Burlington has moved out of Alemda Mall, creating a major anchor vacancy at the regional mall for the first time in nearly 15 years. The space which Burlington occupied at the mall was originally a JC Penney until the chain closed the location in 2006. The anchor spot remained vacant until 2009 when Burlington (at the time) Coat Factory moved in. Burlington never utilized the entire JCP space, leaving the second floor untouched and a large corner of the first floor open for future development. Houston Historic Retail first learned of the planned move thanks to permits filed nearly a year ago. The action by Burlington is part of a trend to slim down locations into smaller spaces. This type of planning also landed Burlington in two recently shuttered Best Buy stores in Houston. The move of Burlington from the mall to a spot across Almeda Genoa is likely not a sign of a weakened mall but rather a desire to shift into a smaller space. The new building is quite significant as well. It was originally home to one of the massive Woolco department stores. When the chain was proving to be unprofitable, Woolworths began subdividing stores to lease to other companies. At this location, the space was leased to another Woolworth operation, J. Branams, an off-price clothing retailer. While things have come full circle for this portion of the former Woolco, no plans have been announced for now vacant space inside Almeda Mall.
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Almeda Mall still attracts a fairly large number of shoppers. Obviously, the big box retail around the mall is still pretty strong with Walmart and now this new Burlington. That said, while Fox Properties put a lot of money renovating the mall a few years ago, the mall is now owned by Kohan and Kohan is famous for desperation and despair at the other malls they own/owned across the country. Given Kohan’s track record, I’m not optimistic about the Burlington spot getting filled with a respectable tenant, but we’ll see.
One thing of note is that the Pancho’s Mexican Buffet in the new Burlington shopping center closed about six months back and is now a WSS shoe store.
A massive change for Almeda. I’m excited and anxious to see what becomes of the space. Almeda still gets packed on the weekends and holidays, so still have hope the mall will stay for a while longer.
I got a new job as a driver and I’ve been driving past Northwest Mall almost everyday. Man, what a massive contrast to Almeda. It always feels as if I’m staring into a parallel universe.
Are you usually driving on Hempstead Highway for this new job? Lots of people who often drive on 290 probably don’t realize Hempstead Highway (which mostly parallels 290) can be a really nice alternative to the very busy and congested freeway! Unfortunately though, Hempstead Highway does pass through a very bad area, so be careful!
I grew up in Houston in the 70s, north of that mall. I remember Christmases when we’d make visits to ever mall in town, and the hoopla over the opening of Deer Brook or whatever it was called. I am not sure I even want to think about the state of the older malls, these days. 🙂