Thursday, May 21, 2020

Amigoland Mall Brownsville Texas March 2020

Amigoland Mall opened in 1974 right down the street from the Mexico border crossing. The area around the mall initially was booming with several big box stores built next to and across the street from the mall. Amigoland had Montgomery Ward, Dillard's, and JCPenney as anchors. In the late 1990's Dillard's and JCPenney left the mall for the other Brownsville mall Sunrise. Montgomery Ward stayed until it went out of business in 2001, the interior mall closed shortly therafter. The mall was purchased by Texas Southmost College and redevelopment began in 2002. The property is now know as the International Technology, Education, and Commerce Center.

For more information about the history of the mall property click here. These were the first trips we took to the mall nearly 20 years after the last anchor closed.

On our first visit in January 2020, the mall was locked up. Here are the shots from that trip. On the second trip a couple months later in March, the interior was open. Here are the photos from both visits.

January 2020

Here is a wide view of nearly the entire mall complex.

Views of the former Montgomery Ward.

I am pretty sure that a garden center was the area on the left side of the store.

The back of the Montgomery Ward auto center.

Now this is a huge find in 2020. The updated Montgomery Ward logo before they closed in 2001. The sign had been painted over, but this side had almost completely faded away revealing this awesome logo.

From this side, the paint has not faded off as much.

A photo of the interior of the former Montgomery Ward department store. It looks unrecognizable.

The back of the former Montgomery Ward.

The back of JCPenney where the Supermarket was located.

JCPenney and the mall entrance to JCPenney.

The entrance to the former JCPenney Supermarket. 

The mall entrance to the former JCPenney. The entrance to the main store is inside of this corridor.

When I went to look into the mall to take this photo, I noticed a security guard walking towards my door. I did not stick around to get potentially chewed out by Blart.

The former JCPenney auto center.

Another view of the entrance to the JCPenney Supermarket.

You will not see a former Dillard's store in 2020 that looks quite like this one does.

Slightly different angle of the former Dillard's.

This part of the mall originally was the McCrory's, later Bealls.

The former Montgomery Ward.

Former Montgomery Ward auto center, now being used by the college for OTJ training.

One last view of the main entrance.

Some of the nearby big box retailers next to and across the street from the mall. 

Former Walmart 

Former Toys R Us 

So after this visit, I did more research on the property and found out that it is only open to the public on weekdays. Another opportunity to visit the mall came through just 2 months later as part of my last trip to the final Kmart in Texas.

Here are the photos from the 2nd visit in March 2020. Much more to see this time around.

View of where we parked, the wind turbine next to the former Montgomery Ward auto center is in the distance.

Here is some information about the college that owns the property and has many traditional classes and on-the-job training located throughout the mall.

Yes! The doors were open this time, success. 

As of March 2020 the mall features the following tenants.
 I did not get a complete list, there are a few businesses without signs that may or may not be part of the college.

Brownsville Economic Development Council
Central Medical Equipment & Supplies
Consulate General of Mexico
CPI Consultingpoint Inc.
Delicious Desserts & Deli
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
International Technology, Education, and Commerce Center of TSC. (This is the official name of the property now).
Metro Properties Inc. 
Medical Laboratory Technology TSC. (Another OTJ program that the college offers here).
Nursing and Allied Health Labs
Solo Wages Tax Service

Walking towards the center court of the mall with the former Dillard's entrance to the far left.
The Montgomery Ward wing view from the center court.

A wide view of the center court. The JCPenney corridor is to the left of this image.

Now for the Montgomery Wards wing.

These ceilings are something else.

Imaging how this corridor looked in 1990! Sadly most of the vacant storefronts have been covered up in this wing of the mall.

More businesses on the way!

This is the entrance to the former Montgomery Ward. This is the one area of this corridor where the storefronts are still intact. 

Too bad the old directory had been pulled out. The old McCrory's/Bealls entrance was just past the sign.

Inside of the former Montgomery Ward. Manufacturing and college studies are happening in this former department store. I did not see any way up to the second floor, it may be completely closed off.

It is hard to look at the inside of this building and see the department store elements. 

I really like how the main entrance is setup once you walk in from the outside.

Back to the mall, here are a couple of storefronts still showing next to the entrance to the Montgomery Ward.

Looking towards the center court. The McCrory's/Bealls entrance was to the left of this image.

Now back to the best side of the mall.

These skylights are pretty awesome. 

The former Dillard's entrance is right in the middle of this image.

Here is the inside of the former Dillard's department store. Looks like an old kiosk right in the middle.

Here is a video taken by William Flores of the second floor of this former Dillard's location. The second floor is in better shape than the first floor as you can see in the link here.

If the first floor looks this bad, I can only image the second. This is the only sizable part of the old mal that is not being used or remodeled. 

Looking towards the center court from the former Dillard's entrance.

The Dillard's stickers are still on the glass doors. 

On the left and the right side of this photo, you can see the old stickers better.

The center court looking to where we entered. JCPenney to the left, Montgomery Ward to the right.

Now we go down the best hallway of the mall towards the former JCPenney, many old school storefronts still remain.

When I looked over at this spot, it looked familiar. Then it hit me, this was an old Chik-Fil-A. 

The space was most recently a restaurant called Kactus Café. Per an online search, this restaurant is permanently closed.

This was an original entrance to the mall. We will go down this hallway a little bit later.

The JCPenney corridor had a lot of character.

This seating area has to be original.

This is one of the strangest JCPenney mall entrances I have seen. You had to enter the mall and then go through another entrance to get into JCPenney. The Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles has a JCPenney entrance similar to this one. This mall entrance was much more appealing though, lots of sunlight.

Kind of difficult to see, but the JCPenney logo is still partially visible.

A look into the former JCPenney. Parts of the former store are being renovated, but this area still remains. The Supermarket section was to the right once you entered the store.

There are many more photos of the interior of JCPenney on this Facebook page. From the photos, it looks like the Supermarket section of the store had been opened up and turned into the catalog and merchandise pickup. Some areas of the floor in that part of the store appear to have tile imprints. It is difficult to judge from the angle of the photos, but there are a lot of photos to look through in the albums below.

I did my best to photograph the reflection of the letters.

A look down the corridor leading to the center court.
Another look into the former JCPenney, as you can see there is a new wall to the left of this image. The other side of the store is being renovated.

A closeup of the old school mall trash can. 

Now for more of the JCPenney corridor and nearby mall entrance.
Here is the mall entrance, it looks fairly plain until we get to the end.
Really cool wood designs, the mall restrooms are down the hallway to the left. (Restrooms not pictured).

Former random storefront near that mall entrance. You can faintly make out the labelscar, but I could not figure it out.

Back into the main mall, we have several old storefronts in a row.

Tables and chairs setup for the Deli. 

I could not tell what this storefront was, but it is definitely 1980's.

Here is the deli, we made sure to stock up on some baked goods and drinks here. They had lunch plates, ice cream, desserts, and what we tried out was awesome. This is a must stop, if you go here.

A look at the security office and more businesses. 

The center court with the Montgomery Ward entrance to the right and center mall entrance to the left.

Montgomery Ward corridor.

The walls near the center mall entrance. Not sure if the walls were originally this way, but they are a nice touch.

One last look at the center of the mall before we go. The Mexican Consulate office is where that Mexican Flag is located. The bench setups throughout the mall 

JCPenney with the Supermarket entrance partially hidden by short palm trees.

View of the mall and the JCPenney entrance.

This time, we drove up to see this entrance up close.

Now a peak through the dusty windows. Judging by the looks of these doors, this was at one time a Supermarket. 

The back side of the former JCPenney with former Dillard's in the distance.

Former JCPenney Supermarket side and main store entrance.

More shots of the former Montgomery Ward and mall lot.

One more photo of this awesome sign. I hope it stays this way.

The wind turbine towers over the former mall. This area of Texas has a ton of wind turbines.

Back of the former Montgomery Wards.

Former Dillard's.

Here is the former Kmart across the street from the mall.

To end the article, a shot of the former Walmart.

More posts on the way, stay tuned!