Northwest Mall July 2018 Update

Well, we’re coming to the end of July, which means it’s finally time for another biannual trip to Northwest Mall, before you read any further not much has happened. However, everything is still there, at present there are no plans for demolition. The last stated plans were to remodel and redevelop the inside with a possible grocer taking the space of a former anchor. I have since been contacted by the group wishing to purchase and redevelop the land, my update is at the end of this post.

Nothing much has changed with Palais Royal. They are using the former mall entrance as sales floor, as opposed to keeping it open. The exterior plants and grass are all well kept.

I wanted to include a picture to show that not only are the lawns and hedges trimmed, but the edging is even nice!

The stage is still assembled, which you figure they might try to sell if they were completely serious about selling the mall.

Some of the stray items left behind at Thirsty’s former location have been removed.

This cart is the final visible cart in the mall. I’m not sure if the carts have been sold yet. Prior to closing most of the carts were moved to the former Movie Theatre hallway.

The Dryer’s signage remains attached to the building. Sticking my fingers between the glass I could tell that the A/C temperature inside the mall was either higher than Palais Royal or completely off.

Looking down towards the former JC Penny’s entrance you can see that everything in the hallways has been removed. The former movie theater hallway no longer had carts or kiosks in it when it was converted to an emergency exit.

This is the final exterior mall entrance with any access. The movie theater hallway is open to allow access to the emergency exit for the club. However you’re not able to access the rest of the building.

The former Foley’s remains untouched. Even the original F door handles remain attached. You would think that someone might attempt to make off with them, however security seems to primarily patrol this side of the mall.

The 610/290 interchange construction has died down enough that Entrance 7 could easily be reconnected with the feeder. However, it seems highly unlikely this will happen at this point. I truly believe this mall has its days numbered.

This construction lot honestly, may be one of the few things preventing redevelopment. It’s likely that this government acquired contract has some sort of lease stipulation preventing breaking of the lease without a penalty.

The Northwest Mall is open for business along with 3 of the 4 business signs have been removed. These are on the former Macy’s building. The only remaining store from this sign has bene Palais Royal for the past few years.

The former front entrance, or “Entrance A” has been completely covered for a while now, construction dumpsters which were in the service courts have been removed.

Again, all but the Palais Royal Sign has been removed. This was on the former JC Penny’s/Antique Mall building. I wonder why they have never made any attempts to cover the non-existent stores.

Unfortunately, I really think we’ve hit the end of any kind of full mall restoration. We may see retail based redevelopment, if the idea of placing the high speed rail station there pans out. Otherwise we must play the waiting game to see what happens next. If you enjoyed this update check out my past entries on the same topic.

7/24 Update: I was contacted by Michael Moore Regional Vice President of External Affairs for Texas Central Partners (The Company which is building the bullet train between Dallas and Houston) who informed me that Northwest Mall has officially been selected as the location for the Houston Station. He also said “Texas Central has an option on the land and will close after we finish our environmental review by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)”

This will prove to be a fitting use for the old mall. As opposed to another new shopping center they have chosen a unique modern design, which matches the nearby HISD buildings. Mr. Moore also provided a video showing what the proposed station will look like. https://texascentral.sharefile.com/d-s72321f159d842aaa

Laredo Taco Company Greensburg, PA

Laredo Taco Company, is a fast food concept owned by Stripes Convenience Stores. In 2015, Stripes was acquired by Sunoco. Some experimentation was undertaken by Sunoco to help improve their convenience store operations. Outside of Stripes switching to Sunoco brand gasoline there was little change for the  Texas based Stripes customer to notice. However, outside of Texas Sunoco chose to build a new store concept, including co-located Laredo Taco Company locations. Three stores were built throughout the Nashville, TN area. Another was also built in Greensburg, PA which is outside of Pittsburgh. This is the location I was able to get photos of.

This location operates under the A-Plus banner of stores. It is owned by Sunoco, and was completely torn down and rebuilt when the Laredo Taco Company was added. There is exterior signage both permanent featured here, and temporary glass cling advertisements for LTC. There’s also outdoor seating.

The menu has some differences from the Texas version, such as the addition of both bowls, salad bowls…

… including would you believe it “Nachos Grande”!

Taking a look around the inside, the store does not resemble a conventional Stripes location. It borrows more from A-Plus styling and themes. Overall I think it looks nice. A-Plus uses a very basic interpretation of the LTC branding and styling, which looks very modern.

The order kiosk system, while not new to the chain is still in a slow roll out mode. If a store was built more than 6 or 7 years ago, chances are they don’t have kiosks.

 

Now, you may be wondering how this relates to Houston? Well during the end of 2017 Sunoco sold all their convenience store businesses to 7-Eleven who will eventually convert all stores to their own brand. This likely means either a stoppage of new LTC locations or the overall removal of the brand. That’s unfortunate for the brand because it’s solid, and it has something that most other Taquerias lack which is consistency between locations. Everything is the same, and the quality is consistent. However, it’s not necessarily the final sign of death for the stores. As some Stripes locations approximately 200 were sold to a third party who has not indicated any plans to change to 7-Eleven as of yet. So for outside of the Southwest Laredo Taco Company locations, this is probably it for now.

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A Collection of Unusual Eckerd Deisgns

While researching the history of a never opened Houston Eckerd’s Location I stumbled upon a few unsusal Eckerd’s buildings these images were mostly hosted on architectural design websites and risk eventual removal. They have been re-posted here to help preserve unique examples of a completely extinct chain. For the most part these locations all share a very general “Southwest” motif, while retaining as much of classic Eckerd’s design as possible.

This location; Broomfield, CO seems to have never opened as an Eckerd. Town planning documents mention that it was built by Eckerd, but the building has been significantly altered. All Colorado Eckerd locations were acquired by CVS, and closed. This one survives as a Walgreens. Google Streetview

This render may have been purely speculative, but it sure looks nice! I unfortunately don’t have any information on where this was built, or planned to be.

 

While obviously a real photo, I don’t have a location on this. The Developer, Hines stated that this was part of a project designing locations in Arizona, Colorado, and Florida. Based on the foliage and lack of ground cover it makes a strong case for Arizona, however it could also be Colorado.

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The last of Houston’s Toys ‘R Us

Prior to Toys ‘R Us closing I took a day to drive to the locations closest to me and grab a few pictures.

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Katy Mills Renovation

Katy Mills which has been previously covered in this blog, is undergoing a renovation. Simon who purchased the malls original developer (The Mills Corporation) had not invested much in Katy Mills in terms of upgrades. Individual stores had updated their store fronts, but nothing in common areas.

One of the first things to go was the “Star Family” a common mascot among the Mills malls. My understanding is that the idea was that you and your family were members of the star family, because at Katy Mills you’re the star? Regardless the star family slowly disappeared. They sank into obscurity around the same time Katy Mills removes the Neighborhood sponsors.

The mall is in need of an update. As is evident by the state of maintenance in the mall. This is not the first time I have seen a former Mills mall receiving a refresh that goes to Grapevine Mills which went through this process a few years ago.

It’s likely that many of the unique design features in this mall will be lost. The Katy Field Day theme is being removed from the food court. Which includes restaurants themed to look like lunch kits and a dining area not only the size of a football field but a fully marked one as well.

Business at the mall seems good, especially for the middle of a Monday. Hopefully this renovation helps ensure Katy Mills continued success.

Check out the rest of the photos on my Flickr

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The Pig Stand

The Pig Stand was supposedly the first chain to ever offer, drive-in service. Fort Worth was home to the original location, eventually expanding to Houston by location number 7.

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Kmart Pointe West

I found this image while researching other properties. I figured it would be worth identifying for the sake of prosperity.

This photo is of The Big Kmart at 333 S Mason Rd Katy, TX 77450. It was located where Mason meets I-10. This location is now a Fiesta. The entire building is dedicated to Fiesta, with the exception of the Garden Center which is now a gym. The Fiesta opened in April of 2008.

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Phillip’s 66 Cornerstore

Cornerstore was originally founded as a Subsidiary of Valero Corporately owned gas stations, as a brand to operate their C-Stores under. Eventually Cornerstore would be spun out on their own, and later purchased by Circle-K. Due to the long history CST had with Valero, most stations sold Valero fuel. However, a select few did not.

This was one such example, a Phillip’s 66 Corner Store. Which is located and still operating as of 2018 in Tomball, TX

Read more ›

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Exploring the Abandoned KFC in River Oaks

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The Closing of Luby’s

So Luby’s, like many other Cafeteria chains hailing from the 1950s has experienced many woes over the years. The largest was the bankruptcy that nearly killed the company. I came across a list of locations which closed during the 2003 bankruptcy proceedings. The close date for all Texas locations was March 31, 2003 all locations outside of Texas closed April 3, 2003. The list illustrates the breadth the chain once had reaching from Tennessee to Arizona.

A Luby’s in Nasvhille shortly after closing.
Photo Credit: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/14079152/1501-Gallatin-Pike-North-Madis…/

 

City and State Address
Dallas, TX 2377 Stemmons Trail
Dallas, TX 12230 Forestgate Drive
Greenville, TX 7600 Wesley Street
Sherman, TX 3113 Highway 75 North
San Antonio, TX 4300 Thousand Oaks Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 980 West Pioneer Parkway
McKinney, TX 920 North Central Expressway
Irving, TX 2250 Walnut Hill Lane
Tyler, TX 2829 West Northwest Loop 323
Mesquite, TX 24315 L.B.J. Freeway
Garland, TX 3255 Broadway Boulevard
Arlington, TX 701 North Watson Street
Orange, TX 4040 IH-10 West
Houston, TX 6704 Highway 6 South
Lewisville, TX 2401 South Stemmons Freeway
Fort Smith, AR 6201-A Rogers Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 601 West Bell Road
Tucson, AZ 7140 East Rosewood Street
Mesa, AZ 1404 South Longmore Street
Glendale, AZ 5285 West Bell Road
Oklahoma City, OK 3800 North MacArthur Boulevard
Tulsa, OK 115 East 15th Street South
Tulsa, OK 3140 South Garnett Road
Memphis, TN 5240 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 6705 Winchester Road

 

In addition I also found a shorter list of locations that had closed prior to the March 31, 2003 date.

 

Amarillo, TX (closed first week of March) 2101 South Coulter Drive
El Paso, TX (closed first week of March) 7825 North Mesa Street
Fort Worth, TX (closed March 24) 7624 Grapevine Trail
Albuquerque, NM (closed first week of March) 4710 Montgomery Boulevard
Nashville, TN (closed first week of March) 1501 Gallatin Pike North
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