Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Almeda and Northwest, the Houston twin malls photographed from 2013-2016

Almeda and Northwest Malls are nearly identical and both opened in 1968. Foley's built and opened anchors at each mall roughly two years before the malls opened. Both malls also opened with JCPenney as a main anchor and Palais Royal as a junior anchor. At the time both malls were in the outer development areas of the city. Both of the malls continue to share many similarities despite renovations at different times. Almeda looked older until the 2014 renovation and still had a 1980's look, while Northwest was last renovated in the late 90's. The food courts at both malls were identical until the recent Almeda renovation. While both malls are currently still operating, the futures of these properties are very different. This article will continue to be updated more news about either mall develops. Here is an article that has more on the history of these twin malls. 

Almeda Mall is doing very well. The mall began a major renovation at the end of 2014 and has new floors, paint, and a modern look. The mall lost JCPenney in 2006, but Burlington opened in 2008 to fill most of the vacant first floor space. Macy's closed after being heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike, and reopened about a year later in a renovated one story store. Most of the store spaces are full and Almeda continues to do well despite many abandoned nearby big box stores.  

The photos were taken on a series of trips between 2013-2016. Some photos may be repetitive.
Mid 2013 images from the old dying camera.
Now for some interior views. We start with the former JCPenney now Burlington Coat Factory.
Some views of the sides of the former JCPenney that Burlington did not renovate.
The front of the former JCPenney that Burlington renovated.
Ross closed, but DD's fashions is moving in.
Macy's looks much brighter on the outside since the renovation. Macy's was closed for about a year after Hurricane Ike damaged the building. During the renovation the store was gutted, roof replaced, and the first level reopened. The first level was completely remodeled with the latest Macy's design with new floors, paint, and signage. 
The new road sign for the mall off of I-45.
Late 2013 images.
The Toyz store was a former Steve and Barry's, as of 2016 the space is now a large clothing store.
This circle of lights and similar lighting was removed in the 2014 renovation.
The lighting fixtures like the circle in this picture were removed during the 2014 renovation.
The photos were taken near closing time which explains the emptiness.
Looking at the Macy's entrance, you can see how Northwest looked before the Macy's closed.
The DD's after opening.
Picadilly left in 2014. This was the final Houston location, several Picadilly Cafeterias were in Houston area malls at one time. The vintage signs have been pulled down and the mall entrance walled off.

The following images were taken in early 2014.

On this visit the cafeteria had closed early. The cafeteria kept different hours than the mall for some reason.
The food court, notice the similarities with the Northwest food court below. All of the decorative lighting around the skylights and ceilings was removed during the 2014 renovation.
The center court looking into Palais Royal. The trees in the center court make it difficult to photograph the entrance to this store.
The entire central court was cleared out during the renovation.
This restaurant was formerly a Taco Bell/KFC. As you can see the signage was slightly modified.
Another close-up shot of Picadilly.
The entrances were remodeled in 2012, and they are being remodeled again in 2016.
March 2016 after the remodel, as you can see the mall looks completely different. New floors, LED lighting, and brighter colors with new couches to relax on. The outside entrances are also being remodeled, but they were not yet complete on my visit.

Now we move onto Northwest Mall. Northwest has continued to operate despite losing both traditional anchors. An antique store, medical school, and Palais Royal are the largest businesses currently operating here. The property was recently sold as a redevelopment opportunity. The occupancy at Northwest is much lower at an estimated 50%. Northwest will probably become another office/town home development in the near future. Northwest is stuck between declining areas of Houston and areas beginning to see new activity. Northwest also received a renovation in the late 1990's which upgraded the floors and look of the mall. The I-610 Southbound exit to the mall is now closed off so the mall is more difficult to get to.

Photos from mid 2013 with the old terrible camera.
The entrances to Palais Royal are different at both malls despite being in the same location at each mall.
The Macy's sign was taken down shortly after these images were taken.
Was this a cafeteria next to the Tilt?
Many of the businesses at Northwest keep odd hours. Some close very early and others keep the same hours as the mall. 
Footaction is in the same space in Northwest as they are in Almeda Mall.
The former JCPenney now operating as an Antique Mall.
Taken shortly before the Macy's signage was removed. Macy's did not reopen after this store was damaged from Hurricane Ike. Almeda and Deerbrook were damaged as well, but reopened after extensive renovations.
The college still currently operating at the mall.
Photos taken in early 2015.
The Antique Mall closes much earlier than the mall.
Notice the similarities of the Macy's side at Almeda to Northwest.
As you can see the food court is nearly identical to the Almeda food court.
A cool retro sign.
More photos from early 2015.
A better image of the Tilt.
Shots from the former Macy's section of the mall. 
As you can see the Macy's signs have been removed from the mall entrance.
This was a short-lived Chik-Fil-A. After this store closed a weekday lunch limited menu Chik-Fil-A opened across the food court, but did not last long.
For some reason this hallway did not get the new flooring that the rest of the mall received in the last renovation.
If you look past the empty kiosks you will see working payphones, so you know where to go if you get paged. Our children will never know the struggle.
As of early 2016 Northwest is still operating and recently lost the GNC store. A few small businesses have opened to replace recently lost chain stores. The food court still has several options and chains like Foot Locker, Champs, Footaction, Image, L'Patricia, and Palais Royal are still here.