During the 1980s this mall had a Service Merchandise, Mervyn’s, JCPenney, Sears, Beall’s, Palais Royal, Foley’s, Montgomery Ward, Walgreen’s, Casa Ole, Piccadilly, large food court, and a second story play area with carousel in the center court.
This mall was designed with several corridors and is very large especially for the city of Baytown that had 45,000 residents in the 80s. The ceilings are tall with skylights and the old tiles and wood frames are still intact in the mall.The mall has only been painted and not truly remodeled since its opening.
Service Merchandise, Bealls, and Montgomery Ward all closed in the beginning of 2001. Mervyn’s closed in 2006 with the rest of the stores in the Houston area. During the mall’s history it has had trouble keeping stores due to its large size and small nearby population. In recent years Wal-mart, Circuit City, Best Buy, Target, Lowe’s, and Conn’s Electronics which are all located in the center of the city have opened up or expanded their locations taking away mall traffic.
The mall smells of mold and chlorine and the fountains have been turned off recently. The south corridor is empty where the Wards and Bealls used to be.The southwest corridor where the Foley’s and Palais Royal is only has 3 stores left out of 15 abandoned. The north corridor where the Mervyn’s and Service Merchandise closed has two out of the 20 spaces filled.The east corridor with Sears and Marshalls has seen some losses but has three new stores as of August 2006 and is 75% full. The JCPenney and center food court have stayed nearly full at about 90% capacity. A cinema operates in the mall and is very successful. Casa Ole does good next to the cinema and the food court does fine business as well.The second story playground and the carousel is still open and staffed. Only Sears, JCPenney, Palais Royal, Marshall’s, and Foley’s are open. Foley’s will become Macy’s when they take over the May company in 2006. Only about 60 stores still operate in a mall built for 175+ but there is hope.The Montgomery Ward corridor is now closed off and scheduled to be demolished and the commons of San Jacinto will start to take shape.
They have not released many details about this project yet, only a teaser photo and the wording lifestyle center in 2007.
If this fails, the mall will most likely shut down in 3-5 years.
JCPenney is building new locations in Houston (Memorial, Baybrook, Pasadena, and a Pearland stand-alone store) so they probably will build in the center of town if this project fails.
There is plenty of room for the JCPenney and movie cinema in the center of Baytown. Maybe even Sears will build one of its new concept stores here in Houston to give us a fresh alternative to the many Wal-Mart and Targets around. K-mart is no longer an option for us in Houston since they closed all of their units in 2003 here.
I don’t know anything about the history of the first years of the mall but hopefully the next 10 will be a rebirth for the mall and stop the downward cycle that most dying malls fall victim to.