Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. In this post, we’re looking at another one of the former Deauville Fashion Malls, which has spent the last 20 years hidden in plain sight. Before we dive into the Southwest Deauville Mall in the tiny town of Meadows, let’s first talk about the history of Deauville in general. The Deauville Corporation was founded in the early 1970s to build apartments to keep up with the steadily rising population of the time. The company would soon construct small shopping centers, attracting Randalls as a tenant. With this new profit stream and the uncertainty of the future rental market of Houston, Deauville first attempted to “go big” by proposing a competitor to Greenspoint Mall. Despite being a lofty project, Deauville was serious. Signing Montgomery Wards as an anchor (who had initially been refused at Greenspoint), hiring Melvin Simon (of Simon Malls) as a direct consultant, and planning over 1 Million Square Feet of sales space. Until Ward’s pulled out when Greenspoint relented and offered them an anchor spot, down but not out, Deauville would modify their plans to the Spring Deauville Fashion Mall instead. The plan would essentially use shopping center anchors glued together with a few mall stores and lots of discount shops. The mall was part of the “discount mall” trend of the 80s. The discount boutique shops would largely be owned and operated by Deauville when the mall first opened before new operators could be found. The mall would trade a bit of glamour and name-brands for low prices and the ability to stay open on Sunday, unlike many other discounters of the time, under blue laws. However, only after about a year, blue laws would be repealed in Texas, killing off multiple discount malls, including Deauville, which handed their malls over to banks. The Stafford Mall was the first to close. It had only been open for about a year and had seen tenancy quickly drop from just under 3/4th full to less than half in the course of that year. Some of this was due to the repeal of blue laws, but Kmart who partnered with Deauville to locate Designer Depot locations at all of the malls. These stores were Deauville Southwest’s only “real clothing” outside a few boutique retailers.
While the Movie Theater and Hardware Stores were profitable, the rest of the mall was a disaster. After the Bank took over the mall, it quickly changed the name to the “Meadows Center” and began removing the remaining mall tenants. The bank intended to keep the original money-making anchors and bring in new ones to fill in the space left by Designer Depot and the mall corridors in between. Work began to remove the mall interior, leaving a large empty space inside. During this time, the Hardware Store would also close due to mergers, making the location redundant. With only the movie theater still operating, the entire mall was gutted, and a new plan was formulated. Rather than bringing in a few new power center-style anchors, the bank would shop this building to Garden Ridge. The idea was that Garden Ridge had bought two discount malls, which had closed the year before, and successfully reopened them as massive stores. However, the malls Garden Ridge had picked up were about half the size of Deauvilles. So, the bank would court Sam’s Club as a second tenant. The two would split the massive building down the middle, with the movie theater remaining in operation, completely walled off from the other stores. Both stores opened in 1990 and stayed in the old mall for about ten years. Both moved into new buildings around 2000, further down 59, with Garden Ridge landing in Sugar Land. The mall would sit vacant for a bit, with the movie theater shutting down a few years later. A restaurant supply would move into the old Sam’s Space for many years, eventually replaced by a roofing supplier and, finally, a furniture store. It was also around this time the freeway frontage of the building was subdivided as the furniture store wasn’t using all of the former Sam’s space. However, The Garden Ridge side would remain empty for many years until 2012 Texas Direct Auto began using that space as part of their E-Commerce operations, eventually expanding into most of the old Sam’s portion as the company grew. However, since 2022, the spot has seen intermittent periods of non-use. It seems that TDA may finally be done with the space, as it’s listed online as both for lease and for sale. The photos make it hard to believe this Deauville Mall ever stood here.