The only other big change since I first posted this is Macy's closed. JCPenney is still open but even during Christmas one of its main exterior entrances was closed. The mall is clearly trying to fill space with whatever they can get, and as a result, it always looks spotty. One of their "wins" in recent years was a store called Nerdvana which sells vintage toys and has a backroom of arcade games (have to pay to get in for unlimited play), but many of them aren't even original machines, just "MAME machines". There's also a store called "Perfume X" with just a painted-on name...no cut-out letters or lighting.pseudo3d wrote: ↑November 25th, 2020, 12:18 pm As for me, the local mall is Post Oak Mall, which has seen better days. It opened in 1982 with a second phase in 1985, and when it was complete it had Foley's, Bealls (TX), Sears, JCPenney, Dillard's, and Wilson's. None of the anchors were particularly big, the Foley's being the biggest (about 100k sq. ft. on two levels), basically the mall was a scaled-down version of the larger malls in Houston.
Later on, the Foley's became Macy's, the Wilson's became Service Merchandise before it closed in 1999 and became a "split anchor" Dillard's, and of course Sears closed a few years ago. The slide I guess started 15 years ago when a block of stores between Sears and Dillard's became Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, and rent started to increase to the point where smaller stores fled to nearby shopping centers. Also during this time, Chuck E. Cheese moved into a space into the front of the mall where a restaurant was, but didn't connect to the mall proper, so it's a ghost town as soon as you walk in.
The food court is also pretty sad with maybe about four or five places to eat and a smoothie shop (down from over a dozen).
Nowadays, the mall is a mish-mash of the few national retailers that still manage to stick around (Bath & Body Works, etc.), stores that respond to the demographic shifts that the mall has faced (a Melrose store that took up another block of stores), stores that take up a lot of space (H&M, Shoe Dept. Encore which took the former S&B's, aforementioned Melrose), and a bunch of local stores that don't stick around for very long. Even with the "big stores", the mall is maybe 85% full in terms of storefronts.
The anchors are a disaster. Macy's converted most of their upper level into the Backstage area, which is usually a mess, the JCPenney is outdated with mirrored columns and dirty, falling-apart dressing rooms, the Sears closed and partially converted to Conn's HomePlus (not sure if it opens to the inside), and the Bealls became Gordmans and went out of business shortly afterward.
Obviously there's some inherent problems, like aforementioned demographic shifts but also the fact that was very isolated. A shopping center was built next to it (but the mall deliberately blocked connections to it) early on and for years it struggled after losing its main tenant (a Weingarten store, which lasted all of three months) until it finally managed to gain a foothold with TJMaxx, Hobby Lobby, and Toys R Us. On the other side of the highway is a Sam's Club and a movie theater, but they don't really affect the mall that much.
Even last Christmas, the mall directories were out of date (from 2020, including "coming soon" and still having Gordmans), and the Christmas crowds, even accounting for COVID, were abysmal. There's rumors that some zoning laws that prevented the mall from adding non-retail tenants (call centers, office space, etc.) were put in place years ago and are considering to be repealed as Macy's, Gordmans, and half of Sears is vacant.
I'm not sure what the long-term "solution", if any, there is, the best thing the mall could do right now (besides use some underutilized space in the front to get an A-tier restaurant) is try to score a coup by attracting some wanted retailer (like Trader Joe's or Apple) to the center.