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!
I’m not going to put my real name or anything, but I actually got to explore this full mall! 🙂
Deauville Malls were known for having unusual “off-brand” stores such as Designer Depot, Hit or Miss, Siegel’s Fashion, and Federated Electronics. Part of why the Deauville Malls were originally built was to provide shopping for 42 specific items including clothing, knives, pots, pans, furniture and even washing machines on Sundays, since most stores were open on Saturday. In 1983, Texas still had the so-called “Blue Laws” that forebode shopping on consecutive weekend days (both Saturday and Sunday) at anywhere besides drug stores or grocery stores. When the Blue Laws were finally struck down in 1985, suddenly the Deauville Malls had competition from conventional malls as well as stand-alone stores like Sears.
My goodness, it’s been a long time since I was as surprised as I was just now to see the Hotdog sign still in place. My parents and I would eat a quick bite there before going to see a movie. I’ve lost countless memories over time but having a polish sausage right before seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is one I’ll always have. The owners had pictures of their dog all over the place too (named Hotdog, so the place was named after their pet) and I was such a crumb that I convinced my little brother that was the main ingredient in polish sausage. Great content here. I should’ve been asleep two hours ago but can’t stop reading.
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. I too fondly remember visiting the Movie Theater at our local Deauville Mall.
The Kingwood/Deauville location became Kingwood Hospital. If you drive around the back of the property, some of the old fascade is still in use. If you go into the center of Kingwood Hospital, some of the old mall corridors are still in use but have been remodeled in years gone by.
That airsoft place walk-through on Google Maps is really something! That is a great find. I certainly remember when this mall and the Goodyear Blimp base next door were certainly the memorable parts of this area. The blimp is long-gone, but the mall and the associated shopping center are still around even if almost all of the original tenants are gone except for the theater. While most people wouldn’t think of Kmart when they think of the Spring Deauville Fashion Mall, the reality is that Kmart had two retailers here with Builders Square and Designer Depot. Unfortunately in typical Kmart fashion, neither were a success, but I suppose Builders Square had a few years where they were a viable retailer.
Federated Electronics was probably the biggest name retailer here. They were a pretty big deal in the 1980s. They were certainly one of the places to go to for brand name electronics.
I’m glad this mall has found a bit of a second life even if the mall aspect of it is long gone now. The photos are great. I’m glad this place has been covered on this blog.
Also I do believe that with the closure of District Theatres and Premiere Cinema Nasa 8 in Webster, the independent Dollar Cinema on Westheimer and FM1960 locations, and Movie Tavern in Deerbrook due to the pandemic, and until the River Oaks gets operating again after renovations, this might be the oldest operating movie theatre in the Houston area.
That AMC Loews was all but dead until the landlord agreed to help chip in on the renovations. Once completed, it drew enough business that it helped kill off the old Commerce Park Movie Tavern 7 (Formally AMC Commerce Park 8) and eventually, the Premiere Cinema Greenspoint Mall theatre (the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin on that property).
Interesting, I wondered why that theater looked so nice. They quickly gave up on the other Loews/Deauville locations, I’m guessing the larger number of screens kept them interested here. Also, I believe you’re correct about this being the oldest theater in Houston, even if it is just temporary. Those discount houses were the only really good example left of that 70s/80s era of theater.