Northwest Mall

Northwest Mall opened on October 24th, 1968 in Houston, Texas. Included in the opening day festivities were a county judge, the mayor, President of Palais Royal, and Chairman of the Board of Foley’s. If you think that’s already an eclectic mix, I forgot to mention there was also a Presbyterian Priest who preformed an invocation, and the John H. Reagan Senior High School Band.

Cutting the ribbon at Northwest Mall Source: Houston Post, H.M.R.C. Collection

This grand opening scene may have been somewhat familiar to a few in attendance, as the entire show was essentially a repeat of the grand opening ceremony for Almeda Mall which took place on October 10th, 1968. Northwest and Almeda Malls were considered pioneering at the time of their construction. The malls were designed at the same time, using the essentially identical plans. The interiors were constructed using the latest design techniques. It was definitely a step-up from the boring straight line malls of the late 50s.

This is looking from the Foley’s towards the center court. Source: Houston Metropolitan Research Center

The modern design, was marked with a wide variety of stores. From full line department stores to five and dimes, the mall appealed to many different consumers. The mall experienced its best years throughout the 70s and early 80s. Northwest and Almeda were never destination malls, meaning that people didn’t tend to drive from elsewhere to visit them. However, they filled an important role as regional malls serving both the Northwest and Almeda areas.

Throughout the 1990s Northwest Mall began to lose tenants. For the most part this was due to a decrease in the value of the area surrounding Northwest Mall. What had once been the suburban edge of down, quickly became increasingly urban and further from the edge of Houston. Spaces were eventually leased again, but the damage was done. Chains began to leave the mall, being replaced by less stable independent stores. This began the slow demise of Northwest Mall. The leasing issues aside, the 2000s brought a bevy of new issues to Northwest Mall. Freeway construction at the I-10 and 610 interchange meant that many shoppers who had come from South of the mall now faced major difficulties in getting where they were going. This decrease in traffic, combined with lowering property values led JC Penney to close their store in 2000. Macy’s would follow suit in 2008, although they blamed it on Hurricane Ike.

In their dash to leave, Macy’s left lots behind including the original “F” door handles.

As the anchor stores dropped, leaving only the smaller Palais Royal at Northwest Mall, the final remaining chain stores began to flee Northwest Mall. In its final years Northwest Mall was notorious for its high vacancy rate, high number of independent stores, and lack of shoppers. This really did become an example of a dead mall. An antique center moved into the JC Penney Shop after 10 years of vacancy. This did bring a small amount of foot traffic back into the mall, and helped to keep Palais Royal operational. Despite this, in 2017 Levcor decided to close the interior of the mall. At the time Levcor claimed it was to remodel the mall, some demolition and construction did take place. Unfortunately the project seemed to be abandoned by the end of 2017.

Once the main entrance, the corridor leading to the food court is now boarded up.

Northwest Mall has sat shuttered and vacant since then. Waiting for its next mission, which at this point may be as a high speed rail station. If you would like to see more recent photos of the mall check them out at the link below.

What’s been going on at Northwest Mall


  1. My mom used to work up at the mall she worked at the Woolworths starting in 1973 she worked there throughout the ’70s can’t remember when she quit and then went to work at Exxon Exxon building was close by. My dad worked at the nearby Brook hollow to or something close to the driver’s license place. When I was about 18 I really enjoyed Criss crossing the ball during the time I was 18 and 19 I had a little money to spend so I loved going up there and going back and forth Foley’s was there and JCPenney’s all the old anchor stores were still there it was 76 then and 75 and 77. I could not recognize anything in the video except right at the end when they turn the corner there and I saw the phones on the wall I knew that was past JCPenney’s that’s down close to where my mom worked and where h&h music used to be anyways I made phone calls from those phones before that was the only time I knew where I was at. I miss my mom and dad they’re passed away now especially dad my two girlfriends are passed away that I had the boyfriend I had is still alive but he doesn’t talk to me anymore that’s what I miss about it were friends and family we lived in the Afton village apartments back then quite a nice apartment building but the section we lived in was torn down now only one section of Afton village still remains it’s called something else there at the corner by the dairy Queen it’s funny what things managed to stay and things you think would still be there are gone.

  2. I used to love shopping at Northwest Mall in the 70s and 80s that brings back memories it was really nice then

  3. I have fond memories of this mall.As a 2000s kid a lot of fun times, but yet i wish i can see the inside of that mall again just 1 more time

  4. i found my way in there a few days ago. kind of insane how different it looked from the linked video. let me know if you want to see pictures 🙂

    1. I would want to see the pictures you have I used to love going there and how did you end up finding your way in ?

  5. Northwest Mall had the best Santa Claus in the early 2000s. He was a legit older guy with a real beard, a career Santa. My daughter was terrified every time

  6. Drove past it the the other day and the Foley’s door handles are still there. Would love to get one of those!

    1. As of 2020 it’s still owned by Levcor. I know there has been interest from the Texas Central High Speed Rail Project in purchasing the land to use as a station.