Friday, July 24, 2020

Valley View Center mall May 2019 update

Here we are at one of the most unusual redevelopment mall projects. The Valley View Center Mall was in the process of demolition while one holdout was keeping a portion of the mall open for business. The AMC was still operating on the third level of the mall while the entire remainder of the mall was abandoned or in the process of demolition. AMC was added in 2004 to boost mall traffic, but was unable to reach an agreement to relocate the theater for the mall redevelopment. AMC still has a lease until 2021 at the mall. The location of the theater requires the center of the mall along with 3 corridors to remain in place until the theater vacates the property. Even though the AMC is temporarily closed, it may possibly reopen in the near future. 

Sears was in the early stages of demolition. The store closed in July 2017.

Dillard's was in the beginning of the demolition process as well.

JCPenney was mostly down to the metal skeleton.

The closed off entrance near the former Macy's.

You can see the wall separating the mall from the now demolished Macy's. The store that was demolished had some awesome murals that could not be saved.

Now the Macy's is just a slab.

This road sign was still intact.

There were a lot of cars in the lot, but where were the people?

So this entrance was locked, here is what the inside looked like.

This entrance was reopened just a few weeks after our visit. The entrance and corridor by Sears was closed off when this entrance was reopened.

The entrance to the right next to the former Sears pictured here was open.

Here is how the mall looked as we walked inside.

All of the businesses except AMC were evicted in February just before our May visit.

I have to wonder how the sign was broken up like this.

The ceiling had multiple leaks, you can see the various efforts to paint spots.

The directory was very outdated. Only the AMC was still in business at this point.

The Sears mall entrance.

No A/C, barely any lights, and no stores to speak of. This is the most uninviting place to go to the movies.

The first puff of cool air from the AMC above.

As we arrive to the center court, we start to see the boards and sheetrock blocking off access to the majority of the mall. I was able to take photos either above or around the blockades. Climbing on old trash cans to get photos like this one was worth the effort.

Looking back at the corridor we walked through.

The construction bags were also blocking access and dust. The mall was still pretty dusty.

A different view from around the wall.

The escalators were on, so let's take the ride.

We can see more of the closed off sections of the mall up above.

That trash can on the left was sturdy 😉.

Hard to believe this area is in the same mall. The air conditioning, smell of popcorn, and people moving around is completely different than the rest of the property. 

Now we head back down the other set of escalators for more views over the barricades.

The food court is mostly hidden since the barricades are blocking the views.

There was enough room around the barricade to put my hand around to get this photo.

Here is the other exit that was still open to the public.

An old leasing sign still in place.

I took this walk and focused on the vacant stores. The lighting in this part of the mall was much better here. I am glad that I did this because a month later the stores were covered up with sheetrock. Yes for some odd reason the open corridors of the mall are now just walls of sheetrock leading to the AMC. Check out this video from Dead Malls with Jeff and Company showing the change just a month after our visit.

There was still a person cleaning up the mall, security was also driving around outside.

Yeah this sign did not age well.

Not many mall exits tell you what exit you are at, but this mall had specific road locations at the exits.

More store fronts.

I was pretty hungry after looking at this menu.

Some random items inside of this former store. Remember when fidget spinners were the hot toy? Someone made millions off of this toy idea.

In the Houston area tornado shelter signs are non-existent, even though our area gets tornados as well. It is good to see these up even as the mall was nearly empty at this point. 

This part of the mall appeared to still be active when the tenants were evicted. I remember this corridor was nearly full when I last visited this mall.

Back to the Sears corridor.

El Mercado was never as successful here as I have seen at other malls. 

Waldenbooks Bookstore, the flash really reflected on this photo.

I found a hole in the wall to put my phone inside to see how the inside of Sears looked. Looks like something out of a nightmare. 

This side of the Sears mall entrance was not open.

I was able to get this photo of the Sears entrance that had been busted through at that mall entrance.

The red tiles surrounding the mall entrance of Sears. That area towards the left side of the store looks like it had been accidentally broken through and covered up. 

The Sears court.

More of the red brick.

More of the Sears court.

Water damage was all over the place if you looked up in the mall.

The other side of the Sears entrance with the red tile.

More outside views, Sears pictured here.

Sears again.

The other road sign had been covered up by this advertisement for the new development at the mall. Sadly as of July 2020, the mall redevelopment is stalled yet again. The anchors except for AMC have been demolished, but nothing new has been built yet.

Dillard's is open!
More stuff coming soon!


  1. I remember that I was at what I think was the Copperfield Bed Bath & Beyond a few years back and as I was entering the store, on the left, I saw a tornado shelter sign near the bathrooms. At the time, I thought it was weird because a tornado in Houston was and still is rare.

    1. That is interesting, I have never seen one before in the Houston area. We get a handful of tornadoes here each year, but they are mostly short lived.

  2. I wonder how the former Sears at Valley View Mall became so destroyed on the inside?

    1. The building was being demolished at the time of my visit.

    2. Since that former Sears is being demolished, I wonder if any construction workers had to go inside the actual building and if so, I wonder if they have found anything that accidentally wasn’t sold during the closing sale. There was a similar story in a Toys R Us either after it closed or while it was closing and someone found a dusty Mario Kart 64, sealed complete with box and game behind a shelf. I also wonder why the Sears at Valley View Mall had a circular structure connected to the building.

    3. They had to do asbestos abatement on the building before the actual demolition started. I am sure they found a lot of cool stuff inside, but that Toys R Us find is one of a kind. I have found some retail treasures (for retail nerds like me) at the closing sales that are now part of my collection, but nothing too valuable.

      Sears was on the property and opened up several years before the mall was built. It was the only store at the mall to not have a second floor mall entrance. The second floor of the mall lines up to the first floor mall entrance. I guess the terrain at the mall is the reason why Sears was connected like it was. I am not sure what the circular structure was at that store.

  3. This is an interesting look at what was one of the more famous malls in Texas. I never did visit this mall, but I have heard a lot about it over the years. The Dallas area has had some interesting dead/dying mall tales. Thanks for the photos, I'm glad for your sake that the trash can you were standing on was sturdy, lol.

    The walk through the dead mall to get to the movie theater here is certainly a bigger deal than it is at, say, the Mall of the Mainland or North Oaks Mall. It'll be interesting to see what happens with the Dallas Midtown redevelopment plan. This is not a great time to be pushing a redevelopment, but we'll see what happens.

    We have tornado shelter signs at work and they're actually fancier than what the mall was using here. Tornadoes are less common here than they are in Dallas, but they aren't unheard of either. I can think of a few tornadoes here in Houston which have caused problems for retailers. The Mall of the Mainland was hit by a tornado in the late 2000s and I think je has some photos from when the repairs were taking place. A tornado hit the Bear Creek area many years ago, I would say in the very late 1980s or early 1990s, and damaged the roof of the McDonald's there near where the former Kmart was. The McDonald's is still there in the same spot. In 1992, the Jones Rd. and West Rd. Randall's, which is now a HEB, was hit by a tornado and the roof was severely damaged. I remember that storm quite well. The Houston Garden Center near the Jones & FM 1960 ex-Kmart was hit with microburst winds some years ago and I believe it knocked down the tent-like structure that Houston Garden Center uses.

    That fidget spinner sign is a nice blast from the not-so-distant past. I remember when pogs were the fad and the Crafts, Etc. store across from the Jones & 1960 Kmart became obsessed with pogs. Although Crafts, Etc. was a legit crafts store pre-pogs, it seems like they weren't able to recover, at least at that location, once pogmania quickly faded away. I'm sure someone out there has an interesting collection of retail pogs, lol.

    1. I got here just in time too. Most of the old storefronts were covered up less than a month later.

      The area I live in has been hit by tornadoes as well. Humble and Crosby also have had impactful tornadoes years ago that were well documented.

      I may have seen these signs at other places in the area, but they were very visible here.

      Crafts Etc. was a store that I have not heard about in a long time. They had one in Kingwood for several years and Walgreens took over the space.

  4. My 3 favorite things about this post are the Target cart, broken Sears & Roebuck sign, and the abandoned Waldenbooks.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Valley View had lots of vintage elements that are now mostly demolished.

  5. Midtown Pizza Kitchen was a Great American Cookie. You can tell because of the color scheme and the display cases

    1. It is definitely the old school design that were still see today at many Great American Cookie locations.

  6. How did this mall fail?

    1. Competition, this mall is located a very short distance from the Dallas Galleria. Valley View started struggling in the early 2000's even with the AMC addition. The mall was filling back up with art galleries, showrooms, and small businesses, but mall ownership was not making enough money.

    2. Why did they open the Dallas Galleria open so close to this mall?

    3. Back in the 70's and 80's when malls were popping up all over the USA, it was not uncommon to have 2 nearby malls. Anchor consolidation had not happened yet so you could have 2 nearby malls with completely different anchors at each mall. Houston had 2 areas with 2 nearby malls that coexisted for a decade or more.