Friday, August 28, 2009

Sharpstown Mall Update August 28, 2009

I had not been in this mall since my last update at the beginning of the summer. The mall has lost a couple of retail tenants and opened up the new ice cream shop on the outskirts of the food court. I did not notice any new retail tenants since my last visit. Some signs have been removed from the closed stores but many still remain. The former Finger's mall entrance has been unboarded, so there may be a new tenant there soon. The directories have been updated as well. There was a good crowd here on this Friday afternoon and the upper center court was really busy with a 97.9 radio station promotion at the Foot Locker. The jewelry stores in the center court were also busy today. Nearly all of the empty store spaces now have signs advertising that the space is available. The former Circuit City store across the street is being renovated to become a large thrift store, so the area may be on the verge of a small rebound that the mall can benefit from.

All of the directories have been updated.

Palais Royal and the center court

More pictures from the former cinema.

The food court is still mostly empty, but there is a new ice cream outlet called Miigloo in the first picture.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Houston Center

Welcome to the Houston Center. This mall is situated in between the Houston Center buildings and has connections to the neighboring office towers. The mall does brisk lunch business and contains a huge food court. There is also a quizno's on the opposite side of the mall from the food court. This mall was built in the 1980's as an upscale mall called The Park Shops. Many of the high end stores closed and the mall has struggled as a retail destination, but the restaurants do very well. Jos A. Bank, Waldenbook's, Hallmark, Dress Barn, Radio Shack, and various downtown related businesses are the only retail outlets here. The mall also has access to the underground tunnel system of Houston. The mall does not have any true anchors unless you count the Macy's a few blocks away connected by the tunnel. The mall was renovated in 2006 and the name was changed to Houston Center. The mall also opened up some stores on the outside of the mall. When the 2003 Superbowl was held in Houston my wife and I saw Mike Ditka here at the mall doing a live ESPN broadcast on the patio (see photo #2). Security was heavy, so we did not get an autograph. The patio used to have a view of the convention center, but now there is a skyscraper blocking the view. With the Houston Pavilion Center only three blocks away; this mall will have some serious competition. For now they co-exist; the Houston Center is busy in the day, and The Pavilions is going for the night traffic.
The Houston Center is nothing special, but functions as a great place to grab a meal in the day.

A directory view

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Houston Pavilions

Welcome to the Houston Pavilions. This is a three level lifestyle center in the heart of downtown Houston that opened up in late 2008. The center was built to cater to the downtown population and draw traffic from the discovery green park. This center was built just two blocks away from the Houston Center. The Houston Center has a better location in between five office towers and it is only one block away from the park. The Houston Center is also an established mall that has been in business over 25 years. The Pavilions has an advantage in that it is directly off of the downtown light rail line and closer to the bulk of the downtown skyscrapers. The House of Blues is a good draw for the nighttime club hoppers and there are many new restaurants in development at the center on the first floor. The retail seems to be struggling here with only the Books a Million, Forever 21, and Max Azara open for retail sales, but if the clubs keep coming this place will really help out the downtown nightlife.

Here are a few shots from the Wells Fargo Plaza's 59th floor or the center.

Books a Million and Forever 21 are anchors here, but they both are at the same end of the center. The House of Blues is at the other end. One of the issues with the center is that the first floor has a street going through it in two places making it a difficult to cross there. You have to go to a crosswalk or go up to the second floor to cross the street.

The hallways of the upper floors are mainly empty, but the first floor is about 50% full. There is an office tower connected to this center that will bring more lunch traffic to the area when the building is rented out.

New photo update 10/08/2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Macy's Downtown Houston

Here is the Macy's location in downtown Houston. This building is ten stories tall and a basement level with five of those floors dedicated to shopping space. It is a rare site these days when a major chain such as Macy's keeps a downtown location open from an acquisition. This location was originally Foley's signature store and corporate offices. I am not sure what the age of the building is ,but it has to be at least fifty years old with all of the old design elements. The levels of this store are as follows. The basement/ tunnel level connects to the downtown underground tunnels and contains meeting and training space for Macy's. The first level or street level has men's clothing, jewelry, and shoes. The second and third floors are all women's clothing. The fourth floor contains more women's, children's and the furniture store (see photos below). The fifth floor contains the cellar, customer service, bed, and bath items. Any floor above that is for corporate use. This store is truly a relic of the past and a great store to visit.

All levels have this old signage by the escalators and old school clocks.

Check out the retro elevators that say "this car up". The street level is the only level to have these signs on the elevators; the rest just have arrows.