Say goodbye to Town and Country Mall.
The long-awaited demise of Town & Country Mall became a reality on Wednesday for the few tenants still left operating in the 20-year-old property, which never seemed to hit its stride.
The mall was quietly sold to a developer last week, and store owners received notification Wednesday afternoon that they would have to vacate the property by July 31.
The enclosed shopping center, at the southeast corner of the Katy Freeway and Beltway 8, will be demolished and redeveloped as part of the new owner's sweeping plan to revive the ailing west Houston property.
The property's new owner has revealed little about its future vision for the site, which spans some 35 acres.
"We are studying projects around the country to make sure we bring the very best mixed-use lifestyle development to Houston and the Memorial area," said Mark Anawaty, executive vice president for Midway.
Real estate sources say the new development could include a combination of high-density housing and new retail stores.
The sale to Midway included the Neiman Marcus department store, which was the last remaining mall tenant that owned its own real estate.
Neiman's signed a long-term lease with the new owner and has no plans to move, said Thomas Wensinger, general manager for the Town & Country store.
"We're meeting with people in Dallas to talk about fall plans," he said. "To us, it is business as usual."
Officials from Midway said the mall's demise opens up an opportunity for a long-awaited rebirth.
Apart from the nearly vacant mall, most of the surrounding development is thriving.
Town & Country Village, an adjacent outdoor shopping center, offers a more accurate picture of the area's potential, Anawaty said.
"This area's purchasing power is undeniable," he said.
Located near the high-end Memorial neighborhood, the three-level property opened in 1983, but never took off.
Town & Country has suffered from poor visibility and access because it is set back from the access road along Interstate 10, making it harder to see and to get to.
It deteriorated further amid heavy competition, namely nearby Memorial City Mall, which was recently renovated.
It's also hard to overstate the inaccessibility of T&C. There's essentially one entrance point, from the service road on I-10. It's not well marked, and it's real easy to drive past. Even though T&C is adjacent to Beltway 8, there's no entrance to it from there. That's a cardinal sin in Houston. In a way, it's amazing the place has lasted this long. We'll see what happens next.
UPDATE: In the comments, Katy notes there are other entrances to T&C Mall, including from the Beltway, and there is signage to indicate those entrances. Obviously, I just never noticed. My bad.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 03, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack