West Oaks Mall (Houston, Texas)
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|Location||Houston, Texas, USA|
|Developer||JMB/Federated Realty Associates Ltd.|
|Owner||Pacific Retail Capital Partners|
|No. of stores and services||110|
|No. of anchor tenants||4|
|Total retail floor area||1.1 million sq. ft.|
|No. of floors||1 (2 in anchors)|
West Oaks Mall is a regional shopping mall located in the Alief area of the west side of Houston, Texas, USA, that opened in 1984. With a trade area serving far western parts of Houston including a business clientele in the Energy Corridor and suburban neighborhoods west of George Bush Park in the Greater Katy and Fulshear areas, the mall is located at Texas State Highway 6 and Westheimer Road and can easily be accessed south on Highway 6 via Interstate 10.
The 1.1 million square foot mall is anchored by Macy’s, Sears, a Dillard's clearance center, Palais Royal, Fortis College and a 14-screen Edwards Theatres multiplex. Pacific Retail Capital Partners owns the mall as a joint venture with Square Mile Capital Management, and is managed by PRCP Management.
Early years (1984-1996)
West Oaks Mall has its roots in the opening of a branch of Houston-based department store chain Foley's in 1982 – two years before the mall opened. In the foyer of the north entrance to the store, on both walls, there are handprints of children on terra-cotta tiles with a plaque dated May 22, 1982. The mall itself opened in 1984 with a single-level floorplan designed in a "Mission style", and replete with earth tone interiors, numerous fountains and skylights. Originally, the mall targeted higher-end consumers on Houston's western fringes and surrounding suburban areas, with anchor tenants Foley's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and Mervyn's, along with over 120 inline stores, a six-screen Plitt Theatres (later Cineplex Odeon) cinema, and a food court dubbed the Fiesta Food Court. West Oaks served as a direct competitor to nearby Town & Country Mall and Memorial City Mall in Houston's Memorial area – targeting shoppers in Houston's Energy Corridor and the Greater Katy area, as well as a newer alternative for shoppers in rapidly growing Fort Bend County who otherwise would have gone to Sharpstown Mall or Westwood Mall.
In 1985, Macy's announced that it was building a fifth Houston store at West Oaks Mall, which would have been located on the mall's last remaining anchor pad directly opposite Lord & Taylor and would have opened in late 1987, a year after the flagship Houston Galleria store (now dubbed as Macy's at Sage after the 2006 merger) opened. The proposed Macy's ultimately never materialized. As Houston's economy suffered in the aftermath of the 1980s oil glut, demand for upscale retail declined sharply and by the spring of 1990, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor closed their West Oaks locations, replaced respectively by Sears and JCPenney (both stores of which would fill a large gap in Greater Houston) as part of a repositioning of the mall as a mainstream middle-class suburban regional mall.  Macy's intended space at West Oaks would eventually be filled by Dillard's in 1991, making it the first such store in Houston to be built as a Dillard's (the rest having been converted from the former Joske's in 1988). By the early 1990s, West Oaks emerged as one of Houston's top performing regional malls, in large part due to the decline of Town & Country and rapid suburban growth in the aforementioned areas.
The mall would receive its first serious challenge in 1996 when First Colony Mall opened in nearby Sugar Land. Though First Colony's opening had done more economic damage to the Sharpstown and Westwood malls in Southwest Houston (the latter of which would close over one year later), the new mall drew away many of West Oaks' customers from rapidly growing Fort Bend County, but still continued to draw some shoppers from this area due to the presence of stores that did not have locations at the new mall including Sears and some specialty stores which did not open locations at First Colony Mall. To compete with First Colony, West Oaks underwent a renovation that removed several features including a tall clock at the intersection of the Arcade and the Dillard's/JCPenney concourse, an elevated seating area in the food court used as a smoking area, all of the mall's fountains, and the original dark brown tile in the mall's inline corridor. In July 2003, Somera Investment Partners and Coastwood Capital Group purchased the mall from an affiliate of CB Richard Ellis Investors. That same year, the first Alamo Drafthouse in Houston opened in the mall after Alamo Drafthouse's Austin-based owners granted the franchise location in the former Cineplex Odeon cinema.
In 2004, the mall was renovated into a Texas Ranch Style to compete with recent renovations at the Galleria and Memorial City Mall, as well as the impending expansion of First Colony Mall (which completed in 2006).The interior was extensively renovated, including the filling of the sunken part of the Park Court with concrete and the addition of a fireplace to the food court, and replacement of the tile from the 1996 renovation with marble, and the mall would be sold again in 2005 to Investment Properties of America, which bought the mall from the Somera/Coastwood partnership.
By this time, West Oaks faced increasingly stiff competition from Katy Mills which opened in 1999 with a lineup of outlet retail and entertainment options, as well as from a resurgent Memorial City Mall that completed a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2002. Both malls effectively lured shoppers from the rapidly growing and prosperous Greater Katy area away, with Memorial City's resurgence also hastening the decline of Town & Country Mall which closed in 2004 and would be redeveloped as CityCentre. The openings of the CityCentre and LaCenterra lifestyle centers in the Memorial area of Houston and Cinco Ranch, respectively, also further contributed to the mall's decline in prominence.
In 2009, Pacific Retail Capital Partners bought the mall from LNR Partners Inc. for $15 million – $87 million less than it did when it was sold four years earlier. In 2011, Regal Entertainment Group agreed to open a 14-screen Edwards Theatres multiplex as a new anchor for the mall, replacing the Alamo Drafthouse cinema which continued to operate until the completion of construction on the Edwards multiplex that resulted in the demolition of much of the former Mervyn's wing, which was briefly anchored by Steve & Barry's before the latter chain went bankrupt in 2009. Other anchor changes during this time included Fortis College filling the former JCPenney anchor space (which closed in 2005) and Dillard's converting its store to a clearance center only utilizing the first floor.
On January 4, 2017, as part of a nationwide repositioning of its retail portfolio, Macy's announced it would close its West Oaks Mall store after 35 years. The store closed on March 27, 2017.
- Dillard's Clearance Center (227,600 sq ft.)
- Sears (102,000 sq ft.)
- Edwards Theaters (60,300 sq. ft.)
- Palais Royal (26,700 sq. ft.)
- Fortis College (100,000 sq ft.)
- Mervyn's (opened in 1984, closed 2005, became Steve & Barry's in 2006; 75,000 sq ft)
- Steve & Barry's (opened in 2006 replacing Mervyn's, closed in 2009; 75,000 sq ft, demolished 2011, Edwards Theaters now on original site)
- Foley's (opened in 1982, converted to Macy's 2006; 250,000 sq ft.)
- Macy's (closed March 27, 2017; 250,000 sq ft.)
- Saks Fifth Avenue (opened in 1984, closed in 1990, now Sears; 102,036 sq ft)
- Lord & Taylor (opened in 1984, closed in 1990, became JCPenney; 100,000 sq ft)
- JCPenney (opened in 1990 replacing Lord & Taylor, closed in 2005, now Fortis College; 100,000 sq ft)
- 5th Macy's for Houston, Houston Chronicle, June 14, 1985.
- Fact sheet, West Oaks Mall.
- "Oaks Mall gets Edwards Theatre" Houston Business Journal. March 2, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- COMPANY NEWS; Saks Store Closing, New York Times, April 20, 1990.
- Planned renovation to give West Oaks Mall new identity, Houston Business Journal, January 16, 2004
- West Oaks Mall purchased, Houston Chronicle, July 29, 2003.
- Purchase of Houston's West Oaks, West Oaks Mall, September 16, 2003.
- Investment Properties of America Purchases West Oaks Mall, West Oaks Mall, October 4, 2005.
- Dawson, Jennifer. "Los Angeles company acquires West Oaks Mall." Houston Business Journal. Wednesday December 9, 2009. Retrieved on December 12, 2009.
- "Macy's to close 3 Houston-area stores, 68 nationwide". ABC13 Houston. 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-05.