Random Retail: 9 Years Ago, Downtown Foley’s was demolished & Inside Battelstein’s!

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. We’ve got a light post today, as I’m working on a much bigger upcoming project that I hope you’ll all enjoy! As part of this post, I’ve had to do some research into downtown department stores. Let’s start off with Battelstein’s, if you’re like me, this is a store you’ve heard about but not one you ever visited. Battelstein’s started off, like most other department stores in Houston, as a dry goods concern sometime around the 1920s or 30s. Just like Foley’s, and Sakowitz’s, Battelstein’s too would make eventually morph into a modern department store, their store would be quite a bit smaller than their competitors and located a few blocks away from the dueling pair. The merchandise mix at Battelstein’s was considered to be of good quality and, for the most part, higher end than what Foley’s would carry, but not nearly as expensive as Sakowitz’s. During their following decades, Battelstein’s would grow to include multiple locations in malls around Houston. Around the late 70s, Battelstein’s would be purchased by Beall’s of Jacksonville, TX. Who floundered and quickly dropped their Houston locations by the mid-80s. The downtown location closed in 1981, with Beall’s likely not seeing any point in keeping a store in what was, at the time, a near-dead zone for retail. After closing, the store has continued to sit abandoned for years. In 2010, an urban explorer made their way into the building and took some incredible photos of the downtown location.

 

Battlesteins Department Store
Years after Battelstein’s would their demise, and so would another Houston icon, the downtown Foley’s. The store so iconically tied to the brand that for many, it never really ‘gained the Macy’s name,’ even though the store sported it from 2007 to closing in 2013. With little explanation in the middle of a downtown revival, the 1940s Foley’s building was ceremoniously demolished on Sunday, September 22, 2013. The demolition paved the way for the redevelopment of the lot into a mid-rise tower that currently occupies the location. After the shutdown of Macy’s nee Foley’s, the nearby Houston Pavillions/Green Street, which was arguably doing better than any other downtown mall attempt, has truly suffered, leaving downtown retail somewhat in the dumps, at least on this scale.

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