Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Final days of Northwest Mall Houston Texas

Northwest Mall 1968-March 31, 2017. Much has already been said about Northwest Mall, the nearly 800,000 square foot twin mall of Almeda Mall. The mall interior closed on March 31, 2017. Here you will see 3 sets of photos from the final days of the mall. The site continues to operate with 4 businesses including the Palais Royal and Antique Center stores. 

So why did Northwest Mall close? Ownership sold the property and the site will eventually be redeveloped. Several ideas for the site including the new high speed rail station have been discussed for the site. I guess the new ownership did not want to bother with the 30 or so tenants left inside of the mall, but for now the site sits mostly abandoned. Northwest had been operating as a community mall for several years and still had a decent amount of traffic on weekdays.

First set of photos from March 11, 2017, a Saturday night.

Former Macy's mall entrance.

The directory had not been updated in quite some time.

Somehow this little business Christalina's Boutique at the very end of the closed off Macy's corridor stayed open until the end.

Macy's mall entrance.

The view from the Macy's mall entrance made this archway look awesome.

Former Payless.
NWX Railroad Club was located in the former Dollar Tree on the right.

Deportes Rodriguez, this store had a cool variety of sports items. Not sure if it moved elsewhere.

A former Tilt location, I can almost see the neon sign in my memory.

Not sure what this was originally. At entrance B

Working payphones, four locations within the mall still had payphones.

L.Patricia a chain store of Women's clothing.

Soul 21 sold local music and clothing.

 I want this sign if they ever auction off the contents inside of the mall. Both the restrooms and the phones were still in service up until the final day of the mall.

Footaction was literally here today and gone tomorrow. 

This job board had been empty for a long time.

2nd payphone location right outside of the food court. 

Mall entrance A at the food court.

The food court was situated in the center of the mall. The center court had events from time to time, but had not been used much in the final years of the mall. 

Third location of payphones at entrance C.

This was most recently used as a barbershop with $5 haircuts.

Not sure what this used to be.

The hallway at entrance C.

Looking towards the former JCPenney/ current Antique anchor.

Former Underground Station was being used as a children's pay to play business.

Image a chain Women's clothing store.

GNC had left this mall a few years before closing. Pictured here on the right.

The remains of the former Woolworth.

Entrance D corridor.

The wall of JCPenney. This is the one section of the mall that did not get updated in the late 1990's remodel.

The fourth location of payphones in the mall.

The food court at the mall was still decent in the final month of business. Several restaurants and dessert places were still operating to decent crowds on weekdays. The sign above the mall corridor matched the numerous signs inside of the Antique Center luring customers into the mall.

A dance studio that was a former Kay Bee Toys.

Former Visible Changes location with the vintage neon.

Community Room was probably not used very often, but they had some small event going on during my visit.

Thompson's Antique Center still operates with the mall entrance sealed off. More on this anchor later on.

The mostly empty corridor leading back towards center court from the Antique Center. Former Old Navy/Melrose on the right.

Yet another vacant storefront that was empty for years.

The center of the mall had the most stores up until the end of 2016. 

Bath and Body Works closed several years prior to the closing of the mall. Very surprising, they are usually there until the very end.

Another vacant storefront that I cannot recall.

Image Shots, I have seen a few of these around Houston area malls.

School Bus uniforms.

Hot Trends and Makeup and More.

Factory Shoe Warehouse, these places are the Texas version of GNC and Bath and Body Works. They were in the now closed corridor in San Jacinto Mall until January 2019 and they are the very last retailer at Sunrise Mall in Corpus Christi as of January 2019.

Not a very promising lineup of stores, but at least they kept up with the signage.

The spotlights gave this area a neat look in the night. As you can see, a lot of bulbs were no longer working.

Former Foot Locker that had recently closed.

Palais Royal, the last true junior anchor at the mall. This store has been here since the mall opened and continues to operate as of early 2019. 

Back to the center court.

It is so strange how this eatery closed up and stayed like this for at least 2 years. All of the machines and signage are intact.

The center court skylight.

A spooky advertisement for the boutique at the end of the former Macy's corridor.

The corridor leading to the former Macy's still had several shops up until the end.

Former Journey's, Jewelry Master, and NW Dollar + store.

On the right; All Shoes $9.99, this was a former Waldenbooks location. Some of the old fixtures and signage was still in the store. On the left; M and D Fashions which moved to West Oaks Mall and Hearts Diamonds jewelry store.

VIP Jewelry, Southern Apache Museum, and Deportes Rodriguez.

Facing the center court; Hearts Diamonds on the left and All Shoes $9.99 on the right.

Champs closed in early 2017 just after Christmas. This was one of the few remaining stores with the retro neon sign.

Thirsty's with the 90's signage. This was the last time I bought a smoothie here. It was gone on my next visit.

This space had been used as an example of leasing options for several years. The mall management did a good job of keeping the mall going despite the lack of major anchors for nearly 10 years. 

Now for the food court. Gotta love the excessive lighting in this part of the mall. Very 1980's/1990's. Bundt Cake-A-Holic on the right moved to a new location and makes very good cakes.

Flame and Sizzle Grill.

Graziana's Pizza. This place had a pretty good slice.

Former Chik Fil A, turned into extra food court seating.
Cocina Jarritos and Manchu Wok.

2nd to last day of operation March 30, 2017. 
Videos from this trip can be found 

Starting at entrance D next to the Antique Center.

Visible Changes sign and inventory removed.

Fountain still operating.

Community Room emptied out.

A very large and soon to be abandoned space.

Not much going on down here towards the Macy's corridor. Most stores were gone or packing up to leave.

An extremely faded advertisement sign for the mall inside of the former Payless.

A Valentine's Day advertisement for Macy's. Strangely the store closed in September 2008 after Hurricane Ike damaged the building. Northwest Mall signage was inside of these holders after Macy's closed.

Even in the final days, the Macy's corridor really stood out. The mall map directory in this photo was gone the next day.

Entrance B.

Nothing left here but some mannequins.

Hearts Diamonds still open.

Inside of the former Champs.

Former Vitamin World.

Extra mall food court seating in front of Palais Royal.

Funny how this space was still nice and brightly lit up with less than 2 days left.

Palais Royal Mall entrance.

Sesame Hut had already closed, but 3 eateries were still operating on this day.

Sesame Hut had a good run at the mall and have reopened at a new location.

Inside of the former Footaction.

More views of entrance A. Piccadilly Cafeteria was to the right.

The Thirsty's with the neon signage removed.

The Food court skylight looks awesome.

Entrance A corridor.

Former Sam Goody.

Interior of the former Sam Goody. Most recently this was the Utopia 4U Women's clothing store.

Footaction was cleared out leaving almost no evidence of what was there two weeks before.

How much for a day and a half?

Boxes and emptiness as the mall is clearing out stores one by one.

From this view, the mall looks like it is operating normally.

Former Image.

Entrance C. corridor

Now for some exterior shots of Macy's.

Macy's with the College of Healthcare Professionals.

College of Healthcare Professionals.

Former JCPenney, Thompson's Antique Center.

Last day of operations. Friday March 31, 2017. Once again we start at entrance D.

Surprisingly the lights are still on just like normal. Antique store corridor.

Inside of the former Melrose/Old Navy.

Rows of vacant stores.

The last pieces of the store were being hauled off.

The Watch Gallery kiosk was the only business not packing up yet. Every other business had most items in boxes or on small displays ready to pull out of the mall.

Very little activity left in this part of the mall. Hearts Diamonds was closed off. 

Some random items out for sale on tables at the last 2 remaining stores down here.

Inside of the former Apache Museum, this was a 5,7,9 store. Gotta love the neon arches.

I had never noticed the sign on the left before.

The inside of the Court and personal DNA testing place was a mess.

Vacant stores near the former Macy's.

Former Payless.

Former Dollar Tree.

Here is the exterior of the above store. Has to be some kind of jewelry store or office.

Notice that the mall map directory had been pulled out from the day before.

The clock was also off by a couple of hours. This photo was taken close to 4:30pm.

More vacant storefronts.

Tilt and a couple of others.

Looks like a former vision pace, but Lens Crafters was across the hall.

The exterior of the above store.

Sadly this sign was all that was left of the Nail Club.

The inside of Soul 21 being cleared out.

Both of the above businesses together.

A few minutes after I snapped the photo of the inside of the DNA business, someone came in and turned the lights on. Maybe it was cleaned out.
Jewelry Master and NW Dollar +. The dollar store still had a huge amount of inventory left, a lot of their items had been sitting on the shelves for many years. 

The inside of the former Journey's.

More store interiors. This one was a Claire's.

The $9.99 shoe store signs had been pulled down.

The inside of the former $9.99 shoes store. The Waldenbooks fixtures were still intact and you could not even tell that this was a shoe store for several years.

Food court. Sadly no eateries were serving food anymore.

Flame and Sizzle Grill sign removed and closed.

Yesterday the food court still had some options, today there were none. I sat here for a few minutes and watched people come in and out of the mall with surprised looks on their faces. A few people were also taking photos like I was, but there was not much going on except for the few remaining businesses packing up.

Here is the inside of the Dreyer's. It looks like they closed for the day and never came back, very creepy. The eatery had been like this for at least 2 years.

Center court.

Inside of the Factory Shoe Warehouse.

Former Foot Locker and kiosk being packed up.

Inside of the former Bath and Body Works.

Bath and Body Works.

Inside of the former Image.
The fountain with the Antique Center on the left.

Former Kay Bee Toys and the inside of the store. The checkout counter was still intact.

Former Visible Changes, 1980's to the fullest.

The interior of Visible Changes.

A mall map still intact at entrance C.

Fountain still going even as the last minutes of the mall were upon us. 

Entrance C. This hallway had several video games up until the end of 2016.

The former Foley's/Macy's entrance with the F handles.

This college is still open and fills this portion of the parking lot during the day.

A perfect picture to end the last day at the mall.

A few days after the mall closed. The entrances at A and C were boarded up.

The Watch Gallery kiosk that was in the mall was emptied out and for sale at the former mall entrance inside of the Thompsons Antique Center.

Another former mall kiosk.

A peek inside of the mall from the window of Palais Royal.

April 2018 photos. We start inside of the former JCPenney/Thompsons Antique Center. The walls and ceilings have not been modified much since the JCPenney days. This anchor was vacant for several years before the Antique Center took it over. The second floor is closed to the public and the escalators are completely walled off.

Former JCP salon.

Carpeted doors, very old school.

Vintage JCPenney look.

Fitting to find these guys in a former JCPenney in a dead mall.

The Men's room has not been changed much from the Penney's days, but it was surprisingly very clean.

Old Foley's plate.

Astrodome chairs.

Even though Sears was never at the mall, this was an interesting find.

The mall entrance has an additional wall blocking the view of the inside of the mall from here. If you want to see the inside of the mall, Palais Royal may still have their windows uncovered to look inside.

The detail in this corner is vintage 1980's JCPenney.

The view of the store facing the former mall entrance. The escalators were to the right of where I am standing.

The escalators are behind this yellow wall. The checkouts for the Center are on the other side facing the old mall entrance.

Entrance A (food court) boarded up.

The Chapa nightclub at the left of this photo closed in July 2018. This was entrance D.