Here are a few major proposed malls that never were never built in the Houston area in the 1980's through 1990's. There were also many other projects during this time period that failed including the Deauville and Buyer's Market Malls which opened in the mid 1980's at the peak of the recession. There are no images for any of these developments online except for the most recent Katy Mall proposal. If anyone has any further information about these malls or photos of the any of the proposals submit a comment below.
Southbrook Mall 1986
Southbrook Mall was announced in August 1986. The mall was to be 800,000 square feet with 4 anchors and developed by the same company (Homart) that developed Willowbrook, Deerbrook, and Baybrook Malls. The location of the mall was to be at the Northwest corner of Almeda Genoa and Hwy 288. The Southbrook development was to be on 165 total acres of land with homes and the mall using 83 acres of the development. The only anchor that would have for sure been part of the mall was Sears since Homart at the time was part of the Sears financial network. This mall would have been comparable to any one of the 1980's era Homart malls. This project likely had issues with funding due to the terrible late 1980's economy of Houston. This site is still a wooded area waiting for development.
Williamsburg Mall 1986
Williamsburg Mall was announced in October 1986. The mall was to be between 800,000 and 1,000,000 square feet of retail space hosting 4 to 6 anchors by Homart Development. The site is North of 1-10 between Peak and Mason Roads on 110 acres of land near Mason Park. DeBartolo initially planned a mall at the site in the early 1980's but those plans also fell through. Sears would have more than likely been an anchor at this mall as well since they did not have their store at West Oaks Mall yet. This project also likely had issues with funding due to the terrible late 1980's economy of Houston. See Katy Mall below for an update on the site.
Copperfield Mall 1986
Copperfield Mall was announced in 1986 to be located at Highway 6 and FM 529 (Southwest corner) on 100 acres by the Herring/ Marathon Group. The initial plans for the mall were for 6 department stores. The mall was delayed in late 1986 and was still planned into the early 1990's. Not many more details are known about the 1990's plan for this mall and it would probably have been built similarly to the Mall of the Mainland. Herring was involved with the San Jacinto and Mall of the Mainland developments. The Copperfield Mall site is now filled with Big Box stores.
Conroe Mall 1987
Conroe Mall was announced in December 1987. Edward J. DeBartolo was going to develop the mall at I-45 and Texas 336 in Crighton Park (Southeast corner) development by Friendswood. The mall which was planned to open in 1991 was to have five anchors and over 1 million square feet of retail space on 115 acres. This would have been the first DeBartolo development in the Houston area. The nearby Woodlands Mall which was originally scheduled for construction in 1982 and a 1984 opening was still in being planned in 1987 by Homart Development. The competition was fierce since there would not be enough people to support 2 nearby malls and the first project to get started would be the winner. The Woodlands Mall project by 1989 had signed on Sears, Dillard's, and Mervyn's came on in the early 1990's which killed the Conroe Mall project by February 1992. The property is still mostly undeveloped with some houses and is still listed on Loopnet as commercial property.
Bluebonnet Mall 1989
Bluebonnet Mall was proposed in February 1989 along with a racetrack named Bluebonnet Downs, hotels, and offices. American B/T/R Inc. was the company behind this proposal. The site was at Hwy 290 and FM 1960 at the Northwest corner. Very little information on this development is available, but the neighboring residents were fighting this proposal and wrote to the Texas Racing Commission to create a one mile buffer between the proposed racetrack and their properties. This proposal sounded like a pie in the sky type of proposal and financing was probably also an issue. This property is the location of some restaurants and small offices but is mostly wooded.
Katy Mall 1995
Katy Mall was announced in November 1995 by a joint venture names Interfin. The Katy Mall was to be on the same site as the Williamsburg Mall proposal on a portion of 727 acres at the Grand Parkway to just West of Mason Road North of I-10. In late 1995 Houston Premium Outlets was proposed for this site instead of the Katy Mall which was going to be a traditional regional mall. The Katy Mills project was also announced in 1997 and construction began in 1998 which more than likely killed the outlet portion of the project. Katy Mills at 1.6 square million feet versus 360,000 to 800,000 square feet for this proposal. JCPenney, and some other retailers moved into this site in the late 1990's and 2000's but the property is still being slowly developed. Here is a photo of the 2009 version of the proposal which shows an outdoor mall instead of the indoor mall initially proposed.
Commonwealth Mall 1997
Commonwealth Mall was proposed in December 1997 for the Southeast corner of I-10 and the Grand Parkway just South of the Katy Mall/ Houston Premium Outlet site. The 90 acre site was going to be developed by the Commonwealth Development Group which developed several Northeastern US malls. Foley's signed a letter of intent at this mall, but no other department stores were mentioned. In April 1998 this site was purchased by John Beeson who shopped the site to several national mall developers, but plans for a mall were cancelled. This mall was likely also killed by Katy Mills which had many traditional mall stores as well as outlets. The site was subdivided and has an Academy and other businesses.
Thanks for posting this great post. There's a lot of debate and discussion that can come out of this post as to how these malls would have fared if they were built and how it might have impacted existing malls. I'll probably focus this post more on the 1980s proposals than the 1990s ones as the Sears-Homart proposals were probably more realistic than some of the others.ReplyDelete
The oil bust and the banking scandals probably caused the Southbrook and Williamsburg Malls from being built. I think the Williamsburg Mall could have been very successful if it was built. It may have had a bit of a slow start ala Deerbrook Mall, but it would have been rolling by the mid-1990s due to the growth of Katy. Katy Mills Mall probably wouldn't have been built if Williamsburg Mall was there, but that wouldn't have been some great loss IMO.
Homart maybe have been concerned about competition from West Oaks Mall, Town & Country Mall, and Memorial City Mall, but I think Williamsburg would have done fine anyway. Williamsburg would have hastened the demise of T&C Mall and Memorial City might not be nearly as strong as it is now if Williamsburg existed, but it would probably still be a viable mall space.
I'm not sure if Southbrook Mall would have had such a rosy future. Some parts of Pearland would probably still prefer to shop at Baybrook Mall and maybe even Almeda Mall to some extent. Putting the mall north of the Beltway may have given the mall an image problem as a location south of the Beltway (like the Pearland Town Center location) probably would have been a better choice. That land still hasn't developed fully so maybe that is a sign that wasn't an ideal location for a mall.
The "Copperfield Mall" and the Bluebonnet Mall are especially interesting to me since both of those areas are close to where I live. Certainly both malls couldn't have been built as that would have been a disaster. The FM 529 & Hwy. 6 intersection has two major powercenters on it plus a decent sized shopping center and a Lowe's/Home Depot combo. The area probably could have supported a mall (though not something as big as planned), but traffic is a nightmare on that intersection as it is. Putting a mall there may have been a disaster.
As for the Bluebonnet Mall, I do remember the talk about the race track, but I don't remember much talk about the mall. Anyway, there was a lot of local opposition to the horse track so I'm not sure if there was ever a realistic chance of it being built. A FM 1960 & 290 mall could have done well, but Willowbrook Mall would have been stiff competition. The presence of Compaq probably ensured Willowbrook's relevance and Willowbrook had good management at the time so it would have been a formidable competitor. Of course, this would have been another mall that would have suffered some serious traffic problems.
The Conroe Mall would have been a disaster if it competed with The Woodlands Mall. The Woodlands is such a strong area that there is no way that Conroe could have competed with it. Plus, The Woodlands Mall had much better management than what some DeBartolo mall would have had. Perhaps there will be a time where a Conroe mall can exist along with The Woodlands Mall, but we aren't quite there yet.
Town and Country may not have lasted through 1995 if the Williamsburg Mall had been built. It had a decent following because of the different department stores that were there, but it finally tapered off as Memorial started stealing anchors. Katy could still support a three anchor traditional mall today, but Katy Mills would suffer unless the mall is built further to the North on the Grand Parkway. The growth is just not there in that area though and most of that stretch of highway looks like country roads until you get to I-10.Delete
Southbrook would probably exist similarly to how Northwest and Almeda exist today. The area just does not have enough residents nearby to support a large mall and would more than likely have vacant anchors.
The Bluebonnet Mall was priced at 50 million in the article which would have been a decent mall for the time, but Willowbrook would probably still be the dominant mall since it is much closer to the Beltway.
The Copperfield mall seemed like it was close to getting built in the 1990's, but the emphasis was on building Mall of the Mainland first. If Mall of the Mainland had performed better, the financing would have been easier to get.
If the Conroe Mall could have gotten 2 anchors it probably would have been built. Knowing how DeBartolo seemed to ignore many of the issues with areas where they chose to build malls, this one was probably very close to getting off of the ground. So many of the malls they built were close to other malls and were unable to compete after a few years. Belle Promenade and Sunrise Mall are two examples. Conroe Outlets and the JCPenney center in the Conroe area are both struggling. The JCPenney center was going to have a Cabela's and a full outdoor lifestyle center. The development severtal years later only has the JCPenney store and a few outlot shops and restaurants. Strangely enough there are now plans for a lifestyle center across the Highway from where the Conroe Mall was going to be built.
I certainly think that the Williamsburg Mall would have been very successful if Homart opened it. You're probably right in saying that Town & Country Mall may have been gone within the 1990s if Williamsburg opened. I also agree that a major traditional mall can be successful in the Katy area today, but I'm also not sure where to locate it. While the Grand Parkway stretch between Cypress and Katy seems pretty rural today, I don't expect it to stay that way for long. There's a lot of developments near Cypress that are coming up near the Grand Parkway and I'm sure those will take up a lot of the land that is vacant now. Of course, that area is really quite far from Willowbrook Mall so perhaps there is (or will be soon) some demand for a mall there.
Of course, the Cypress-Katy stretch of the Grand Parkway seems like one good place to put a mall, but there are challenges there. For one, Katy Mills is on the southern end of that stretch and the Cypress outlets are on the northern end of that stretch. Obviously there would be some competition there (especially with Katy Mills). Also, many Katy residents south of I-10 tend to view the part of Katy north of I-10 in a negative way. Cypress residents may feel the same way. Thus, locating a mall in the middle of that stretch of the Grand Parkway could be risky as some potential shoppers may think that the mall is located in a "ghetto." I know that sounds silly, but some residents believe that to be true so it's something that has to be accounted for. Another potential problem is that locating a mall on a toll road is risky. Obviously, some shoppers would not want to pay tolls to get to the mall. There are some malls located on or near the Beltway, but those malls are also accessible by "free" freeways too.
Locating a mall on the Grand Parkway between Katy and Sugar Land really does not make sense either because that would put the new mall close to First Colony Mall. A new mall could take advantage of some of the growth in the Richmond/Rosenberg area though. Another option might be to wait a few years and see if Katy continues to develop towards Brookshire. If so, locating a mall in that area could make sense and may put the new mall far enough away from Katy Mills, but it only makes sense if high dollar growth continues out that way. Of course, all of this assumes that someone is interested in building an indoor mall these days. I think there would be demand for one, but I'm not sure if anyone is willing to build one.
I think Homart's plans for the Southbrook Mall were way too overly optimistic. You might be right to say that the mall might have ended up like Almeda/Northwest Mall today. Probably the best comparison of how I think it would have turned out would be West Oaks Mall. The mall would probably still exist and it would have ups and downs (though the first few years would have been very lean and may have permanently given the mall a bad reputation like the Mall of the Mainland), but it would probably have some vacancy problems that might have necessitated downsizing.
I'm sure that the failure of the Mall of the Mainland helped put an end to the "Copperfield Mall" plans. Perhaps some of the struggles of West Oaks Mall around 1990 didn't help either. Of course, it was becoming obvious by 1990 or so that mall construction was cooling and big box power centers were warming up. Perhaps that gave the developers a reason to pause.
You're probably right that DeBartolo would have built the Conroe Mall if they had more commitments even if they didn't have enough commitments. Of course, that would have been a disaster like so many other DeBartolo malls like you say. Conroe has certainly struggled with retail over the years, but slowly growth is occurring north of The Woodlands towards Conroe. This will probably be hastened by the Exxon move and the Grand Parkway. This will probably make Conroe more viable for big boxes and things, but The Woodlands Mall has so much power in the area that Conroe probably still won't be able to support anything like a major mall anytime soon.
Maybe the Katy Mall could also be located on I-10 between the Beltway and the Grand Parkway, but that would also take sales away from West Oaks and Memorial City. Another idea is to add traditional anchors onto Katy Mills which would make the mall an even larger attraction.Delete
The Copperfield Mall would have probably been a decent mall since the area has a lot of nearby population. The other two malls would have been failures and would be barely surviving if they were around still. Burlington Coat Factory, colleges or other non-retail uses would have taken over these malls. If any indoor malls are ever built again in the United States, Houston seems like a likely choice because of the tremendous population growth.
I read that on the HAIF, a second enclosed mall would be built near Greenspoint and be even more upscale. It would've included an ice rink.ReplyDelete
Pre-crash there was supposed to be a companion mall to Greenspoint across I-45, supposedly. http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/17325-greenspoint-mall-memories/?p=383197ReplyDelete
As for any potential shifts, I think toll roads do hurt malls--the construction at Beltway 8 at former West Belt Road in the early 1990s or late 1980s made Town & Country Mall hard to access and would signal the beginning of the end for the mall, allowing Memorial City Mall to expand and secure its place as the dominant mall in the region.
So if what you're saying is correct, Williamsburg Mall would be on the place where Verde Parc is to be (formerly "The Grand", prop. outdoor mall). Had that been the case, I'm thinking that Town & Country Mall and West Oaks Mall are still screwed, Katy Mills wouldn't have been built and instead possibly built in Cypress (this still leaves room for an outdoor outlet mall in Katy later down the line). Memorial City Mall would be mostly unaffected but probably not nearly as dominant.
Bluebonnet Mall might've worked, but the location is too small. The wooded areas are gone for a small business park, and unless you took out the remaining businesses, the land area would be about the size of Northwest Mall's property (even today, post-ROW acquisition).
Copperfield Mall might've worked, but would be hamstrung by a poor location miles away from any freeways. The only way it could've worked is if Highway 6 became a freeway, which might've been planned. If Copperfield and not Bluebonnet had been built, it's still likely that Memorial City would've stolen business from it like West Oaks.
Thanks for sending over the HAIF forum link about the Greenspoint area luxury mall. The Houston Chronicle archives I found my information for are from 1985 to 2014, but I will see if I can find any info and add it to this article.Delete
The Southwest side of Houston has some new proposals that are going to add two more outlet malls. One is near Rosenburg and the other one is where the former Texas Instruments site is in Stafford. I think this is way too much for the West side of Houston to have 4 outlet malls.
The Verde Parc Katy site has gone through many changes. There was even another mall planned on the same site before Williamsburg was proposed as well but I could not find further information about that proposal. It was only mentioned in the article about the Williamsburg Mall.
The Bluebonnet Mall had the least amount of information out of the failed mall proposals. According to the news articles, the horse track was the main component of this project and they faced opposition from nearby residents.
Copperfield Mall would have created a traffic nightmare for that area of Highway 6, but the area has developed well without the mall. Some express lanes on highway 6 would have been helpful to get people to the mall faster. The money they lost from the Mall of the Mainland development likely killed their financing for this mall.
Southbrook Mall might've worked, given that there aren't any other real malls in the area. It would certainly be the dominant mall in the Pearland area, but that's assuming that Pearland would grow in that direction. It might've taken a few years to take off, though.
If Conroe Mall was built, then The Woodlands Mall wouldn't have been built, and Willowbrook would've continued to be the dominant mall for the area. But because Willowbrook is so close to Greenspoint, Greenspoint also would've been doomed. It also might've meant more development in Conroe instead of The Woodlands, letting it become more of a bedroom community than it is today.
Southbrook may have changed the development patterns in the area. Most of the development on 288 has happened inside of 610 and South of the Beltway. The stretch in between where Southbrook was planned has never really taken off and has many older neighborhoods that never lived up to their potential. Pearland is one of the few areas of Houston that did not have any large department stores until about 10 year ago when JCPenney opened there. Southbrook may have lost one or more anchors to Pearland developments.Delete
Greenspoint may be in a better position today if Conroe had gotten the mall instead of the Woodlands. Many commuters to the Woodlands would have probably gone to Greenspoint instead of driving to Conroe and then back to the Woodlands. The Conroe Mall property is not in a good location and would have suffered from traffic problems. The intersection is not set up well for traffic and is not a prime location for a mall.
Interesting thoughts, PS3D. It's interesting to speculate about what could have been. I think I heard about the proposed luxury mall near Greenspoint Mall, but maybe I read the same post on HAIF. Either way, it’s a good thing that a second mall wasn’t built there because that would have been a disaster. The big box shopping center that ended up there had enough trouble even with some pretty big (and more affordable) names. Of course, the Deauville people proposed a mall in the 1970s that would have gone at FM 1960 and I-45. Montgomery Ward was interested in opening a store at that mall, but then they backed out when they were able to secure a spot at Greenspoint Mall. That set off lawsuits. Deauville ended up building one of their Deauville Fashion Malls up the road on Cypresswood near I-45 some years later.
I agree that the Williamsburg Mall would have been successful if it was built and that it would have changed the plans for Katy Mills Mall. As you say, it would have been real trouble for Town & Country Mall and West Oaks Mall. Memorial City Mall would not be the same with Williamsburg Mall there, but I think it would have stayed a viable (but probably not a superstar) mall. Also, I agree that it isn’t a great idea to put a mall on a toll road.
I actually disagree that The Woodlands Mall would not have been built if the Conroe Mall opened. The Woodlands Mall was co-developed by The Woodlands Corp. and The Woodlands people were pretty adamant about putting everything that people wanted within The Woodlands itself and they would have wanted to make sure that Conroe would not be a competitor as a development as a whole. Plus, I’m sure they knew that they could get the big stores even if a Conroe Mall existed. On top of that, I’m sure they (and Homart) knew by that point that DeBartolo malls were essentially houses of cards and could easily be defeated.
If The Woodlands Mall wasn’t built, I’m sure that Greenspoint Mall would still be the primary shopping spot for people in Spring and The Woodlands. Obviously Greenspoint then would be in better shape than it is now. I’m sure that Willowbrook Mall got some shoppers from The Woodlands back before they had their own mall, but back then Greenspoint had everything that Willowbrook had plus more so it was for sure the dominant place for people who lived in North Houston. Greenspoint did have a reputation for crime, but the mall was still popular for years even with that reputation until The Woodlands Mall opened.
I agree with your thoughts about Greenspoint. We used to go to Greenspoint before Deerbrook or Willowbrook because the mall was so much better at the time. Greenspoint was larger with 6 anchors and continued to be popular until the mid 1990's when the Woodlands Mall opened. When the Woodlands Mall opened, the mall had several empty inline spaces and did not seem too successful at first, but that quickly changed.Delete
I don’t think that the proposed Copperfield Mall would have struggled due to it not being on a freeway. Highway 6 is one of the major roads of Houston and it’s basically an extension of FM 1960. Although Willowbrook Mall has a freeway right next to it now and the Beltway isn’t too far off, neither of those existed when the mall boomed in the mall’s early days. 249 was 149 back in the early days of the mall and it wasn’t a freeway.
The problem with Willowbrook Mall before the FM 1960 underpass and the 249 freeway was built was traffic. Traffic is pretty bad there now at times, but it was much worse before the changes. The Hwy. 6 and FM 529 intersection is already a major problem now, but it might have been even worse with a mall there. Then again, there are so many powercenters on that intersection now that maybe it wouldn’t be much different.
It’s hard to say for sure, but from what I can tell, most Copperfield shoppers now use Willowbrook Mall as their primary mall. West Oaks Mall and Memorial City Mall would be their next choices (not necessarily in that order). Willowbrook Mall’s strength back then would have provided the Copperfield Mall (and certainly the Bluebonnet Mall) with tough competition, but I think it could have done okay if the mall wasn’t overly large.
I think the Southbrook Mall would have had some of the same problems that the Mall of the Mainland had. Although Pearland is a strong and booming area (in recent times at least), a lot of the development is on the east side which naturally leads people to the very strong Baybrook Mall shopping area. The location north of the Beltway probably wasn’t the best idea in terms of building the mall’s reputation (fairly or not). The mall may have survived if it was built, but it probably would have lost some anchors and the mall may have needed a resizing to stay alive ala West Oaks Mall.
Copperfield residents don't have a good go-to mall, but Willowbrook is probably the least aggravating to drive to. There are a few lesser traveled streets that can take you away from the 1960 traffic. There are not as many good options to take you to Memorial City since the area around the Beltway and I-10 has traffic most times of the day. In hindsight the Copperfield Mall should have been built first and then Texas City, but it did not happen that way for some reason.Delete
I visited The Woodlands Mall a few times in the mall's early years, but I really don't remember much about it from that time period. I was more intrigued by the surrounding big box stores at the time since The Woodlands area had one of the first Lowe's in the area and they also had the Target Greatland store across from the mall. The Woodlands was not nearly as developed in 1994 as it is now, but it was really booming in the 1990s (as it still is now) so perhaps The Woodlands needed to grow more itself before the mall really took off. Plus, a lot of the areas between Spring and The Woodlands didn't develop until more recent times. Still, I remember everyone feeling very confident that the mall would be a big success when it opened.ReplyDelete
It may not seem like it today, but Greenspoint Mall was a really strong mall well into the 1990s. It was obvious that Greenspoint was in trouble once The Woodlands Mall opened given the direction of the growth in the area and crime perceptions of the area. Greenspoint still had a few good years after The Woodlands Mall opened, but the major retailers started leaving in droves pretty soon after that. Another major attraction Greenspoint had over Willowbrook Mall aside from the factors mentioned earlier is that the Greenspoint Foley's was much larger than the Willowbrook store. Of course, the Greenspoint Macy's has since been downsized and the Willowbrook store added the men's and furniture store in the old Montgomery Ward so this is no longer the case.
Copperfield is in a bit of a hole when it comes to being near malls, but I agree that it's probably quicker and easier for them to get to Willowbrook Mall than to Memorial City Mall. Plus, the Copperfield area has much stronger cultural ties to the Cypress/NW Houston/Jersey Village areas that associate with Willowbrook Mall than to the West Houston/Katy/Spring Branch areas that associate with Memorial City Mall. Sometimes things like that make a difference when people choose where to shop and hang out.
In retrospect, it seems silly that Herring/Marathon went with the Mall of the Mainland first rather than the Copperfield Mall. NW and W Houston saw (and still sees) tremendous growth while the Texas City area is still kind of stuck in neutral. Both areas would have seen strong competition from one of the "Brook" malls, but I think the Copperfield area had a better chance. Oh well. Perhaps there are reasons why things happened why they did. Perhaps Sears and JCPenney were more interested in relocating their Galvez Mall and downtown Texas City locations respectively than expanding in NW Houston so maybe that gave the mall developers a false sense of which areas were stronger.
We will have to see what happens to Greenspoint when Exxon employees leave the area. I think the mall is going to take a major hit when the thousands of Exxon employees move to the new complex near the Woodlands. The mall has good business on the weekends but the weekday lunch crowd is going to decline until the nearby offices are filled. The Woodlands Mall will be successful for many years to come as the area grows.Delete
The glut of outlet malls coming to the Southwest side of town combined with Katy Mills and the 290 outlet mall is going to make it difficult for either Copperfield or Katy to get a traditional mall. A couple of new indoor malls opened in the past few months in Florida and New York, so Houston would be a good area for a 2015 mall opening. Houston is the #1 city in dollars spent on developments so we will hopefully start to see some new malls and new companies coming to the area.
the only way I think greenspoint will become popular is to convert the entire property into an outlet mall. there is one for miles , of course that mean a major demolition, but that might work.Delete
as for malls in katy , it is vary hard to see if a traditional mall would come in since too far west and affect katy mills , too far east would be too close to memorial city , to far south or southwest , might affect first colony or westoaks. I think if a mall came it would happen near grand parkway north. all I can see if to fix up westoaks and make it an option again for people in katy.
Greenspoint (late 1990's) and the nearby former Armadillo Flea Market (early 2010')s were both planned to become outlet malls at one point but it never happened. The North side of Houston could use a new outlet mall but it would happen closer to Spring or the Woodlands. The West Rd. area is the retail hot spot of the area now since Greenspoint declined. The Greenspoint Mall site would be better off redeveloped as warehouse or office space instead of retail.Delete
Memorial City will continue to beat West Oaks because of the location and size of the mall. Many Katy residents prefer to drive down I-10 instead of Westheimer to get to a mall. West Oaks was initially a higher end mall similar to what most of Memorial City is today, but the shoppers did not support what was there and things had to change.
I worked at West Oaks Mall from 1999 - 2010 (JC Penney 1999-2005 , and Dillard's 2005- 2010) and I can say it wasn't the area or the shoppers that led the mall go down hill it was the management. When Mr. Edward Okun 's company decided to renovate the mall back in 2004, it was hidden the cost of the renovation, and when the renovation was finished ,Okun 's company started to pass the cost of the renovation down the store by increasing rent. THIS was the reason JCP , closed there location , it had nothing to do with sales , that store did well up until it closed in 2005. JCP stated it was cheaper to leave the mall and build a store rather than go to a mall. That was the reason Memorial city mall Lord and Taylor building was vacant for a while . Memorial city mall gave a discount to JCP to open up there. Back to westoaks, when JCP closed I moved over to Dillard's since I went to school nearby. In Jan. 2006 , Dillard's approached the mall to open a Male only store in the former JCP store. I remember dillard's had a design made up of what the male departments would become when the store was to move the mens stuff out. I remember the mall said Dillard would have the bldg. for x amount of money, but all I remember it would be cheaper to build a new location that to buy the bldg. So Dillard's withdrew and then Foley's tried also but idk what happened . For the inlet store, westoaks had bad luck because several stores went out of business., such as Eddie Bauer , the Bombay furniture and others I cant remember. The management was more interested in collecting more rent than actively seeing store. At one point Starbucks and apple store wanted a location but they never came due to high rent. Some big store stayed until there lease expired and other stayed. When Edward Okun lost the mall and went into foreclosure, big store like forever 21 and other wanted to renew there lease but never was able to renew because the mall wouldn't answer the phone . I remember my friend worked at pacsun and this was the case. BIG MISTAKE on westoaks management Eventually , stores slowly closed . Around 2009 the mall was really bad , that was when Dillard's finally decided after the Christmas holiday , the store would become a clearance store. This is when I leave west oaks since my job was no longer needed since I worked in men's denim and that section doesn't exist in clearance stores. West Oaks got destroyed by the bad management. This went from being a top location to also sharps town in only 5 years. Good thing is this mall always comes but this time I think it will be slower than the 1990 conversion.Delete
Thanks for an inside look at a crucial time in the history of West Oaks. Since the mall had switched from being high-end into a middle-tier mall you would think management would have worked hard to keep stores. I guess they were just collecting their paychecks with no incentive to do well. The renovation at West Oaks really made the mall look nice and it still does to this day. I did notice that even with the renovations they could not keep stores especially in the former Mervyn's wing. Many of the chain stores they lost in the early 2000's will be nearly impossible to get back, but who knows Palais Royal came back.Delete
I have to agree with the comment about the westoaks management. A lot of people say it was first colony or katy mills killed the mall but that wasn't the case. Iv lived in the area since the mall was being built back in 1983. First colony didn't really cause problems to West oaks, The mall stayed strong a good 10 years after first colony opened. Katy mills had a small impact but remember there are any department stores in katy until JCPenney opened. I remember it was shocking when we heard JC penney moving. That store was always crowded. It was definitely a nice location and very upscale looking. I use to go to Lord and Taylor when it was lord and Taylor and all JC Penney did was bring in there merchandise. Every thing was used from Lord and Taylor even the jewelry cases. I saw the mall fall from being a really nice mall in just 4 years. (2005-2009)Delete
As for what happened back in 1990, it was due to the area . The area was not develop . Everything you see around the mall came in the mid 90's. Westoaks was in the middle of farms. Lord and taylor left due to the reconfigured of there Houston store. It was know it was going to close because greenspoint and memorial city lost there store a year earlier. As for saks, they tend to leave quickly if they don't meet sales. We saw this with town and country, that store was only opened for 4 years. If it stayed a year or 2 I think when dillard's opened, I think that mall would have stayed upscale and the area and mall would be really different.
Many people like to blame other malls but if it was that , we would see immediately effects like we saw with sharpstown and Westwood mall with stores closing with the first year after first colony opened. The management really messed the mall up the second time back in 2005-2009
Management in the 2005-2009 era did make things difficult for that mall. I read that one of the managers/owner of the mall was in trouble for something a few years back as well. Losing Mervyn's and then Steve and Barry's hurt also. Making the mall smaller and adding the outdoor component has made the mall a more attractive place to shop. Unfortunately I recently read about a carjacking at the mall which will hurt business.Delete
There tends to be multiple factors that cause malls to fail/struggle. Bad management happens and sometimes it happened at other malls with big name developers like DeBartolo, but a lot of the sketchy operators buy malls on the cheap due to the struggles of past owners and non-interest from successful mall developers like GGP and Simon. I don’t know how much of an impact competition had on West Oaks Mall, but it’s probably at least a small factor. Sometimes malls struggle when there are negative perceptions about them. It’s possible that West Oaks suffered when it failed as a high-end mall in the 1980s and became a more mainstream mall in the 1990s. It still did well for a while, but perhaps the perceptions about the mall not being viable for high end retail caused ripple effects.Delete
Anyway, I think West Oaks has had a lot of issues over the years that causes it to still be a decent mall, but not an outstanding performing mall. Bad management in the past is a big factor, perhaps even the biggest factor. Bad timing with the opening of the mall is another factor, but maybe management should have seen that coming ala Homart’s wise reluctance during the same period. Newer competition can be a factor as well. The failure of the companies of some of the anchors is a problem too that is related to bad luck. It’s hard to say how much each factor played in things, but I think they all play into things.
I did not hear about the carjacking. Hopefully that will not lead to shoppers abandoning the mall. Although some areas not far from the mall have had some crime issues in the past, I don't think West Oaks Mall has the same crime stigma that Greenspoint Mall, Sharpstown Mall, and Westwood Mall had/have. Perceptions can change in a negative way very quickly though.
I went to West Oaks yesterday briefly but I walked the whole interior of the mall. There were a few more vacancies than on my last visit which is concerning. The McDonalds closed in the food court also. Normally this is the time of year when malls go through store turnover so we will see how things are looking in the summer time.Delete
I think communities should be able to have a say in the future of mall properties. There are so many malls in the US that have been ruined by bad management. Some of the malls could have been saved by active management who was willing to spend money to modernize their properties.
It’s disappointing to hear about some of the losses at West Oaks Mall. McDonald’s is a pretty big loss, but the West Oaks food court is still pretty good AFAIK. Well, at least it looks pretty nice. This is a tough time for retailers as a lot of them suffer from post-holiday blues. Hopefully the mall will be able to pick up some new tenants as the year goes on.Delete
Malls are private property (well, in most cases at least) so it’s hard for anyone to have a say in what happens to them. It would be nice if every mall operator had good intentions, skills, and funding to operate malls properly, but we know that isn’t always the case. I know at least in the past that there were favorable tax breaks (especially related to depreciation) for mall construction/ownership. I don’t know if these laws are still in place, but some owners may be taking advantage of those laws. There are also situations like the one where Triyar is having trouble collecting insurance money due to damage from Ike at Greenspoint and San Jacinto Malls. Those situations can really hinder a mall.
The McDonalds closed back in 2012Delete
The food court is probably Greenspoint Mall's strongest and most modern feature aside from the possible exception of the theater that I have not been to. Lunch time eaters from the area businesses are almost certainly the reason for that and Exxon employees made up a large part of those visitors. Exxon's relocation to the Spring area will hurt the mall for sure, but hopefully other strong employers will take their place.ReplyDelete
There's almost no chance of Copperfield getting a mall now. The area is still strong, but the growth is in other places now like the Grand Parkway area. I think Katy (or perhaps a place beyond Katy like Brookshire since developers would probably like a buffer zone away from Katy Mills) still has a shot at getting a traditional mall at some point. I'm guessing that chains like Dillard's and Macy's would be interested in opening stores on the far west side of town instead of risking losing customers to the outlet malls. Of course, there will need to be more than two anchors, but I think it may be feasible to get another couple of upscale stores. Mall developers like to have more affordable anchors to for diversity, but unfortunately JCPenney and Sears may be the only options in that regard and I don't think either are in a position to open stores right now.
A Katy area mall would have to go more upscale and try to get a Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus with the above anchors to compete against Katy Mills. The location of Katy Mills and the possibility of a traditional mall and more nearby outlet malls are not going to help matters if all is built as planned. Katy Mills is a huge mall and needs more than just outlet stores to fill spaces. Katy Mills has a bunch of regular inline stores such as Forever 21, Foot Locker, and such that help fill space that would otherwise not be taken by outlet stores. The junior anchors would continue to remain strong, but the inline stores will suffer with 3 new nearby developments.Delete
I don't think katy is viable enough to get neiman marcus or Nordstrom . Remember back in the late 90's they wanted to come to memorial city and they didn't go. The fact that Nordstrom hasn't open a location except for the woodlands shows , that they are happy with where there at. Maybe they can open another location but odds would be baybrook or somewhere southeast. For Neiman's, I don't think they would open in katy. they really haven't open a new store in 30 years and that store is gone. We will have to see . I don't really seeing a mall in katy in the next 10 years. there are really too many factors. If katy can get a neiman's , saks or Nordstrom then west oaks and probably memorial city will be affected. Memorial city is strong but I think the mall in Katy with those upscale stores would raw shoppers from Sugarland northwest Houston/ Copperfield and parts of west Houston just because people wouldn't have to go the galleria.Delete
that could be an issue with the younger age group since most teenagers want to shop at forever 21, footlocker and other general inlet store rather than department stores. I think development of a mall would be hard since again I don't think sears or jcp wants or has the assets to open a new store.Delete
Nordstrom is really picky with their locations, but I think Katy is an area they are considering. Willowbrook and Baybrook are both getting Nordstrom rack stores. The Town and Country area also has a Nordstrom rack, but it is about the same distance as the Woodlands is to Willowbrook. More retailers would need to come together to land a full Nordstrom store though so it may be a while before it would happen. The site of the planned Katy mall that has been stalled for years has a JCPenney already on site. If Dillard's, Macy's, and possibly Nordstrom would be interested in this site the mall would do well but it would need at least three anchors to get off of the ground at this point.Delete
If a mall was to placed there, it would be another town and country mall. People like to shop and save money that's why more outlet malls are coming but not that many malls are being builtDelete
I agree with you about the outlet malls, but the ones being built are not really saving people money. It is the perception that money is being saved that brings people to the outlet malls, most items are the same price at department stores and regular malls. Out of all of the areas in Houston I think the Katy site has the best chance of becoming a new mall/ lifestyle mall development. The upcoming Grand Parkway connection to the north of 290 will bring more traffic into the area and more development will inevitably follow.Delete
I agree the area around Katy is prime for a mall but I think it would be farther north along the Grand Parkway and closer to maybe clay road or FM 529.With that said I think it would take 15 - 20 years for that since that area is largely farm. Plus it brings up a major traffic problem if the mall came before feeders are built on the grand parkway since currently it only has exits .Delete
But I'm sure it might happened it will take a lot of studying with all the layoffs with the oil industries it may take even longer. Who knows, maybe katy area may not be desirable for growth if BP and some of the big companies on park 10 begin layoffs but if that happens it will definitely affect the whole Westside of Houston especially Memorial city , katy and westoaks . We saw this happen around sharpstown , Pasadena and around greenspoint with the 80's oil bust.
A Nordstrom store will fit right in at Memorial City Mall. The location surrounding the mall is so similar to The Woodlands Mall location. The Memorial City area is steadly building new businesses,median income level in the area and the mall is lot stronger now than it was 5-7 years ago. Only two things need to be done if a full fledge Nordstrom will look at memorial city mall direction.....get rid of Sears and second get rid of the Nordstrom rack across the street of the mall. Those are just two factors that would make MEM get a Nordstrom at the mall.Delete
Nordstrom waited too long and wound up getting shut out of getting a spot at Memorial City. The rack location is great for business, but they could do much better with a full sized store at the mall. I would not be surprised if the Sears location becomes a Nordstrom in the next 5 years or so if another mall in the Katy area does not happen.Delete
Sometimes there is an assumption that a retailer's more prestigious divisions are more profitable than more discount oriented divisions, but that's not always true in reality. I really don't know much about Nordstrom's financials specifically, but I found this article from last year showing a positive trend in same store sales at Nordstrom Rack locations. OTOH, same store sales at full-line stores were on a negative trend. Nordstrom seems to be investing a lot in e-tailing too while wanting to reduce spending per square foot at full-line stores (perhaps full-line stores won't look as fancy and will have lower service quality in the future). Perhaps Nordstrom isn't as optimistic about full-line stores as they are with Rack stores and e-tailing so perhaps that is why they are opening Rack stores even where full-line stores could potentially be successful.Delete
I think Memorial City mall would be able to get a Neiman Marcus before a Nordstrom. I don't think they would get rid of Sears since their isn't one in Katy but I could see Target getting kicked out since it has great visibility from I10. But at the same time I don't see any new anchors coming soon unless JCP leaves Houston or goes out of business, then yes, I think Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus would definitely take its place.Delete
Nordstrom has cut back on their full size store openings in favor of Rack locations in many areas. Willowbrook is the most recent example of a mall where they could have easily built a full store, but will open a Rack instead. I just think that the Katy/ Energy Corridor area would make sense for Nordstrom to open a full size store.Delete
Memorial City seems like a location that Sears will wind up sub-leasing or selling because of the cash they can get from that property.
I think Greenspoint Mall’s biggest problem right now is the perception about crime. Redeveloping the mall into an outlet mall or something like that won’t repair that issue. There’s still a lot of “desirable” shoppers who refuse to visit the area. The funny thing is that KPRC TV did a report about crime rates at Houston area malls recently and The Woodlands Mall was the mall with the most police calls by far, but Greenspoint Mall still continues to suffer from the perceptions even though The Woodlands Mall does not (granted, there are a lot more shoppers at The Woodlands Mall, but The Woodlands Mall still has more calls than other popular malls like The Galleria, Willowbrook Mall, Memorial City Mall, Baybrook Mall).ReplyDelete
The Grand Parkway between 290 and I-10 seems like an ideal location for a mall in some ways. The mall could feed off the important Cypress and Katy areas. I think Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and others would be interested in a mall in that area. There are some issues with that location though. Katy Mills and the Cypress outlets anchor the north and south ends of that stretch. That’s mighty strong competition (especially Katy Mills). Also, it may not be ideal to put a mall on a toll road. If I remember correctly, that stretch of the Grand Parkway is EZ Tag only since it does not even have toll booths (though I may be wrong about that or maybe there are plans to put that in). Also, Katy residents tend to hold negative opinions about the Katy area north of I-10. Rightly or wrongly, some people consider that area to be “ghetto.” Thus, maybe some I-10 south shoppers may avoid a mall if one is built there.
Building a mall further west on I-10 is another possible option. Building a mall in a place like Brookshire might be an option. I think development will continue that way, though there is always the risk that it does not. Plus, it’s far enough from Katy Mills that maybe it won’t bring the new mall down. The problem though is that it is also somewhat far from the Cypress area that I’m sure mall developers would like to attract.
Malls are a magnet for crimes especially auto thefts. Several people including myself have had a car broken into. Thefts from employees and people shoplifting are also prevalent since the quality of the products at the mall is usually much better than at Walmart and Target.Delete
The West side of town seems the most logical choice for a new mall or town center like in Pearland, but where? The placement of Katy Mills has hurt the chances of a traditional mall in the area. An upscale mall would probably work, but it would cannibalize Memorial City to an extent. I am sure people in the Katy and Cypress areas are tired of traffic and could support a new traditional mall.
To get a traditional mall , it is not going to be easy because the way Katy mills is built. It is fully enclosed unlike premier outlets. or tanger I believe not sure on the last . In the summer Houston is hot we all know but people prefer A/C facilities to shop. Looking at the ratings for Pearland town center the heat or rain is a constant complain among people on yelp. If a mall came where JC Penney's is , it would be hard to get inlet stores since they are all at Katy Mills. Plus I think shoppers would prefer the Rack or Last call over Full priced Dillard's or Macy's. I don't think that would be good business. Katy Mills is too big and successful , if a mall came near , I think Katy Mills would come out a winner. I think developers would have to study really well the area . Katy mills has AMC and by JC Penney there is Cinemark. So there is definitely a retail war between JCPenney development and katy mills. Nothing has been built around JCPenney's and I believe later this year it has been 10 years since it moved from West Oaks. While Katy mills has grown and added Katy's first Ross and other inlet stores.Delete
Katy Mills is very well known around Houston as the outlet mall of Houston for the longest time before the others came. So the shopping crowd is not just limited to only katy or west Houston shoppers.
I agree with you about the power of Katy Mills, but higher end retail is one of the most successful trends in new store development these days. Both of the new malls built in 2014 in the US were geared towards high end shoppers. The Katy area does not have enough large retail such as Macy's, Dillard's, or Nordstrom that shoppers with money prefer. Look at the Woodlands Mall and the Outdoor lifestyle center just next door. Both are doing really well and have a mix of high-end and medium priced retail stores.Delete
I think Woodlands got Nordstrom due to Exxon moving there main headquarters near the mall. Why did it happen now and not before that announcement they were relocating. The woodland has been successful since day 1 and i would think if they were coming to the woodland, they would have taken the old Mervyns spot before forever 21 came into that spot. I always found it odd that it ended up in the woodlands and not baybrook but maybe Nordstrom wanted to stay far away from the galleria.Delete
I think to have a new mall successful or even existing malls to be successful , is to look at retail at a different standpoint. In otherwords, What does this mall have that malls don't have? Sure a new mall can opened with the classic four anchors, but is it different compaired to memorial city ,baybrook , willowbrook ?That thinking is what has kept the galleria strong for years and years to come. A good example is look at galleria Dallas, that mall is not as successful as the Houston galleria mainly because a lot of store at the Dallas galleria is the same as North park. So the key is to get stores or retail options that are not seen or they don't have at other major malls to stay successful in the future.
Nordstrom has a prime location at the Woodlands Mall so it was good that they waited. The median income level in the Woodlands is favorable for high-end retailers. The Woodlands has so many options for entertainment and shopping that it is now one of the most ideal locations to live in our area. I agree with you that the Galleria in Dallas is not as good as the one in Houston. Valley View actually hurt the Galleria when the AMC moved in there. Even though Valley View has been hurting for years the AMC could have made a huge difference for the Galleria.Delete
It is interesting to figure why stores open in one mall and not in others. Sometimes there are obvious reasons, but some of the factors are not obvious. As for Nordstrom, they are opening a Nordstrom Rack store in the shopping center across Bay Area Blvd. from Baybrook Mall. I assume Nordstrom could have gotten into the new outdoor lifestyle center expansion to Baybrook Mall if they wanted to, but obviously they are going with the Nordstrom Rack option. Perhaps they feel that the Baybrook area can’t support a regular Nordstrom (it probably can, but Nordstrom may not want to deal with probables) or maybe they want to keep a couple strong locations instead of several watered down locations. Having a limited number of locations probably helps reinforce the “exclusive” aura of Nordstrom too.Delete
I came across an interesting article today about Willowbrook Mall that led me to find some more information about unbuilt Homart/Sears Houston malls. I came across an article about the experiences a Homart leasing agent was having trying to pitch the right leases for stores at Willowbrook Mall before it opening in the April 1981 issue of Texas Monthly. It's an interesting article by itself and it has some early sketch drawings of Willowbrook Mall. The sketch of the Foley's anchor looks pretty accurate and the sketch of the Sears anchor looks close to being accurate, the other anchor drawings are way off. Of course, the original Macy's and JCPenney anchors came later on so Homart surely had no idea what those stores were going to look like (or if they were even going to move in) so they have an excuse for that. It would have been neat if the Joske's was built the way it was sketched, but oh well.ReplyDelete
Anyway, the article mentioned that the leasing agent was also working on leasing Deerbrook and Pinebrook Malls in the Houston area. Of course, Deerbrook was built, but I wasn't familiar with what Pinebrook Mall was supposed to be. I did some more searching and found this 1979 article in the Galveston Daily News. According to that, Pinebrook Mall was planned on being a mall in Conroe that Homart was supposed to open in 1982. Obviously that did not happen. Perhaps Homart had trouble leasing it and maybe they backed out. Perhaps they realized that a location in The Woodlands was better. Anyway, I guess DeBartolo wasn't the only developer who considered the Conroe area. I'm sure Homart/Sears was glad that they passed on Pinebrook Mall and went with The Woodlands Mall location instead.
The Galveston Daily News also mentions a Homart planned mall on I-10 and Mason that was supposed to open in 1983 named Meadowbrook Mall. I'm guessing this is the same Homart proposal as the Williamsburg Mall, but maybe Homart changed the name of the project at some point. That's not unheard of, the Greenspoint Mall project changed names between the planning stages and the time the mall was built.
I thought the articles I came across were interesting and shed more light on planned Houston area malls. Another interesting note is that the Galveston Daily News article mentions that Deerbrook was going to be a one-story mall. I guess Homart changed their minds at some point.
Thanks for the interesting mall proposals, I will have to add them on as soon as I get caught up. I would not be surprised if the never built mall proposals from the early 1980's are on the same sites as the malls I found from 1985 and through the 1990's. Thanks for sending over those vintage article links as well.Delete
I guess the success of Willowbrook and Baybrook caused Homart to build Deerbrook and The Woodlands Mall with two stories.
big blow to memorial city mall H&M has chosen to open at city center. Remember that was Memorial city's biggest rival in the late 80 and 90's and it looks like the cycle continues where back then it was Town and country mall and now it is City Centre.ReplyDelete
It is a blow to Memorial City, but there are so many other stores there that it will not hurt the mall. Memorial City has so many things that bring people to the mall for entertainment, health care, dining, and shopping.Delete
Macy's West Oaks is remodeling upstairs. They moved the kitchen items to the front by the escalators and put the dishes and crystals to the back and there is a section that is blocked off while they are working back there. I guess Macy's see Westoaks viable again. Also I was able to get a few pictures of the closed section of upstairs. I would like to send to share.
email@example.com is my email address for submissions. Let me know in the email if you would like me to publish your name for photo credit. I can add it to a misc post I was planning for West Oaks.Delete
Thanks for the update.
Is Arby's leaving Houston both locations on Westhiemer closed suddenly . those were new locations to point out.ReplyDelete
Not that I know of, the Northside locations are still open. It might be an issue with the franchisee of those stores. Hopefully, they will reopen soon.Delete