove successful in telling people that the store is open. I think that Sears should put up a sign in front of the mall or rent some billboards in the Texas City area informing people that the store is open, but at least they are trying something to tell people that the store is still open. It's more than Palais Royal and Cinemark are doing, but perhaps Sears knows that they have more at stake long-term with that location since they own the land. I have been to the Sears there a few times since the mall has closed (including a visit this past week) and I've heard customers talk to Sears clerks during every visit about the closing of the mall. I guess it is still a bit of a hot topic amongst shoppers there, but seemingly some are just now finding out that the mall is closed.

      I'm glad that Stevie was able to provide some inside information about the physical state of the JCPenney store. It certainly sounds like it will need a lot of repair work to get it operational for any kind of retail/commercial use.

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    3. After reading several recent articles on the state of Sears/ Kmart I am not sure how long they will continue to operate that store. Especially if the plan to buy the mall happens soon, I am sure Sears will look to sell and raise some cash. The roof dancer seems like an odd idea, but at least it is not as tacky as some of the gigantic creatures that are used on car dealership roofs.

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  14. I was able to read the full article in the Galveston Daily News about the Cinemark situation. I don't remember all the details about it now, but it seems that Cinemark decided not to buy the land due to a dispute over control over certain issues with the property (or something like that, I forget the exact wording). Also, it said that the Movies 12 lease at the Mall of the Mainland ends sometime in 2016. The article quoted the Texas City mayor and he seemed positive that some movie theater will be built in Texas City even if it isn't Cinemark. That statement makes me wonder if he thinks that the current Movies 12 isn't a viable option beyond 2016. Perhaps Cinemark has no plans to renew even if the mall owners make an offer, but who knows if the mall even wants to retain the Movies 12 and Palais Royal. It might be easier for them to just end the retail operation, but perhaps it depends on the new owner (if there is a new owner by then). I don't know though and I'm not sure if I agree with the mayor's optimism.

    The Daily News wrote something about rumors of a new HEB store today. I can't say for sure, but the location that they are talking about may very well be the older ex-Kmart location. Of course, it was said by the newspaper a couple of years ago that HEB owns that property, but HEB hasn't done anything with it yet even with rumors exisiting for quite some time. It's hard to say how solid the rumors are this time since I don't have access to the new article, but perhaps anyone wanting to visit/photograph that well-preserved mansard slice ex-Kmart should expedite their visit.

    The air dancer on the Mall of the Mainland Sears roof must have been a temporary thing because it wasn't there when I went by the place this week. Maybe they only rented the thing for a week or two. I know that the Sears was advertising their "Friends & Family" sale quite heavily last week so maybe they spent some money marketing that event.

    I'm not sure what the future holds for the Mall of the Mainland Sears. On the one hand, any potential buyer of the mall may want to control the whole property, but who knows if they will have the money to buy all the anchor buildings. Sears probably isn't nearly as desperate to have a firesale as the mall owners themselves. Then again, if the store isn't profitable, they may have to firesale the place. Of course, I'm sure that Sears would have closed that location already if it wasn't profitable (or if they don't think that it has hope of being profitable) unless they wanted to hang on to that store as a backup in case they ever want to sell the Baybrook Mall property. Baybrook's expansion plans probably makes it less likely that Sears will sell their Baybrook location now since new anchor spots will open up at/near the mall. Then again, who knows. It's hard to say. Perhaps Sears is just evaluating what will happen with the potential sale of the Mall of the Mainland and will make a decision after that settles. I certainly hope that both Sears locations stay open though.

    On a somewhat related note, the Dead and Dying Retail blog recently made a post about the Woodville Mall in Ohio. It's an older dead mall (another DeBartolo failure) that still has an operating Sears store. Well, it was just announced the other day that the Sears will be closing there too. Does that foreshadow the Mall of the Mainland Sears situation? Maybe, maybe not. I think the Ohio mall had other issues that the Mall of the Mainland does not have yet. Plus, the profitability situation in each case may be different.

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    1. The Cinemark may stick around Mall of the Mainland until they have a good site. I have used the Six Flags Mall as an example of a Cinemark sticking around for years after the mall failed. They have been trying to get the Six Flags Mall reopened, but there have been several problems that have prevented it from happening.
      I snapped a few pictures of the old Kmart in Texas City, but I wonder if the inside of the store is still mostly intact.
      The Woodville Mall had some very bad issues with mold and lack of maintenance on the structure. If you look at some of the images online, there were many retro storefronts in that mall. Who knows what Sears is doing these days is anyone's guess, but hopefully they will be able to stick around.

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  15. I earlier mentioned the air dancer that the Mall of the Mainland Sears had up on their roof for a little while. It‘s gone now, but it turns out that the Mall of the Mainland Sears Shop Your Way website actually has a photo of that air dancer. I know that the air dancer isn’t the most exciting piece of news in retail history, but the presence of that thing is about the most interesting thing that has happened at the Mall of the Mainland (that I know of) in recent weeks so I’m glad that Sears or one of their shoppers took the time to share a picture of it online.

    Cinemark may have to make alternative plans for building a new theater even if the Mall of the Mainland Movies 12 is an option beyond 2016. They may not know if the current owners (or the new owners if that happens) are willing to renew that lease in a timely fashion. Perhaps the current Movies 12 is still an option for the future, but I think Cinemark needs to do a better job marketing the place if that is the case. I know that a lot of the locals know about the place since it is so cheap, but the place is pretty hidden for those who don’t know about it.

    I’m not so sure if Texas City can support a new Cinemark that charges full price for tickets. They would probably need League City citizens to visit it, but Clear Lake has a big Cinemark so they may just go there. Perhaps part of the reason why the Movies 12 isn’t advertised much is so people in League City and such don’t figure out that it’s cheaper to go to Texas City than Clear Lake to see a movie. I think Galveston has a theater too so I’m not so sure if people there would go to Texas City to see a movie either unless it is cheap like the current Movies 12.

    I was able to read the full article about the HEB. The rumors are indeed about the older ex-Kmart. I’m glad that you got photos of it as it may go away soon if the rumors are true. I don’t know what that Kmart looks like inside. Part of the store was subdivided for a roller derby supply store (that may be closed now), but I don’t know about the rest of the place. The article also mentioned that HEB was also considering a piece of land near the dog track, but perhaps the ex-Kmart is the preferred spot. We’ll see, these HEB rumors have existed for some time and nothing has happened yet.

    The Six Flags Mall seemed like an interesting place. Malls usually don’t re-open after they have closed AFAIK. That isn’t good news for that mall and for Mall of the Mainland, but we’ll see.

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    1. It seems like there will not be much news for the mall until the property is purchased. I have heard the Affordable Furniture is going to close soon, but it does not seem like much else will happen for now.
      The HEB and Cinemark news is worth watching for, if something happens soon.
      I checked out the Fiesta Marketplace today. I found out that all employees will be transferred to nearby locations which is always good news. The store is an average sized grocery, but they have several extras that were probably not necessary such as the yogurt shop near the produce and bakery. They have a huge wine section (for a Fiesta), but a much smaller produce section than other Fiestas. Some of the aisles have a small selection of certain food categories that I would look for such as pasta which would be kinda disappointing if that was my neighborhood store. The biggest detractors are the visibility from 59, there is an overpass blocking most of the store from the view of traffic. The store does not seem to be placed in an area with a lot of residences nearby, but I may be wrong about that. The store was nice and super clean, but it seems they forced too much into that store for the size of the building.

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  16. The Affordable Furniture at the Mall of the Mainland is already closed. It closed about a week after the mall itself did. It's been closed for close to two months now.

    It is good to hear that the employees at the Fiesta will be able to transfer to other locations. It sounds like perhaps Fiesta tried to make that Marketplace store too much like an upper scale HEB and less like the international grocery store that they are known for. That is somewhat surprising given the large international population in the Sugar Land area. I'm surprised to hear that they put a smaller sized produce section in that store given how busy the produce section is at the Willowchase Fiesta. Produce at the Willowchase Fiesta may be the busiest section at the store and a lot of people buy items there that aren't common at other grocery stores.

    The Willowchase Fiesta has always had a large beer and wine department for a grocery store. I remember the Astrodome area Fiesta being the same way when I visited that store many years ago. Is the Fiesta Marketplace beer and wine department even bigger than those? Of course, the Willowchase store has a "Fiesta Beverage Mart" liquor store in the same building as the store itself, but it is not open to the store (at least not for customers). Some Fiesta Beverage Marts aren't even in the same building as the nearby Fiesta store itself.

    Anyway, it sounds like Fiesta took some chances with that Sugar Land Marketplace store and came up on the losing end. Hopefully this means that the other Fiesta stores will remain as they are and won't lose their character. I'm sure that future new Fiestas will still be somewhat sterile inside compared to their older stores, but hopefully they'll still have the product lines that Fiesta is known for having.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know about Affordable Furniture closing.
      The wine department is much larger than the stores on 59 Eastex, I-10 East, and I-45 @ Airline. It is three long aisles in the front of the store and takes up almost as much space as the produce department. The beer is on a separate cold aisle next to the frozen food section. I would say it is large in comparison to their beverage marts.

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  17. Macy's building has just been purchased

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    1. Thanks for the update, let us know if you hear anything about the plans for the building. Maybe this is the first part of the future mall owners taking control of the whole property.

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    2. I was also told that the JCPenny building was purchased, but no renovations have happened for either of the buildings, as of now. The mall is to be turned into a sports complex, with entertainment in some sections.

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  18. The Galveston Daily News has some new rumors about the Mall of the Mainland. I was able to read the whole article in a paper copy of the newspaper. It sounds like a company is interested in buying the property to use it for light industrial manufacturing. The article also indicated that there was an earlier proposal from a different company to buy the mall for light industrial manufacturing purposes that did not work out.

    There are also rumors in the article indicating that the College of the Mainland is in preliminary talks to consider leasing a small section of the mall to offer some popular classes. That rumor runs counter to what I have read in the Galveston Daily News before and what I have heard privately from a reliable source, but perhaps things can change. The article also indicated that Texas City tried to buy the mall at some point in the past in order to control the redevelopment of the mall, but the asking price was too high.

    Anyway, it sounds like there is hope that the Mall of the Mainland will be used for something down the road. I don't know what Sears and the current mall retail lessees think about being neighbors with a light industrial manufacturing plant. The combo of retail and manufacturing may scare off some shoppers, but OTOH, perhaps Sears would hope that the employees at the plant will shop at their store. It's hard to say.

    It's also hard to say how much and what parts of the mall will be redeveloped into the plant if that ends up happening. I don't know if the vacant anchors would be part of the sale. The Macy's building purchase is interesting and I don't know if the buyer is affiliated with the mall purchase or what. Perhaps it is an investor hoping to flip the anchor to the mall buyer for bigger bucks. Again, it's hard to say at this point. The Daily News article did not discuss the Macy's sale, but perhaps it was discussed in an earlier article.

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    1. It is possible that the Macy's is what has been purchased for the light industrial use. I know of a few anchor buildings that have been converted to light industrial uses. Who knows maybe Sears can purchase goods made in the new facility and have some new Made in America goods for their stores. Other light industrial uses would be a recycling center which would be used for sifting through recycled goods. The college could also be the buyer of the former Macy's and is looking at an expansion away from the main campus similar to what Austin Community College did at Highland Mall in Austin.
      In other news Alco has pulled out of the Gessner location as well according to the Loopnet posting you had linked on an earlier post. I guess the Alco experiment is over for the Houston area. Most of their remaining Texas locations are in North Texas. I had the feeling when I went to that store late last year that they were not going to last. The store was mostly filled with clothing racks and leftovers of home goods and a few beverages. At least 25% of the floor space was empty and most of the price tags on the merchandise had clearance stickers. If Alco had made a bigger push into the suburbs, they could have probably survived. With only two stores and no major advertisement, they had no chance. The Gessner location was in a terrible spot that is not highly visible unless you are right in front of the building.

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    3. Sounds like a good way to reuse the property. It is probably a Planet Fitness because they open up gym's in empty mall anchors and older shopping centers. Sunrise Mall (Corpus Christi) in a former Mervyn's, Kmart center (Lake Charles) in the long closed grocery section of the former Kmart, and Northgate Mall (Lafayette) in part of a former Service Merchandise. They do a great job of fixing up these older buildings bringing them back to life. Thanks for the update.

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    4. The Galveston Daily News has a story about the planned gym that is expected to open in the former Foley's at the Mall of the Mainland. It will be a 42,000 sq. ft. World Gym. I wonder what part of the store will be used for the gym and if the rest of the store will be turned into something else (retail or otherwise).

      It's a bit of a shame that the gym did not open up before the mall closed. Perhaps the gym would have driven more traffic to the mall. I seems that the gym at Greenspoint Mall is quite busy. Perhaps that is helping the mall itself. Oh well I guess. At least 3 of the 5 anchor buildings at the Mall of the Mainland will have activity now. Perhaps this will help the mall keep Palais Royal and the Movies 12 if the mall wants to keep those tenants.

      The Daily News says that they will have more on the story later on. I'll try to get more information if/when I can get a hold of it.

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    5. Thanks for the update, they will more than likely open up the gym using most if not all of the first floor. I know the store is around 100,000 sq feet total so maybe they are leaving a small portion of the first floor vacant in case someone else needs to add stairs or a new escalator to get to the second floor. I am not sure if the gym has helped Greenspoint since the only entrances are outside of the mall. It will be a good thing to have the boards taken off of the old Foley's though and may help jump start the revival at the mall.

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    6. The ex-Foley's/Macy's is probably the most visible part of the Mall of the Mainland. The empty building sticks out like a sore thumb. That store being empty, plus the news of the mall being closed, may make some would be shoppers think that there is no retail activity going on at the mall. I think having something in that building, even if it is just a gym, will help bring some attention to the mall again. That should be good for Sears, Palais Royal, and the Movies 12.

      A lot of gym users go to the gym late at night (the same can be said about when people go to the movies). Based on that, I wonder if Sears would reconsider their closing times for the Mall of the Mainland store. Then again, Sears may figure that the late night gym users and the teens going to movies late at night at a discount theater aren't really the demographics that would spend money at Sears.

      I read the updated article about the gym in The Daily News and it really didn't say much other than that they did not have much new news to report on the mall situation with the potential industrial use buyer.

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    7. I have noticed that Sears stores outside of major metro areas now close at 8 pm except on Saturday nights when they close at 9 pm. Kmart stores have moved up their closing times to 9 pm in many areas where they were open until 10 pm or later. Some Sears stores in the Houston area are now staying open until 7 pm on Sunday, but many other store locations have cut back their hours. It seems that many stores are leaving the Sears wing in those malls where Sears closes earlier.

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    8. It is interesting that some Sears and Kmart stores have cut back on their hours. I suppose that they have sales statistics and so they compare sales to operational costs during those late hours and figure that it’s more cost efficient to close early. It’s disappointing for those who have to shop late at night though. The 7pm closing time for the Main St. Sears is quite disappointing as there are times that I would like to stop there after work, but I don’t because I figure that I won’t have much time to see the things that I want to see. It’s also odd because that store closes about two hours before the sun has completely set during the summer.

      The lack of stores in the Sears wings at malls where Sears closes early might have something to do with Sears closing early, but the stores that close early are probably not the best performing Sears (at least during the late hours) so they probably don’t have the most traffic anyway. It’s hard to say what causes what I guess and it might vary by mall.

      I went to the Mall of the Mainland Sears recently and I noticed a few small changes. I knew that Sears was starting to put women’s clothing in the hallway that led to the mall entrance based on the photos I saw on the Shop Your Way site, but I saw that they are using that space to also advertise the new monthly fashion items (the Fast Fashions I guess). Also, they have reorganized the electronics department a little bit. It’s the same size that it was a few months back and they have the same stuff, but they’ve put stuff in different aisles. I’m not sure why they did that, but it did throw me off a little when I went looking for something.

      One thing that I will say about the Mall of the Mainland Sears is that it is one of the more organized Sears that I have been to. They are better about keeping the displays organized and they seem to do a better job marking clearance items and such than most other Sears in the Houston area. It’s not a huge difference and I think most Houston area Sears have a pleasant shopping experience, but I do like shopping at that Sears even if they don’t have the selection that most other Houston area Sears stores have.

      In other Texas City retail news, I mentioned some time back that Marathon was opening their first gas station in Texas at Texas City. Well,
      that may not be happening now. I don’t know the details, but oh well I guess.

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    9. The lack of stores in wings where Sears closes earlier has got to be making mall owners frustrated. In Lufkin the South corridor near the Sears entrance has a bunch of stores, but the entrance is the closest to the cinema. I recently went to the Alexandria La Mall and the corridor leading to Sears is completely empty except for two stores and the children's play area once you pass the entrance to Bed Bath and Beyond. Sears closes early there as well but it looks like the mall is on the upswing with several new junior anchors including the Bed Bath and Beyond. The mall looks like it has been recently renovated as well, but it is quite large for a metro area of around 150,000 people.

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  19. Part I:

    I drove by the Mall of the Mainland Sears the other day and noticed that they had an air dancer up on the roof again. It wasn't the same one that they had previously. This one was yellow instead of blue and it might have been a bit larger. We'll see how long Sears keeps this air dancer up. The SYWR website does not have a picture of the current air dancer (and least not yet), but I noticed that they did upload a handful of in-store photos yesterday. It looks like they are promoting Mother's Day items. Most of the pictures aren't really worth discussing here, but there is one interesting picture showing the corridor that used to lead to the mall entrance. It looks like Sears is starting to put displays and racks up in that corridor. I guess the store is taking advantage of that new extra floor space. That said, it's still possible to get a good look at the inside of the mall through the Sears mall entrance gate and the display windows around it.

    Perhaps some parts of the mall could be used as a recycling processing center as you say. That reminds me of an ex-Kmart in Gary, IN, that was converted to an electronics recycling center. The recycling center there also closed up (apparently with a lot of electronic equipment still in it) and then other people started using it as an illegal dump site as well. Some interesting artifacts linger on in that old location like this Kmart/Firestone promotional item and the remnants of the old K-Cafe. Some vintage Kmart orange striping remains as well.

    I don't think the college is interested in buying any part of the mall. The article indicated that they were exploring leasing a small part of the mall. Even that seems like a long shot based on what I've heard, but perhaps they are getting a great price on some facilities so perhaps they are taking another look at the location. It really does not make sense for them to offer classes there as the main campus is only about a mile from the mall (maybe not even that far) and they have room on the campus to expand if they need to. I know that the college has some off-campus locations already in shopping areas, like the cosmetology school/salon in the Gulfway VF Outlet shopping center in La Marque. Perhaps they would consider moving some of those locations to the mall if the leasing prices are better there.

    Sears may not mind having an industrial neighbor (in fact they may like it) if the plant isn't a polluter in terms of noise and environmental stuff. Also, a potential issue is having a bunch of trucks in the parking lot may tear it up even faster (it's not in the best shape as it is now). We'll see though.

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    1. It looks like the Sears is continuing as normal without the mall. I may pass by sometime soon to look at the changes to the area. I was also thinking about maybe a distribution center for a local business but that is just another idea.

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  20. Part II:

    I was actually on the Alco website last night and noticed that the Pasadena and Gessner locations are no longer listed on the store location list. I was going to post that, but it looks like you beat me to it. It's a shame that they are gone now because I actually found a couple of good deals in their ad this week. Oh well, I'm not too surprised that Alco didn't last too long. The Gessner store was pretty dead during my visit there a couple of years ago, but the store was fully stocked at that point.

    I don't think Alco would have fared much better in the outer suburbs than they did in Spring Branch and Pasadena. Although they had some good advertised deals, their regular prices were higher than Wal-Mart and Target for the most part. Their only hope was to locate in areas where the "big 2" discounters didn't have good coverage. Dollar General and Family Dollar has had some success by doing this and by locating themselves near neighborhoods/apartments where they can act as a convenience store of sorts where shoppers aren't as price sensitive. Alco did have that of sorts with the Gessner location, but I guess that did not help them much. It seems that Alco is going back to focus more on their small town locations.

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    1. I forgot to mention the Kmart that you linked on the previous page. The sections of the store that are still intact have newer looking paint than I would expect. Sadly they either halfway gutted the inside of the store or neglect and vandals have destroyed the inside of the building. I wonder if any open Kmart stores still have this look, but I have not seen any.
      The short lived Alco in Houston retail chapter hopefully will not discourage other retailers from coming here. I really hope Belk makes a push into Houston even though they are a department store retail chain and not a discount store. There are many things Alco failed at with their expansion here, but the locations were just not located in retail hot spots. Both stores were located in spots about 2 miles from the nearby major shopping areas.
      I will answer the other comments at a later time.

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  21. The Mall of the Mainland Sears is a bit interesting in the sense that the main entrance to the store now that the mall entrance is closed, the entrance facing 1764, leads to the men's, housewares, and luggage departments. The latter two departments are typically located in less travelled upstairs sections at two story Sears stores. The rear entrance leads to the children's department. That is also typically on the 2nd floor of Sears stores. The women's, shoes, and jewelry departments, which are typically near mall entrances at Sears stores, is now in a part of the store where people purposely have to walk to to get to them. I'm sure that this design isn't ideal, but I wouldn't expect Sears to redesign the store at this point since the store is otherwise in good physical condition and not in need of renovations as far as I can tell. Did the Westwood Mall Sears reconfigure their layout any after the mall closed or is it the same as it was before? Of course, the Westwood Sears opened before the mall did I think so perhaps it was designed without the mall in mind, but perhaps they knew that a mall would be built there eventually. It's hard to say.

    I'm not sure when the Gary Kmart closed, but my hunch is that it closed in the mid 1990s in the time between the early 1990s logo change and the Big Kmart era. Perhaps that store received some new paint over sections that had orange striping shortly before it closed. I'm not sure. I am pretty sure that there isn't any currently operating Kmarts with vintage orange striping (though there are some with newer vintage looking orange/red lettering), but perhaps there are some with the mid 1990s pre-Big Kmart design. That era had a grayish looking paint scheme if I remember correctly, but I'm not totally sure.

    One of the possible problems facing retailers hoping to expand to or in the Houston areas is that there just isn't a lot of cheap vacant retail pads in established retail areas. This is especially true for a large department store like Belk. Plus, the competition is fierce in may sectors (someone like Belk would have to compete against a large presence from Kohl's, JCPenney, Macy's, Dillards, Palais Royal, Stein Mart and Sears). Perhaps Belk will eventually move over here, but I'm sure there is some fear that a large scale expansion into Houston/Texas may drain money like what happened to Venture and a few other chains.

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    1. I never visited Westwood Mall before it closed so I am not sure if the store was different. It probably was because the second floor mall entrance is where childrens clothing is now located. The San Jacinto and Shepherd Sears stores have the same departments on the same floors as the Westwood store so it is hard to tell.
      I am sure if a Kmart escaped the remodel of the 1990's retail enthusiasts would be all over it. I guess we still have our old school closed Little York and I-45 Kmart location even though it has been destroyed by vandals and lack of maintenance since the flea market closed. The Homestead Kmart that was going to be demolished is still standing by the way and has new paint and boards across the entire front of the store. The fencing that was up around most of the property is also gone.

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  22. Thanks for the update about the Homestead Rd. and Parker Kmart. That is interesting that they didn't raze it because it sounded like they were serious about tearing it down. Perhaps the property owners finally figured that they were serious about razing the building and decided to do some needed updates. I'm sure that the building isn't in great shape and it's not like that area is primed for a comeback anytime soon so I'm not sure what will happen to that property, but we'll see I guess.

    Houston's Kmart locations never got much attention from the Kbloggers. That's a shame as we have some interesting and weird ex-Kmart locations here. Obviously there are the weird stories about the Homestead and Little York stores, but we also have some interesting stories like the 1962-built Houston area Kmarts, the dual Texas City ex-Kmarts including the well preserved one, and of course the ex-Venture ex-Kmarts. Hopefully the stories about these Kmarts will be chronicled someday by you or a Kblogger.

    I earlier mentioned that the Mall of the Mainland Sears had another air dancer up (a yellow one this time), but I drove by the store again towards the end of last week and it was gone already. Perhaps it was only there for that weekend, but it's interesting that they didn't keep it because they had a Friends and Family sale again this weekend that just finished. They did put up the red banner near the 1764 entrance advertising the Friends and Family sale though.

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    1. The Northeast area near Homestead has some new small shopping centers, but most of the older properties are still sitting there waiting for some help. Kmart closed right around the time that mall blogs were getting started and before people really started documenting failed businesses like now. Usually the newspapers would do a short article about the closing with a photo or two. The companies would also put sale ads, but without pictures of the store only merchandise.

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    2. the kmart on Little York and I-45 is gone. it was demolished last year.

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  23. I have a couple of updates about the Mall of the Mainland and Almeda Mall based on recent visits to these malls. I figure I would post them in posts about those malls instead of some of the more general discussion posts. I'll put the update about Almeda Mall in one of the Almeda posts.

    I was at the Mall of the Mainland Sears recently. I didn't see any significant changes to the Sears to report, but I was in for a bit of a surprise when I looked through the mall entrance windows/gate into the mall. It looked like the mall walled off the rest of the mall corridor near where the planter barricade was put up when the mall closed (I think the wall is just a little bit past the planter barricade as I think the wall is on the other side of the former Affordable Furniture store, but I could be wrong about that). It was possible to see all the way to the food court area before, but now that does not appear to be the case. I'm not sure if any additional walls were put up in the theater area as I have not been there since around the time the mall closed.

    Anyway, I didn't get a really good look at the wall as I just saw it while passing through the Sears racetrack, but I wonder why they walled off that section when the mall is closed anyway. Perhaps they plan on reopening the mall hallway leading to the Sears? Perhaps it was open the day I was there, but I didn't check. I say that it is unlikely that it was open or that it will be reopened, but who knows. Perhaps they want to lease some of that area out to other businesses? Who knows, it's hard to say. I'll try to get another look at it and perhaps check to see if the mall doors are locked the next time that I go to the Mall of the Mainland Sears.

    There really aren't any exterior updates to report about the former Macy's anchor. The for sale signs on the building have been gone for some time now since the sale to the person who wants to turn it into a gym, but I'm not sure if any work has started yet on the inside. Again, I'll try to provide updates if there are any the next time that I am near the mall.

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    1. I wonder if they are going to reopen the Sears entrance if they have some kind of fire code or an agreement with the mall to have a certain amount of entrances and exits at the store. I can see them walling off the cinema to keep the A/C from going into the former mall and keep people from moving the gate over to enter the mall. Maybe the interior storefronts are going to be opened up to make it easier to subdivide the parts of the mall and combine large spaces for office or other uses. I wonder if Steve has any new information on the mall, he knew before we did that the mall was getting the gym.

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    2. I visited the Mall of the Mainland Sears again today so I have some more quick updates about the mall. I got a better look at the wall that was put up near the former Affordable Furniture store. The wall basically looked like what I thought that it looked like during my previous visit when I didn't get as good of a look. I did notice that there were a lot of dead leaves on the floor from the planters that are still in the corridor between the Sears and the ex-Affordable Furniture area. Based on that, I assumed that the mall doors leading to that area are still closed and I didn't bother to see if they have been re-opened. Maybe I will do that on a future visit though.

      I also visited the Movies 12 area to see if a wall was erected there like the wall near the Affordable Furniture. The answer to that is yes, there is a wall there now. The wall was built behind the bar entrance door so the bar area is still accessible from the theater entrance. That said, the bar was not open when I visited the mall in the late afternoon so I don't know if it is still operating or not.

      The Mall of the Mainland billboard near the Tanger Outlets on I-45 southbound has been replaced with a DeMontrond dealership billboard. The mall billboard was still up during my previous visit to the mall just a couple of weeks back I do believe so I guess the billboard change happened very recently. The loss of the mall billboard is not a surprise for sure, but it is a bit weird not seeing it since it seemed like it was up for quite a while.

      Anyway, hopefully Steve or someone else can provide some more details about what is going on in between the new walls at the Mall of the Mainland and if there are any plans to re-open the mall corridor leading to the Sears

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    3. It looks like the A/C must have become an issue for the movie theater. They were probably paying to air condition the mall since I doubt the A/C stayed on at the mall once it was closed off. I doubt the bar will stay at the mall for too much longer unless they have a great deal on the rent, I just can't see too many people going in there.
      Since money has been invested in walls to block off Sears and the movies it may signal that these places are going to stay open for a while. The Palais Royal was sealed off when the mall closed. I wonder if they took the playground and the food court chairs and tables out before the walls were put up. If they ever have a sale to clear out the mall fixtures I would like to know so I could visit the inside one more time. I know they could make some money off of what is all still sitting inside of the mall.

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    4. It is certainly possible that the walls were erected for A/C purposes. I have never been to the Movies 12 before, but I've heard from some people who do go there and from some online reviews that the A/C does not always work/work correctly in the theaters there. I guess that's part of the discount aspect of it.

      It's also possible that the walls were put up for security purposes. As we know, the little folding/portable wall that the mall put up by the theater before wouldn't have stopped someone who wanted to get into the mall section. Also, perhaps the mall wants to use the mall space for something that they don't want shoppers/moviegoers to see. Perhaps they just want to let the mall rot without shoppers seeing it. It's hard to say.

      I know that the Movies 12 wall has a little door on it so that employees can get behind the wall if they need to. I'm guessing that the wall near the Affordable Furniture spot has a door too, but I can't say that I remember seeing it. I'm not sure if any pieces of furniture have been removed from the food court area or elsewhere. My guess is probably not because I think I remember seeing the playground stuff in the mall through the Sears mall entrance before the wall was put up. They probably could make some money selling that stuff, but then again, maybe they want to keep it for the next buyer in case there is interest in reopening the mall (I'd consider that to be highly unlikely though).

      I remember seeing a soda vending machine near the Affordable Furniture that was still there (and may have still been on) some time after the mall closed. I wonder if that has finally been removed or unplugged at least. I think that the mall directory by the Sears is still there and may still be plugged in. I didn't really focus on that during my last visit, but I did still see it on at one point in the last couple of months. Anyway, it would be nice if the mall had some sort of clearance sale so that we could get one more peek at the mall and/or perhaps pick up some mall souvenirs. Sadly, there really isn't much to see of the inside of the old mall now aside from the small part that is still visible from the Sears mall entry windows and the Visionworks area that is still visible from the mall entrance near the Dillard's/JCPenney.

      I was surprised to see that the bar was open back in late January when the mall closed. I would not be surprised if it is closed now or going to close soon. The bar isn't advertised at all and I'm not sure if the teens and families going to the theater want to go to a bar like that. It might be better off as some kind of cheap pizza joint or something like that, but even then I don't know if it can be successful.

      Hopefully the presence of the walls indicates that Movies 12 and Palais Royal want to stick around for a while and that maybe the mall will renew their leases. The Palais Royal seems to do okay business when I drive by the parking lot and the Movies 12 always seems to be fairly busy here during the summer when I drive by it. Cinemark backed off plans to build a new theater near Tanger last I heard so maybe they will keep the Movies 12. It's hard to say, but we'll see.

      I thought I put this in my previous reply, but I don't see it so I guess I forgot. Anyway, I saw some workers in a van who pulled the plywood off a couple of the doors on the East doors of the ex-Macy's and were moving furnishings in or out of the store. The stuff they were moving looked more like store things than gym things so I'm guessing that they were taking them out. I tried to look into the Macy's while I drove by to see if it looked like any changes had been made inside, but the lights were off or dim so I didn't see much of anything. Still, it's interesting that there is some activity going on in there. Perhaps the conversion of the place into a gym will start soon. I'll try to get updates when I can.

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    5. I appreciate the updates at the mall. It seems like this mall has been mostly forgotten about since closing but even I have not been back since January. The mall is more than likely going to sit there mostly vacant for years to come.

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  24. The Mall of the Mainland Palais Royal is moving. Where to? To the Mall of the Mainland. Yes, you read that right. The Galveston Daily News has an article saying that the Mall of the Mainland Palais Royal will be moving into a spot at the former Mall of the Mainland Macy's. I don't know which part of the ex-Macy's that Palais Royal will move into, but the Macy's building itself is right next to the current Palais Royal so it won't be a far move. Perhaps this is related to the furnishings that I saw being moved at the ex-Macy's the other day.

    It might be nice in a way for the Palais Royal to move to the Sears side of the ex-Macy's so that shoppers can have a short outdoor walk between the two stores. Either way, it's nice that Palais Royal still views the Mall of the Mainland as a viable shopping space. Hopefully the owner of the ex-Macy's building will put up some sort of signage indicating the presence of the Palais Royal and whatever else may come in the building.

    I have not been able to read the whole Daily News article yet. Perhaps that has more of the details. Perhaps the new Macy's building owner offered cheaper rent or perhaps the mall owners themselves didn't want to renew the lease. Perhaps this is part of the mall turning into an industrial center or something with some shopping options remaining like the Sears, Palais Royal, the proposed gym, and maybe the theater too. We'll see. I'll try to get the whole article at some point if I can.

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    1. Wow that is unexpected news, I would never have guessed that would happen. I guess mall management is really trying to clear the mall out for either demolition or they have someone who wants the entire mall. With the new walls in place at Sears and the movies sealing off the mall it could go either way. It would look strange to demolish the mall and keep the Macy's in place and redevelop around the building, but it is possible.

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    2. I was not expecting the news about the Palais Royal relocation either. The Galveston Daily News ran another similar article about the move. I was able to read that article. Palais Royal is claiming that the new store will be a little larger than the old one and that it would have an improved shopping experience. I never did go into the current Mall of the Mainland Palais Royal, but I did look into it when the mall was still open and it seemed to be about as nice as and as big as other modern Palais Royals. We'll see.

      I don't know if the gym will be solely on the first level of the old Macy's, but if so, the combination of the gym (42,000 sq. ft.) and the Palais Royal (23,000 sq. ft.) will probably take up almost all of the first floor space in the old Macy's (the article lists that building as being 150,000 sq. ft., but I don't know if that is accurate). I wonder what the developers will do with the second floor of the building if the gym won't use part of it. Then again, maybe the gym will use it. We'll see.

      I'm not sure if the mall owners or subsequent owners will demolish the mall. It may be hard for them to do that if they don't own the JCPenney and Dillard's anchors. Perhaps they will use the existing structure for something. It would be very weird to have the Sears, Palais Royal/gym, and maybe the theater too all standing without the rest of the mall as they would all be at different levels. Granted, I guess that is the case now even with the mall structure.

      I wonder if the mall will keep owning the theater property or if they may consider selling it (perhaps for cheap) to Cinemark or someone else. The mall may not need to get the theater to move since it is out on the corner of the property and may not impact redevelopment of the mall itself. Of course, who knows if Cinemark is even planning on keeping that theater open so they may not be interested in buying the property even if it is available for cheap.

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    3. The Palais Royal that is currently open is in poor shape. The ceiling has/ had several water stained spots and the carpet is probably original to the store. The store has updated fixtures like most Palais Royal stores. The newer Palais Royal, Stage, and Bealls stores have a brighter and more modern look with a more open entrance to the store. The Lufkin Bealls recently got a redesign and it will probably be similar to what the new Mall of the Mainland store will look like.
      Palais Royal may be the last business open in the mall building so this move will clear the way for the redevelopment. I am not sure if Cinemark is part of the mall building.

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  25. The Mall of the Mainland continues to produce big news items. Well, in this case it is a rumor instead of a news item. The Galveston Daily News has an article today about a rumor that Jerome Karam, the developer who purchased the Mall of the Mainland Macy's, will also purchase the Mall of the Mainland JCPenney. I have not been able to read the whole article yet so I don't know what his plans are for the JCPenney or how solid the rumor is, but the rumor is very interesting nonetheless. I'm not even sure what kind of condition the ex-JCPenney building is in now.

    One has to wonder if Karam may just end up buying the mall itself since it is so cheap. If he does, may there be hope that he may reopen it? If he does, will he be able to lease space to retailers? It seems like a long shot and I don't think it'll happen, but who knows.

    I'll try to get more details as soon as I can. The Mall of the Mainland saga continues to be interesting even after the mall has closed. Who knows what is next.

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    1. The activity on the property is much more than I expected. I did not expect to see the boarded up Macy's redeveloped and I thought the JCPenney would sit there for many more years unused. I am sure the developer will be able to get these properties for the value of the land or less which is a great deal. All they would have to do is repair the roof of the JCPenney which likely had damage from Hurricane Ike and gut the inside of the building which is mostly empty. If this happens then 3 out of the 4 anchors will be filled. Maybe the JCPenney is the anticipated site of a new Cinemark with that section of the mall being demolished, which would explain Palais Royal moving. Who knows but it is fun to speculate.

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  26. I am also very surprised by the relatively quick pace that the Mall of the Mainland property (at least parts of it) is being redeveloped. It’s also nice to see that there is some retail viability left at the center, although one could say that maybe the mall could have been saved if these anchor redevelopments happened a year or two earlier. Oh well. The Galveston Daily News had another article about the JCPenney that I was able to read. It really didn’t say much, but it did say that something called Tuscany Village Salon Cinque will also be moving into the old Macy’s building along with Palais Royal and World Gym of course. Jerome Karam’s website has a rendering of what the Macy’s will look like on the outside once renovations are done and it also says that other “premier” retailers may end up in the building. We’ll see about that. Some of the information on that site isn’t correct because the Macy’s building is way more than 40,000 sq. ft. and the new Palais Royal did not open on Sept. 1st obviously.

    I did go to the Mall of the Mainland Sears the other day and I did notice that there were a lot of workers working on the ex-Macy’s building. One of the things that they did was to remove the plants that were along the building and they were also in the process of painting the building. It’ll be interesting to see the transformation. I have no idea what Karam has planned for the JCPenney building if he buys it. I suppose that it could be shopped to Cinemark, but I don’t know if they want to build a new theater at the mall site. Anyway, it’s interesting to follow all the news about the mall. Who would have thought a year ago that there was a realistic chance that 4 of the 5 (or even just the Macy's) anchor spots would be occupied again?

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    1. Interesting you have the link to Karam's website, he has one of my blog photos from here second imageon his page showing the Macy's before. It is good to see the anchor will not sit there and rot away and hopefully will be the catalyst to launch the entire redevelopment of the property.

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  27. Here is another very quick update. I drove by the Mall of the Mainland on my way to a thrift and I noticed that there are big temporary signs for a Halloween store on the ex-Macy's building facing the Sears. I didn't go to the mall to investigate, but perhaps a Halloween store has or will open up in the old Macy's building. If so, the ex-Macy's will have a quicker than expected return to retail even if those Halloween stores that open up in empty retail spots are just temporary. I'm guessing Jerome Karam is making money off the building until he is ready to build some of the other more permanent things like the gym.

    I wonder if the Halloween store will look the Macy's inside (if that is where the Halloween store is going) or if they have done enough work inside the building at this point to make it look like something else. I don't know if I will visit the Halloween store, but we'll see. Workers were still working on painting the outside of the building when I drove by.

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    1. It sounds like they can make it happen in half of the building. If Palais Royal is taking about 25k square feet in an 100k+ building it will probably be facing the mall on the first floor. Maybe you can peek into the mall but that would be highly unlikely, but it could add to the scariness of the place, lol.

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  28. I didn't realize that Jerome Karam's website used your Mall of the Mainland Macy's photo. Oh well, I guess you have to take it as a compliment. I'm not sure how the store is going to be subdivided or how the conversion is progressing on the inside, but it would be interesting if the mall is visible from the Halloween store. Some people say that dead malls are spooky so it might be fitting. Granted, I always figured that the Mall of the Mainland was more goofy than it was spooky as a dead/dying mall with the fake stores, the postcard, and all the other things. Anyway, I'll try to get as many updates about the Mall of the Mainland as I can.

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    1. Thanks for your continued updates, if you get a chance to pass by let me know. I may try to pass by as well before the end of October.

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  29. I recently drove by the Mall of the Mainland the other day and I have some updates about the progress of construction at the old Foley’s/Macy’s building. The store has a big Palais Royal sign up now on the south side of the store (the part facing the 1764 freeway). The sign is quite visible from 1764 which I think is a good thing. The building certainly does not look like a tomb anymore. I'm not sure if the new Palais Royal is open yet though or if the old store is still open.

    Also, three or four big windows (or something looking like windows) were put up on the sides of the building (the sides facing Sears and the ex-JCPenney). It looks like they may be on the second floor, but it’s hard to say. I’m guessing those windows (if that’s what they are) are for the gym, but I’m not sure.

    I never did go to the Halloween store, but it would have been interesting to see if it looked like the Macy’s inside. Anyway, I’ll continue to try to get updates when I see them. Maybe I’ll visit the new Palais Royal when it opens. I'll try to get a closer look at the building to see the extent of the changes.

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    1. It sounds like they are investing a decent sum of money into the old Macy's building. I never made it down there either to check out the Halloween store, but I spent so much time in the Macy's over the years I know the store backwards and forwards.

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  30. The new Palais Royal inside the Mall of the Mainland ex-Macy's has already opened according to a Galveston Daily News article. I was able to get a full copy of the article and it also mentions that Jerome Karam has finalized a deal to purchase the Mall of the Mainland ex-JCPenney as rumored earlier. It'll be interesting to see what happens there. I think the JCPenney building will need a lot more work than the Macy's did, but we'll see. UTMB is currently building a large clinic across 1764 from the mall so maybe some sort of healthcare facility might make sense there if Karam can't find a retailer to fill the space. Also, the article mentions that the Salon Cinque that will also open in the ex-Macy's will be 11,000 sq. ft. in size.

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    1. I guess the gym will be on the second floor. I wonder if they reinforced the floor to keep the sound from becoming an issue on the bottom floor. The Palais Royal in the mall may have been the last inline mall tenant if the bar had already closed. That makes the mall ready for demolition if needed. Hopefully if they demolish the mall they will have a fixture sale and we will be able to roam the mall again before it goes, if that is what is going to happen.

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    2. I hope so, there are some nice fixtures in the dillard's building and jcpenney

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    3. it looks like palais royale keep Macy's/Foley's interior décor for their new store. look at the photos from the Galveston newspaper.

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    4. Thanks for the information, I tried to look at the pictures but the site requires a subscription.

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  31. I thought I posted this earlier, but I think I forgot to do it. Anyway, I did visit the new Mall of the Mainland Palais Royal and I have some interesting observations. The store still maintains a lot of what I assume to be the Foley’s/Macy’s look. It has nice tiles in the entryway (the vestibule is probably unchanged from the Macy’s days) and the ceiling still has the Macy’s look. It all looks very nice. It is by far the nicest Palais Royal I’ve been to since Palais Royal dumped some department store looking stores for the big box look.

    The most interesting part of the store is the rear entrance. There’s a glass door in the back of the store that leads to the center part of the old Macy’s with the escalators. Of course, it seems like the center area has been renovated significantly and it looks very nice. It looks like a nice hotel lobby actually. I didn’t try open the door to see if I could get into the rest of the store, but perhaps Karam has set up the new building to be a “mall in a mall” where the gym, Palais Royal, the salon, and whatever else moves in are all accessible through the indoor corridor. This may also mean that the new stores within the ex-Macy’s are still accessible through the former Macy’s mall entrance if the main mall is ever reopened. It’s very interesting and I’d like to get into that center corridor at some point. I would have tried to get into there, but I didn’t want to set off any alarms or anything.

    There was also activity in the former JCPenney. There were workers that had the side doors facing the ex-Macy’s open and they were doing something in there. I didn’t get a good look inside the store though unfortunately. There are now “For Lease” signs on the windows of the building though. It seems like Collum Commercial is handling the leasing. I don’t know if Karam hired them out or what. I’m guessing that the ex-JCPenney does not have any leasers yet, but perhaps the new owners are trying to renovate the building to keep it ready for any potential customers. I’ll try to keep an eye on the situation.

    The old Palais Royal seemingly had a bunch of chairs and tables stored in it. I don’t know if those are the old food court tables or what. I got a decent look in the building to know that there are tables being stored there, but I couldn’t get a good enough look to get a detailed look at the tables themselves.

    Anyway, there is certainly a lot of interesting activity going on at the Mall of the Mainland. I’ll try to get more updates as I can.

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  32. It seems that the Mall of the Mainland might be coming back. Earlier we talked about how Jerome Karam brought out the ex-Macy's at the Mall of the Mainland and convinced Palais Royal to move into it. Then we talked about how he brought out the Mall of the Mainland JCPenney (which is still vacant AFAIK). At that point, I wondered if he might just buy out the whole mall.

    Well, it sounds like Karam is indeed planning on purchasing the Mall of the Mainland especially since the going price is only $5,000,000 now. The Galveston Daily News has a report today saying that Karam has put down earnest money to purchase the mall. I can't get the whole article right now, but I should be able to read it in a few days. I'll post any details when I'm able to get the whole article.

    It sounds like Karam has retail plans for the center. Will that involve using the existing mall (or at least parts of it) or will it involve converting the mall into a lifestyle or big box shopping center? We'll see I guess, hopefully the whole article sheds some light on the matter. I also wonder if Karam might try to purchase the ex-Dillard's as well.

    Anyway, the story of the Mall of the Mainland just gets more and more strange. We knew that it was going to die, then it died, and now it may very well come back as a retail center less than year since it went away. Who knew. I'm sure Sears, Cinemark, and Palais Royal are happy about Karam's ambitious plans though. I think leasing the center might be a hard sell, but we'll see. Karam has had some success at the center already so there is some reason for optimism.

    I did drive by the mall recently on the way to do some thrifting. Karam has put up World Gym signage on the ex-Macy's building now. I don't think the gym is open yet, but I don't know. Karam (I assume) has also put up a sign pylon on 1764. The sign was still being put up as I drove by it so it is still blank. It's not very big, but at least it'll signal to motorists that there is shopping at the center. Oddly enough, there was a sign at the bottom of the pylon that says something like "Plaza Royal." I wonder if Karam is naming the ex-Macy's that. Of course, if the mall itself reopens, I wonder if the ex-Macy's will be kind of like a mall within a mall. I guess we'll just have to wait the details to come out.

    On an unrelated Texas City retail note, I saw that the "older" ex-Kmart now has a chainlink fence surrounding it. I wonder if HEB is getting ready to demolish the building here soon. I suppose anyone who wants to see it better really expedite their visit because the building may be gone very soon. Demolition may have started already for all I know since it's been a few days, but I don't know what the plan is right now.

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    1. I am going to put the responses to both posts together here. It sounds like they are creating a mini-mall inside of the old Macy's which will connect the Palais Royal, gym, and future stores which is an interesting way to reuse the building. I look forward to what the next 6 months or so will bring to the old mall. It did not take long for them to redevelop the Macy's building, I wonder what is next.
      It sounds like the days of the old Kmart are numbered and now is the last chance to check out the site. I read that HEB is planning on expansions in the Houston area which will include store replacements to increase store sizes.

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  33. Part II:

    Here is an update to what I wrote earlier this morning about Jerome Karam bringing the Mall of the Mainland back to life. I was able to get my hands on the full copy of the Galveston Daily News article quicker than I expected. Karam does not explicitly say in the article that he is keeping the mall intact as such, but the implication in the article is that the mall will reopen in it's current form. Karam is quoted as saying that they are ready to put tenants back in the place since the infrastructure is already in place.

    I don't know if they would do some sort of renovation to the mall or not. The mall is not so wildly outdated that it needs a renovation. The tiles and such are close to modern mall standards, although some of the neon and things like that could be considered a bit dated. Then again, it does look good. It's not like the mall would need a total renovation to keep it modern looking like something like Pasadena Town Square so maybe they'll just keep it as such. Obviously they would need to take down the walls they put up by the Movies 12 and the Sears so the mall entrances can be reopened. I don't know how much work that will be. Perhaps they'll paint over the postcard and other oddities like that. I also don't know if they would open the whole mall or only the part west of the food court as was the case during the mall's last year before it closed. I wonder if Sears would use the mall reopening as a reason to renovate their store. It doesn't really need a renovation as it is a nice store as it is, but maybe they will put up new signage.

    Karam plans on attracting national and mom-n-pop retailers according to the article. He thinks that he'll be able to have more success doing that than past Mall of the Mainland owners because he'll be able to offer cheaper rent since he's paying so little for the mall. Karam also discussed talks he is having with the local college about leasing space to them and also about leasing space for medical use.

    I don't know if it's reasonably possible to lease out the whole mall (or most of it) to retailers even if the rent is low. It's a big mall and there just isn't a ton of retail interest in Texas City right now. Then again, if Karam can make the mall smaller by leasing parts out for non-retail use, it may be possible to squeeze in retailers into one part of the mall. Perhaps then Karam can lease out a high enough part of the mall to make it successful. Although Baybrook Mall is expanding right now, the success of the mall may price out some 2nd tier retailers that are looking to get in or stay in. Perhaps Karam can pitch the mall as a lower priced alternative.

    Karam is planning on reusing the Mall of the Mainland name. He thinks it is a great brand with recognition. I suppose that is true, but he'll have to market the mall that it is "new" and certainly improved if he wants to attract shoppers back to the mall. There is a certain level of taint with the Mall of the Mainland name so Karam will have to make sure that shoppers know that it is a better mall than the one that shoppers may remember from years past. Of course, having great shopping options will help sell that message pretty easily so hopefully Karam will be able to lease the mall to retailers.

    We'll see what happens I guess. It'll be very exciting to see the mall come back if everything goes as planned. This may be the closest we get to seeing a "new" indoor mall in the Houston area any time soon. It's certainly a mall that I would spend a lot of time at if it reopened (I already continue to shop at the Sears pretty regularly). The saga of the Mall of the Mainland continues!

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    1. Well I will be happy if the mall is reopened and I will have to update this article quickly if it happens. The former Six Flags Mall reopened as Plaza Fiesta last Summer according to a few news articles but the website for the mall has not been updated so I am not sure how that mall is doing.
      I am sure some of the former tenants of the mall would come back since they stuck around until the end. I could see the part that was open until last January reopening first and then the rest of the mall if they can get a new tenant into the former JCPenney. It is going to take patience and big incentives to lure people into the mall again. One of the good things going for it though is the large spaces that were never used. These spaces can be quickly divided to fit the exact sizes that new tenants need and can be an advantage over the nearby outlet mall.

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  34. It's going to be interesting to see what happens at the Mall of the Mainland. I would be thrilled if the mall reopened, but it's hard to say how things are going to turn out. You'll certainly have to do a new article or two about the mall if it reopens. I'll try to visit the area if the mall opening actually happens so I can try to get some updates. Who thought a year ago that this was even a realistic chance of the mall reopening?

    Stores like Bath and Body Works and FootAction could probably move back in at a minimal cost since I'm sure their stores have been untouched since the mall closed. Stores like the Formal Gallery and the Relaxation store may not come back (at least right away) since they moved to other locations. It might make sense to consolidate the retail on the west end of the mall (from the Sears to the food court), as you say, until/unless a retailer claims the former JCPenney spot or if something retail happens at the former Dillard's. Perhaps Karam can use the east end of the mall to lease to medical clients, the college, or businesses if there isn't enough retail interest to sufficiently fill up the mall. The news that Marathon is leaving their office location at the ex-Woolco down 1764 is probably going to make it more challenging for Karam to lease the mall out as office space as now there is a lot of office space available in the area that probably needs less renovation. Still, it could be useful for medical purposes and for the college since it has a better location.

    I agree that Karam is going to have to keep rents low to attract new stores. He may be able to do that since he is buying the mall (assuming everything goes through) for such a low price. Some money will have to be spent doing some minor renovations (tearing down the walls that were put up, fixing some leaks, fixing some tiles, covering up empty spots if there are any, repainting some areas, and so forth), but I don't think Karam would have to do a major renovation/redesign right away.

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    1. The mall is a very interesting story since so few malls reopen and have success. PlazAmericas Mall is one example of a failing mall being stabilized and now that property is doing better than it was 10 years ago.
      It seems that they will have to pull out all of the stops to have a chance at reopening the mall. I wonder if he will keep the neon lights and fix them up if he reopens the mall.

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    2. I wonder what stores would come back. Not many stores that close in a mall reopen except lord and taylor at memorial city, that was a rare case. But still getting to the mall is hard . I think the owners need to get with txdot to get better signage or maybe a direct connector / exit to the mall from 45. If it does come back this could be really rare especially in Houston since malls that fail tend to be demolished.

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    3. It's certainly rare for malls to reopen. It's also pretty rare for stores to return to malls after they leave, but there are cases of that happening like Palais Royal returning to West Oaks Mall. This may be a special case since the mall closed completely for a while and is then reopening under new ownership. I would imagine that most of the tenants would be mom-n-pop type stores with some mall staples like athletic shoe stores and Bath and Body Works type stores. Perhaps someone like Ross, dd's, TJMaxx, or CitiTrends would be interested in being a junior anchor. It's really hard to say what will happen though. It'll be interesting to see what develops if Karam does indeed buy the mall and reopens it as a retail mall. It'll be like figuring out who will come into a brand new mall. That's not something we've seen in Houston for quite some time.

      I really can't see TxDOT doing much to reconfigure the FM 1764 - I-45 connector right now since it's probably sufficient for the traffic that goes through it, but there may be expansion/reconstruction plans that I don't know about. Karam would have to buy billboards and perhaps other advertising telling people where to exit and where to turn to get to the mall. Access isn't too tricky coming from the north on I-45 assuming that people know to take the 1764 exit, but it's more tricky coming from the south. There's talk about TxDOT reconfiguring 146 too so perhaps Karam should advertise the mall on 146 as well since that might become a more popular alternative for I-45 for people who commute in/out of the Texas City area.

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    4. It will be interesting if they can get the mall going again. Junior anchors will be a good way to bring people back to the mall, Mall of the Mainland did not have many even in the best years.

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  35. Here's a quick update. The World Gym is now open. The World Gym website has some pictures of the gym. It's obviously a pretty nice gym. Anyway, one of the photos in the slideshow is of the "common area" on the first floor that leads to the gym upstairs and the Palais Royal (amongst other things perhaps too) on the first floor.

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    1. They did a really good job of removing any trace of Macy's on the second floor. I wonder what is next for this property in the former JCPenney.

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  36. It's been a while since we've heard an update about the sale of the Mall of the Mainland, but the Galveston Daily News has an article today indicating that the sale of the mall to Jerome Karam and an out-of-state partner has been finalized. As far as I can tell, the plan is still to re-open the mall, but I don't know when that will happen or what changes will be planned. The article may have this information, but I don't have access to the full article at the moment. I'll try to post the details as soon as I can get them.

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    1. Ok, thanks for keeping me posted. I wonder if he will let people complete surveys to determine what should go in the new mall. It will be a huge challenge to get the rest of the property up and running but you never know.

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    2. I did get access to the full article. The article is a bit sparse about the details such as when the mall may reopen, but there is some good information in there. Karam is "promising a much improved appearance of the mall." I'm not sure what that means excatly. Will there be a major renovation or just a good clean up of the property? I'm not sure. The mall's Facebook page has a new entry saying that Karam is planning on renovating the mall to look like the new World Gym. If so, that will make the mall look very nice.

      The article also mentions that Karam will clean up the exterior of the old Dillard's. I'm not sure if the Dillard's building is part of the sale or not, but I guess Karam can pressure wash it and maybe paint it anyway. Also, Karam is going to hire a major real estate firm to get tenants and fill pad/outparcel sites. Karam says he is also negotiating with Cinemark to try to get them to extend their lease. The current lease expires in December 2016.

      So, anyway, there are still a lot of question marks at this point, but at least this is major progress. I wonder when Karam plans on opening the mall. Maybe he'll be able to get it going by the Christmas 2015 season. It probably makes sense for Karam to take his time and try to get a good number of tenants before he opens the mall. To do otherwise might be repeating history.

      It would be great if Karam offers a survey to the public. Some of the user comments on the Daily News article offer good ideas. We'll see what happens though. Karam did a good job with the former Macy's so there's reason to be optimistic about things even if it will be a bit of a challenge getting shoppers back and good retailers to come to the mall. I wonder when/if Karam will implement a marketing push for the mall.

      I'll try to get as many updates about the Mall of the Mainland as I can. We probably should start to see some work being done to the outside of the mall soon I'm guessing. This is probably the closest we'll get to seeing a "new" indoor mall being built in Houston anytime soon so we should enjoy this process.

      I'll post updates to your other recent replies in the other posts in the next couple of days. There's a lot to discuss these days so it might take some time to write everything out.

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    3. That is certainly good news. Hopefully they can get at least one more of the empty anchors going again. If they really want to get creative they can get Cinemark to move to where the Dillard's was and create a nice entrance to the food court. Both of those buildings would have to be demolished of course, but maybe they have been following our comments to get ideas. I really think a name change is in order for the mall. Maybe something like Mainland Center or the Shops at Texas City. Even the Mall of Texas City would be better. I look forward to updating the progress of this property. Hopefully the new ownership will embrace my blog updates like the management of the PlazAmerica's Mall did. I know I helped get the word out that PlazAmerica's had significantly improved since the name change.

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  37. It is going to be interesting to see what happens at the Mall of the Mainland in the next few months. I also agree that it would make sense to change the name of the mall, but Karam said earlier that he wants to keep the name since it has recognition in the area or whatever. I suppose there is something to be said about that, but the name also has a certain level of taint that goes along with it. Anyway, I doubt that anything has been set in stone at this point so maybe that decision can be changed.

    Hopefully the mall operators will appreciate your efforts in informing potential shoppers about the changes. The mall will need all the good publicity that it can get. Maybe they’ll invite you to get some behind the scene pictures during any potential renovations, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that invite. Karam took your picture of the Macy’s so maybe they read your blog. If so, hopefully they’ll read the suggestions we post and maybe ask for suggestions. I know that I plan on shopping at the mall when/if it reopens (I still shop at the Sears regularly) so I’m certainly part of the intended audience for the mall.

    I think it would be a great idea for Cinemark to build a new theater on the ex-Dillard’s pad (assuming that the mall owns the pad or that they can buy it) if they want to open a new theater. There’s certainly been talk about Cinemark building a new theater in/near Texas City, but it seems like those talks have stalled and the news that HEB is building their store in Texas City itself and not on I-45 might eliminate Cinemark’s hope of building a theater on I-45. OTOH, if Cinemark wants to keep the discount theater, it probably makes sense to renew the lease on the current theater so that they won’t have to spend all the money to build a new theater.

    It would be great if the mall could get another anchor in the ex-JCPenney. At least another couple of junior anchors in there would help. They also need to fill the former Palais Royal spot, which should be a pretty prime spot, and the former Affordable Furniture spot too. That should be a prime spot too since we know that there will be some shoppers traveling between the gym and Sears. I think something like a TJMaxx, Ross, or dd’s discounts would be a good junior anchor for the mall.

    Hopefully the Galveston Daily News will report news about the mall’s progress. If nothing else, I pass by the area fairly regularly so I should be able to report any physical changes to the mall. Perhaps we can see the changes through the Sears mall entrance gate. I guess that Sears was wise enough not to wall in the mall entrance, but now they’ll have to find more room for the clothing racks they put in the mall entrance after the mall closed.

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    1. I would not mind getting an invite to tour the mall before it opens. At PlazAmerica's they took me through the whole mall and I got to tour construction areas.
      A few new junior anchors with outside entrances would be a good start getting the project going.
      You are in for a real treat because I am about to approve some great comments with info from Scott. Lots of Kmart information.

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  38. maybe they can turn the old Dillard's into a medical building or convert the lower floor into lobby like they did with Macy's. If there smart they should attract a big university to open a satellite campus their or demolition the old section of the mall and put it their. But indeed something big would have to go their to make that side work . maybe something like city centre or a mini downtown would work.
    I always wonder why this mall wasn't built on the island. I think it would be very popular and would still be open.
    Also had this mall been built on the other side of I 45 , I think baybrook may have been a thing of a past.

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    1. When the mall was planned the Galvez Mall was still doing good business. The developers thought both malls could co-exist and would draw shoppers from their nearby areas. Sadly Mall of the Mainland took Sears and the Galvez Mall quickly declined and closed in 1996. Mall of the Mainland is not a prime location, but the population near Baybrook and Almeda Malls has kept those malls going strong while Mall of the Mainland was never established as a good mall. I think a lot of people were disappointed in the new mall with lots of empty space and decided to continue going to Baybrook. For some reason malls and outlet malls in Galveston County have not been able to have the same success as similar developments in metro Houston. The new Outlet Mall in Texas City opened up with 100% occupancy, but Tanger is good with ensuring developments open up with a full tenant list. We will see if they expand the Outlets as planned and continue to do well.

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    2. First off, I do have a quick Mall of the Mainland update. I drove by the mall the other day and I noticed that they were trimming/cutting the trees next to the Dillard’s. I suppose this is the first step in Karam’s ownership of the mall, but then again, who knows what is going on inside. Interestingly enough, the trimming of the trees was the first thing Karam did to the outside of the former Macy’s.

      I really can’t imagine the Mall of the Mainland putting Baybrook Mall under even given the best circumstances. Perhaps it could have co-existed with Baybrook if the mall was planned better, but I think Baybrook is always going to have many advantages going for it. The Friendswood/Webster/Clear Lake area is just a better place for a mall than Texas City/La Marque given the demographics.

      Building a mall on the island probably would have been more expensive and it may have limited the mall’s appeal to people living in League City, Dickinson, and other places in mainland Galveston County. Plus, Galveston has had failed malls with the Port Holiday Mall and Galvez Mall so it’s hardly clear that a mall in Galveston would be successful.

      As for building a mall on the other side of I-45, that may have been a smart move. They probably could have gotten better freeway visibility and access if they built it on the other side. Then again, the “old” outlet mall was built on the other side of I-45 just a little bit after the Mall of the Mainland was built and it was a failure. Although the Tanger Outlet seems to be doing okay, I think that the Texas City market is just a tough place for retailers even though people keep trying to make things work there.

      The old Dillard’s building may have been a good place for UTMB to build a facility, but they are in the process of opening a new facility right across 1764 from the mall. Thus, I’m guessing that UTMB isn’t really an option. Then again, medical facilities tend to cluster around one another and maybe another medical facility wanting in Texas City might consider one of the empty anchors at the Mall of the Mainland.

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    3. It sounds like things may be happening at the Mall of the Mainland. I wonder if they are going to leave the mall entrance near Dillard's uncovered so you can see what is going on inside through the windows.
      There are so many ideas for what can happen at the mall, but few viable options for the property. Speaking of reopened malls check out the Plaza Central Mall update page on Facebook. It looks like the mall has a few stores open, but there is a long way to go if the mall is going to come back. https://www.facebook.com/SixFlagsMallTributes

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    4. Thanks for the photos of the Plaza Central Mall. It looks like progress has been slow there, but at least there has been some progress. Hopefully the Mall of the Mainland will have better success. I've been impressed with what Karam has done so far, but he has a challenge on his hands this time.

      It'll be interesting to see if Karam will even open the east end of the mall if there aren't tenants in the old JCPenney and Dillard's. It might make sense to market that end of the mall to businesses/medical/educational organizations and maybe keep the Sears to the food court part of the mall for retail, but we'll see. Hopefully Karam will have so much interest that he'll have to open the whole mall. That seems like a real longshot, but the mall reopening at all for retail is almost like an impossible dream coming true. Well, it'll come true when it happens. I'm still not sure if a reopening date has been set.

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    5. The Plaza Central Mall looks like parts of PlazAmericas Mall did when they first opened the renovated portions with the markets. Sadly the whole mall from the pictures looks like only a few places have come back. If they get a couple more anchors filled with discount retailers or some other retail uses, things will start to happen. It looks like Dillard's may be keeping their mall entrance closed, but maybe the store closes earlier than the mall like at Greenspoint.
      I hope that Karam will post some drawings soon so we can see what he plans on doing with the mall.

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  39. Still lots of nice improvements coming soon

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  40. I was browsing the Mall of the Mainland's Facebook page and they had a new link on there to an entry on Craigslist advertising the Mall of the Mainland food court/theater bar for lease. I'm not sure who put up the ad, but anyway, I guess even mall space can be leased through Craigslist. The posting does have some interesting behind the scenes pictures of the bar though in case anyone is interested.

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    1. Interesting, that place looks like it needs Jon Taffer to come in and fix it up. Unless they build houses on that side of the mall, I just don't see the place working without the mall reopening. If they can reopen the mall, this space will have a chance. I find it unusual that Craiglist is where they are advertising the bar.

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  41. The Galveston Daily News had an update about the Mall of the Mainland recently. I was able to pull up the article. It seems that Jerome Karam has a deal to open the state’s largest indoor trampoline park, Altitude Trampoline Park, at the mall. The park will also have a rock wall and birthday party rooms. I’m not sure where the trampoline park is going, but the ex-JCPenney building would be a logical guess since they will need 45,000 sq. ft. The ex-JCPenney can probably be subdivided to fit that space. The article does not have any updates about when or if the indoor part of the mall will reopen, but it sounds like Karam is well on his way to filling up the empty anchor spots at the Mall of the Mainland given the previous sale of the ex-Dillard's to a church.

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    1. I am not sure if the ceilings inside of the former JCPenney would be tall enough for a trampoline park. I might be wrong, but I think that they would need taller areas like the mall corridors or former food court area for a rock wall and trampolines. Have you passed by the mall recently to check on the progress?

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  42. You make a good point about the ceiling height at the JCPenney. I don’t know how high those ceilings are, but I guess they can take out the drop ceiling (as far as I can tell from peeking through the windows while driving by, the drop ceiling has already been somewhat removed at the very least). There are some smaller indoor jump places in old grocery stores so maybe the ceilings will be okay, but it’s hard to say. The old grocery stores may have had higher ceilings than the ex-JCPenney.

    Karam’s business has updated their website recently. They have some indoor shots of the mall on there. It’s hard to say when they were taken, but they were certainly taken after the mall closed so they might be pretty new. They are worth looking at.

    I have been by the mall recently, but I didn’t notice any significant changes. I’ve also been in the Sears, but there aren’t any changes worth noting. It does not look like any changes have been made to the ex-Dillard’s yet after the church brought it, but I’m sure we’ll see some changes soon. The changes may not be very visible from the outside, but I guess there will be big changes on the inside.

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    1. There was one time an inflatable moonwalk was inside of the mall in front of the former JCPenney for a childs birthday party. It was not too long before that section of the mall was closed off. The food court area seems like the best choice because of the high ceilings and easy to renovate spaces for birthday parties and food outlets. He also has that area in his pictures above, which makes me think that is his next area to work on. It would be really easy to reopen that section of the mall for that purpose. I noticed that he has projects going on in other states including a historic property in New Orleans that I am familiar with. Hopefully Karam has deep enough pockets to bring the mall back. Thanks for the link by the way.

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  43. The Houston Chronicle website had a short article about the Mall of the Mainland recently. There's not much in the article that is new news, but it does quote Karam as saying that the mall is offering 1980s rent prices. Karam states that he expects the mall to be fully leased in the next year, but I'm not sure what he means by that. Does he mean that the indoor part of the mall will be fully leased or just the anchor spots? We'll see I guess, but it does sound like Karam has some momentum going.

    In other Mall of the Mainland news, it sounds like a former WWE wrestler will be opening a wrestling academy at the Mall of the Mainland. The academy will be in the old Palais Royal spot according to the mall's Facebook page. A wrestling TV show will also be recorded at the academy apparently. Karam is certainly finding some interesting non-retail uses for the mall. Perhaps the proximity to the gym helped make this happen.

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    1. It really sounds like they are thinking outside of the box with the redevelopment of the mall. Hopefully they will reopen the mall corridor soon so we can see it once again.

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  44. It sounds like a new bar/restaurant will be coming to the Mall of the Mainland in March. I'm not sure if this will go in the old bar spot by the theater or if this will go in an outparcel, but the spot by the theater would be my guess. We'll have to see, but it could be another success for Karam.

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    1. Maybe they can modify the old Palais Royal so they will have a spot at the front of the mall. It seems like an odd fit, having a college, gym, and church in the same building. They are really maximizing the use of the mall with this addition.

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    2. #1346 is the site of the bar near the cinema. I guess I was wrong about the bar possibly having a spot at the old Palais Royal.

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