Howdy fans and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today you’re in for a treat, I took my first visit to one of the Deauville Fashion Malls. For those not in the know, the Deauville Fashion Malls were a failed concept by local property developer the Deauville Corporation, an apartment and shopping center builder. Essentially the idea was born out of a desire to get into developing malls, but after a failed attempt at building a competitor to Greenspoint, the idea morphed into a ‘discount mall’. While it wasn’t the worst idea in the world, with prevailing economic issues in the Space City, and a relaxation of the blue laws these malls attempted to skirt, the Deauville Corp’s malls all floundered within a year of opening. A total of three malls had opened, and one had just completed construction only months prior to the downfall of the company. For the most part, these malls would find new use as Power Centers, which used exterior entrances for businesses, and combined the boutique spaces into huge portions of floor space. The former Stafford and Webster malls would become Power Centers almost immediately upon closing. On the other hand, the Kingwood Deauville Mall, would never open and eventually be redeveloped as Office/Medical space. This left the Spring Deauville Mall which would survive, they would have to change their name but continued operations into the early 90s. This is the mall we’ll be looking at today.
This isn’t my first visit to a Deauville property. I have lots of fond childhood memories of the Stafford location, in its power center incarnation. While the store interiors would be removed, the exterior still retained many of Deauville’s design cues. Visiting the Spring Location, was literally like stepping back in time. If you haven’t seen the photos, I’d recommend checking out the Louisiana & Texas Retail Blog’s visit to the mall. He was able to hit it up, years prior to me, and captured photos of a portion of the mall, that is no longer visible. The Spring Deauville Mall is a bit smaller than the other three malls and has a ‘star shape’ layout. Predicting early success, the malls that were still under construction received a planned addition of around 100,000 Square Feet, and some new tenants, including Federated Electronics, and Loew’s Theaters. At the Spring Mall the expansion was built next to the mall, in the form of a co-located strip center, which is still operating as of 2022. As far as I can tell, the mall lost its final internal tenant as late as 1994. It seems a few independent shops managed to squeak out a good run here. It’s very much possible that during the late 80s and early 90s slump at Greenspoint, some of their shops found refuge in the former Deauville Mall.
Throughout the 90s, it seems that a few businesses did continue to operate out of the mall, mostly through the front end of the mall, facing Holzwarth Road, adding new windows and doors to allow access. During the early 2000s, the Power Center bug, hit the Spring Mall too, with one of the former anchor stores being reused as a Restaurant Supply, a fronting of the stores with exterior entrances took place, and many smaller stores with exterior entrances began to fill in the space. During this time however, internal corridors of the mall were mostly left untouched. This new development is one of the reasons why the former Deauville in Spring is still in such great shape. It seems that while the development has ripped parts and pieces out of the mall, the general consensus is to leave wall off the corridors, and leave those alone. The strip center next door has a had a laundry list of revolving tenants, although the movie theater has been pretty consistent. By 2010s, small non-retail tenants, like event centers, and gyms began to inhabit the former interior spaces of the mall. Reusing existing exterior entrances, or adding on single doors to their exterior wall. These new developments have even led to an Airsoft Arena that uses old stores spaces and the interior corridor. If you’re into Dead Malls, but can’t muster up the courage for Airsoft there’s some awesome 360 coverage of the old mall (Comment how many movie references you can find there!). If you’re in Spring, then give this place a stop, the one corridor left, is far worth the time! P.S. Keep an eye out for an upcoming visit to a less intact Deauville Mall!