Well, we’re coming to the end of July, which means it’s finally time for another biannual trip to Northwest Mall, before you read any further not much has happened. However, everything is still there, at present there are no plans for demolition.
The last stated plans were to remodel and redevelop the inside with a possible grocer taking the space of a former anchor. I have since been contacted by the group wishing to purchase and redevelop the land, my update is at the end of this post.
Nothing much has changed with Palais Royal. They are using the former mall entrance as a sales floor, as opposed to keeping it open. The exterior plants and grass are all well kept.
I wanted to include a picture to show that not only are the lawns and hedges trimmed, but the edging is even nice!
The stage is still assembled, which you figure they might try to sell if they were completely serious about selling the mall.
Some of the stray items left behind at Thirsty’s former location have been removed.
This cart is the final visible cart in the mall. I’m not sure if the carts have been sold yet. Prior to closing most of the carts were moved to the former Movie Theatre hallway.
The Dryer’s signage remains attached to the building. Sticking my fingers between the glass I could tell that the A/C temperature inside the mall was either higher than Palais Royal or completely off.
Looking down towards the former JC Penny’s entrance you can see that everything in the hallways has been removed. The former movie theater hallway no longer had carts or kiosks in it when it was converted to an emergency exit.
This is the final exterior mall entrance with any access. The movie theater hallway is open to allow access to the emergency exit for the club. However, you’re not able to access the rest of the building.
The former Foley’s remains untouched. Even the original F door handles remain attached. You would think that someone might attempt to make off with them, however, security seems to primarily patrol this side of the mall.
The 610/290 interchange construction has died down enough that Entrance 7 could easily be reconnected with the feeder. However, it seems highly unlikely this will happen at this point. I truly believe this mall has its days numbered.
This construction lot honestly, might be one of the few things preventing redevelopment. It’s likely that this government acquired contract has some sort of lease stipulation preventing the breaking of the lease without a penalty.
The Northwest Mall is open for business along with 3 of the 4 business signs have been removed. These are on the former Macy’s building. The only remaining store from this sign has been Palais Royal for the past few years.
The former front entrance, or “Entrance A” has been completely covered for a while now, construction dumpsters which were in the service courts have been removed.
Again, all but the Palais Royal Sign has been removed. This was on the former JC Penny’s/Antique Mall building. I wonder why they have never made any attempts to cover the non-existent stores.
Unfortunately, I really think we’ve hit the end of any kind of full mall restoration. We may see retail-based redevelopment if the idea of placing the high-speed rail station there pans out. Otherwise, we must play the waiting game to see what happens next. If you enjoyed this update check out my past entries on the same topic.
7/24 Update: I was contacted by Michael Moore Regional Vice President of External Affairs for Texas Central Partners (The Company which is building the bullet train between Dallas and Houston) who informed me that Northwest Mall has officially been selected as the location for the Houston Station. He also said “Texas Central has an option on the land and will close after we finish our environmental review by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)”
This will prove to be a fitting use for the old mall. As opposed to another new shopping center they have chosen a unique modern design, which matches the nearby HISD buildings. Mr. Moore also provided a video showing what the proposed station will look like. https://texascentral.sharefile.com/d-s72321f159d842aaa
I spent my childhood, teens and college years going to this mall. The movie theatre was called Northwest 4. Festival 6 was located in a strip mall along 290 near Randalls.
The ice cream parlor was Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. It was a sit down restaurant famous for huge bowls of ice cream and a candy shop at the exit. That’s where we went for birthdays and team celebrations.
Great memories I used to manage chess king.
When I first moved to Houston in 1999 I lived in Oak Forest and went with my wife to Northwest Mall quite often. It was nice to have a mall so close to home, and, in 1999 Northwest Mall was not at the top of its form but still was full of stores. The stores there had some of the clearance items and less popular sizes from the stores at more popular malls, so it was a good place to get deals.
In the 70’s and 80’s, we practically lived in the local Houston malls; Northwest, Sharpstown, Memorial City, Galleria, West Oaks, etc. Northwest Mall was one of the best (and closest to us.)
It was the same routine every time… the folks would make us eat at Piccadilly Cafeteria for dinner. They had the same ladies working there from the time it opened in 1968 until it finally closed (in around 2000-is?) After that, my brother and I would go and run around the big fountain before heading to The Gold Mine to play video games.
All the mall stores were the basically the same (aside from the fancier Galleria.) Wicks & Stix Candles, Chess King clothes, Visible Changes, Kaybee Toys, Corn Dog, Orange Julius, Hickory Farms, Foleys, Pipe Pub, etc.
Unfortunately, by the late 80’s and early 90’s the malls became daycare centers for Houston’s thugs and riff raff. Robberies in the parking lots, broken windows, stolen cars, etc. They were dying fast even before Amazon and the internet killed them.
What was the name of the ice cream parlor at the NW Mall?
There were a couple throughout the years. The bigger ones being Baskin Robin’s, Dryers, and Thirsty’s.
Hey Michael! My name is Tera and I’m a Producer with KPRC, Channel 2. I’m interested in speaking with you. Please give me a buzz at REDACTED.
I remember so well that time in the fall of 1968 when I opened Kinney’s Shoes in Northwest Mall. I moved here from New Orleans to open this new store. We had a new venture in young women’s clothes next door – Susie Casuals, part of the Kinney/Woolworth family. I worked happily there for about eight years before changing careers. It was a great time to be in retail and in the mall there.
Cool pics, shame the model railroad club was booted.. Might also want to spell check my friend.. 🙂
Out of curiosity, why do you refer to the north wing as the former movie theater hallway?
As long as I remember we saw the Empire Strikes Back & Ghostbusters & other movies at the Festival 6 which wasn’t attached to the mall at all. It was a free standing building that stood right south of where the Shell/Burger King now stand & east of the mall itself.
Was there a movie theater in that part of the mall when it opened in the 60s?
You’re completely correct. I never made it to Northwest Mall until after the movie theater closed. So I made the assumption that the theater was part of the mall. The building I’m talking about was originally a Woolworth’s and later became a club.
Mannnnnn omg this mall brings so much memories even though I was in my teens when I last went. For me, and probably others on the northside, northwest mall is probably one of the most nostalgic and kinda sad structure. Last time I stepped in this mall was 2006 and that’s when it was still obvious that it’s days were numbered.
I only went to see my ex-girlfriend who worked at baskin robbins lol. kind of appropriate to me that this mall may be history a long with that.
thanks for the write up and pictures!
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
What a shame for such wasted space!
For sure, hopefully the rail redevelopment brings in some good commercial tenants to the area.