Memorial City Mall
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|Location||Houston, Texas, USA|
|No. of stores and services||145|
|No. of anchor tenants||5|
|Total retail floor area||1,700,000 sq ft (160,000 m2).|
|No. of floors||2 (top floor contains only movie theater)|
Memorial City Mall is a large shopping mall in Memorial City, Houston, Texas, United States, at the intersection of Interstate 10/U.S. Route 90 and Gessner Road, adjacent to the large Memorial Hermann medical complex. Constructed in the early 1960s, the mall has since grown to be one of the city's more popular malls, mostly due to a large renovation project that took place in the early 2000s.
The Memorial City Mall completed in 1966 was a very middle-market shopping venue, with the aforementioned Sears, plus Walgreen Drug, Piccadilly Cafeteria and an S.H. Kress variety / 5 and 10 store. A single-screen cinema, the Memorial Theater, was also connected with the interior mallway. It opened in June 1962. A Montgomery Ward was added, as a second anchor store, in 1972.
Town & Country rivalry
Memorial City Mall was expanded with a Foley's and Battelstein's in 1974. These were located in a new East Wing. Lord and Taylor joined the mall, as a west addition, in 1977. The mall now housed 1.3 million leasable square feet.
Town & Country Mall was dedicated in 1983. Located only a mile west of Memorial City Mall on Interstate 10/U.S. Route 90 and Beltway 8, it featured more upscale stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Marshall Field and Company and Saks Fifth Avenue. Shoppers preferred Town & Country's retail mix and, for a time, it was considered the more fashion-conscious mall of the two.
Memorial City attempted to regain market share by renovating with the installation of Fame City, a multi-faceted family entertainment complex, complete with an indoor mini golf course, kiddie ride area, video game arcade, teen disco, roller skating rink and new 8-screen, Loew's multiplex cinema. These attractions opened during 1989. Moreover, the mall hosted specialty conventions for items such as model trains.
However, Fame City was not successful and the retail hub continued to decline. Frost Brothers, which had been taken over the Battelstein's store in 1980, closed 1986. Lord & Taylor was shuttered and replaced with a Mervyn's in 1989. In 1997, Neiman Marcus announced it was shutting down its Town and Country Mall location in favor of moving to Memorial City.
The younger rival suffered, as well, as the construction of the new Sam Houston Tollway made visibility and access difficult. That, in combination with the effect of the 1980s oil glut on Houston, was the beginning of the end for Town & Country Mall as it lost popularity with shoppers. The interior had become dated and available leasing space was small and crowded. T&C lost several tenants, including anchors Dillard's and JCPenney to Memorial City before closing in 2004 and was demolished shortly thereafter.
By the early 2000s, the area surrounding Memorial City Mall had returned to prosperity thanks to a USD$500 million renovation project that took place from 2001 to 2005. During the period, over 100 new retail shops were added to the complex, including five new anchor stores.
Shortly after the project started, in November 2001, the original, one-level Foley's store was replaced with a larger, 2-level store. Lord and Taylor, which had left the mall in 1989, returned with a new 2-level store in March 2002. The eight-screen movie theater was closed in 2002 after its owner, Trammell Crow Co., filed for bankruptcy in early 2001.
The old Foley's was demolished, with an extended east concourse and a new Dillard's taking its place in October 2003. Two parking garages were constructed, as well. The expansion and renovation attracted stores from other areas of the city. Target demolished the old Montgomery Ward (vacated in January 2001) and replaced it with a newly constructed Target in October 2003. With the goal of "creating a total family experience", large-scale renovation of the property continued through 2004 with the construction of a large 2,600 sq. ft. play area for children and a NHL-standard sized ice rink.
A new 16-screen Cinemark movie theater with stadium seating opened adjacent to Sears in May 2007. This project returns a movie theater to Memorial City Mall since the previous Loews Theater closed in 2002.
In 2005, Lord & Taylor closed its anchor space. Their store space became a JCPenney in February 2006. Mervyn's left the Texas area in 2006 and demolished soon after. During 2009 and 2010, a skyway was constructed across Gessner Road connecting Memorial City to a 267-room Westin hotel being built adjacent to the Memorial Hermann medical center; this Westin hotel opened in March 2011.
- Dillard's (opened 2003)
- JCPenney (opened 2006)
- Macy's (opened 2006)
- Sears (opened 1966)
- Target (opened 2003)
- Foley's (Original one-level store opened in 1974 and closed in 2001, demolished/rebuilt as Dillard's, new two-level store opened in 2001 and became Macy's in 2006)
- Lord & Taylor (Original one-level store opened in 1977 and closed in 1989, became Mervyn's, two-level store opened in 2002 and closed in 2005 when chain leaves Houston, became JCPenney in 2006)
- Mervyn's (Opened in 1989 and closed in 2006, demolished in 2007)
- Montgomery Ward (Opened in 1972 and closed in 2001, demolished/rebuilt as Target in 2002)
- Battelsteins (Opened in 1974 and converted to Frost Bros in 1980)
- Frost Bros (Closed in 1986)
The mall is served by Metronational Security Company.
- "Retailers banking on after-Christmas sales" — Houston Chronicle, December 27, 2007
- Dallas Morning News, local and regional briefs — Dallas Morning News archives. Published October 25, 1997.
- "MetroNational undertakes $500 million urban community project in Houston" — National Real Estate Investor, August 23, 2001
- "Memorial City Mall" — Houston Chronicle, November 18, 2005
- Development Digest — Retail Traffic Magazine, March 1, 2001
- "Defunct River Oaks theater to get starring role as new retail center" — Houston Business Journal, March 8, 2002
- "Malls create 'lifestyles' in making comeback" — Houston Chronicle, June 3, 2004
- "New Cinemark theater to open in Memorial City Mall" — Houston Business Journal, July 27, 2005
- Memorial City — Latest Development, Memorial City Mall website
- Westin Houston Hotels: The Westin Houston, Memorial City, Westin Hotels and Resorts
- MetroNational Subsidiaries, MetroNational. Last accessed 2006-12-24.