Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today, we’re taking a final look for the year at the former Pasadena Town Square Mall. These days known as Marcoplaza Mall, after an ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to rebrand the mall. To recap a small amount of a complex history, Pasadena Town Square took years to come to fruition. The mall was anchored by a Foley’s that was freestanding for years. While the mall was planned alongside the department store, competition from smaller shopping centers, including a smaller now demolished mall on Spencer Highway, pushed construction of Pasadena Town Square Mall back years. PTS has always been an odd duck of Houston malls. Unlike nearly every other mall in Houston, this one is nowhere near a freeway or highway. As well, this shopping center was built on the site of a former subdivision, causing further strife in the community. Plans for the mall were also scaled back during construction only to build a single floor and a reduction of the number of potential anchors. While Pasadena Town Square was popular when it finally opened 1982, it was bordered by other malls. Specifically, Almeda and Baybrook, on paper Almeda and PTS were close competitors, and Baybrook far outsized both. In reality, though, the lack of a Foley’s at Baybrook drove dedicated traffic to the other smaller malls. In the late 80s, an expansion and remodeling of Baybrook Mall, which brought Foley’s to the property, would start a slow decline of Pasadena Town Square Mall.
PTS’s first big slip was the late 2000s loss of the adjacent Mervyn’s and later Steve & Barry’s. While not officially attached to the mall, the lack of a replacement for many years hampered progress. Dillard’s closed in 2007, bringing the anchor count back down to three after Sears had raised it to four in 1997. It was clear that this was a misstep for the mall, and during that time the earliest interior vacancies would begin to propagate. Macy’s, on the other hand, would make it until 2017. The store likely cost little to operate but was left in a state of sad neglect for years. After Macy’s closure, lots of in-line tenants made quick exits, leading to about a third of the mall being closed off for good. While renovations to the mall helped to bring in some Hispanic-oriented businesses temporarily, the continued loss of anchors prevented any meaningful change. In 2020, Palais Royal closed as part of their bankruptcy, and shortly after, in 2021, Sears closed, although it would briefly reopen as a weird attempt at a Hometown Store that only lasted a few months. Without anchors for the past two years, nearly every “regular” business in the mall has closed. As of 2023, the operating businesses are a Bridal Shop, a Church, and a few storefronts that are closed but can “open upon request.” At this point, Pasadena Town Square seems to be winning the dead mall race. West Oaks is easily second thanks to three operating anchors, although there do not appear to be any regularly operating in-line retailers, and Greenspoint is probably doing the best of all, although its time seems to be the most limited. Only time will tell what will happen to Pasadena Town Square Mall.