When Northwest Mall closed its interior in 2017, it was under the auspicious news of a remodel and refresh. Levcor properties, then owner, claimed that the mall would be revamped, and soon reopened, to help compliment the revitalizing Spring Branch area. It all happened so long ago, that it was reported on Swamplot, which is where I first heard about the mall’s impending closure. As this closure was only to be temporary, Levcor allowed tenants with exterior entrances to remain. Thompson’s Antique Center in the old JCPenney, Palais Royal where I took some viral photos, and a few other stragglers were left behind. These include a club, which closed maybe a few weeks after the mall. A rehab clinic, which lasted a few months, and the College of Healthcare Professions, which as of this post is still open. However, that is quickly about to change. The second to last tenant to close was covered recently on HHR, Thompson’s Antique Center, which is taking over the old Suninland store on Gessner left the old JCPenney in the days after Christmas.
So what happened with that renovation? Well going through my own photos and recollections, after the remaining interior tenants made their way out, a small amount of refurbishment work did take place. A few crews were brought in to start work. One of their first tasks was to build a wall closing off the antique center from the mall. A small door was inlaid into the wall to allow access between the anchor and mall space. Next, another crew began dismantling signage, both hanging directional signs, and the directories and advertisements were moved out of place and laid in wait by the entrance corridors. Finally, another group was tasked with boarding up and securing the doors. A few sets were left accessible, such as the fire exit from the still open club. Another entrance left open was used by construction workers to enter and exit the building. The corridors that still had access, were given electric eye sensors and the entire mall was outfitted with a security system, and this was the end of any rehabilitation. While it wasn’t public knowledge at the time, another group already had their eyes on the mall, and Levcor had plans to sell the mall.
The talks from the Texas Central High-Speed Rail project, became public towards the end of 2017, with renderings of the proposed station published on Swamplot the following year. Throughout all these years, little changed with Northwest Mall. It has continued to sit walled off, with interior tenants slowly closing down. The Palais Royal closed in 2019 during the early stages of the company’s bankruptcy, ending the ability to view the interior corridors of the mall. The Antique Center however seemed unphased, along with the Healthcare College. Over the past two years, they were the only tenants still in operation at Northwest Mall. The Antique Center, who famously relocated here after TxDOT demolished their original digs during the 610/290/I-10 interchange expansion, stubbornly refused to advertise their closing, according to dealers who were manning the going out of business sale. In fact, this was how I discovered the store was closing, during a visit for photos and to actually buy some Christmas presents. It seems that in early 2021 the property finally changed hands from Levcor, to Cadiz Development, a company formed by the Texas Central Railway to develop their station properties. According to permits filed Dallas based developer, Matthews Southwest is taking the lead of the project, with a Northeasterly portion of the parking lot remaining under Levcor. As of 2022 the mall is in a rather poor shape, urban explorers have also found their way inside.
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Cadiz seems unwilling to renew leases, with tenants having to find new homes. Driving up 290, I found the new location for the College of Healthcare Professions in the old Lindsey Furniture Offices/Distribution Center in the failed corporate park near the HOV flyover. While it’s not known what the exact next steps for the High-Speed Rail Station are, demolition of the mall is likely to come first. The station will be built further back from the interchange, and at an angle from the railroad across Hempstead Road. While the trains won’t share the same rails, they will run parallel to the existing tracks, coming into the city. In 2017 the fate of the mall seemed uncertain, and while I knew the mall was doomed from the day an outside firm announced its intent to redevelop, I didn’t know when the final day would be. However, now with the knowledge that the property has been sold and leases are being terminated, it’s obvious demolition is imminent, and it’s up to us to keep an eye on the mall in the meantime. Hopefully Texas Central will be interested in preserving some of the mall’s history in the new station.
Is it possible to get inside?
Northwest Mall is No More
I sometimes get a glimpse of this mall when I’m on the 290 to I-10 connector ramp and I usually think what a shame it is that the mall is now closed. Oh well, there are still some neat retail scenes in the area with the old Firestone neon sign on Mangum & Dacoma and that old reused Sambo’s sign along 290. The new powercenter along 290 has, in some ways, replaced the retail that Northwest Mall used to bring to the area. Granted, most of the tenants in the new powercenter are discount stores like Ross Dress For Less.