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RIP, Town and Country Mall

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.

Tiffany and I were at Memorial City Mall this weekend, as it offered a place for her to do a little walking without getting overheated. I was amazed at how nice it looked – the owners had recently spent a ton renovating the place, and it showed. In her opinion, the owners of Town and Country never cared nearly as much as the Memorial City owners did.

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.

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  1. julia says:

    If you have a pool or a lake nearby, swimming is the one and only deal for getting some action for your muscles while not overheating when pregnant.

  2. katy says:

    Actually, there are at least two entrances from the beltway feeder. AND the mall is advertised before the beltway exit from both directions.

    You can also access it from the Town and Country Village to the south. Heck, business in the ‘village’ is booming.

    Still, Town and Country was a great place to take a peaceful walk AND the only safe place to shop on the year’s busiest shopping days. Because NO ONE was there.


  3. Sue says:

    We live pretty close to T&C, but I’ve only been a couple times and haven’t actually been in the mall. Memorial City is very nice to walk in and I like the addition of the fireplace and comfy-looking chairs around it. I walked there some before a hair appointment on Tuesday and was routinely dusted by little old ladies out for their morning powerwalk. It was a little embarassing, but I just kept telling myself I could have walked faster in sneakers.

    I’ll have more incentive to go there when the new Auntie Anne’s Pretzels opens; that’s one of the things I’m most likely to get homesick for. That and a good Philly cheesesteak. If anybody has a suggestion for where I can get a good cheesesteak, I’ll be most happy.

  4. vj says:

    Sue, look for a texadelphia. it’s pretty decent cheesesteak, and a reasonably local chain (austin based).

  5. I work next to the mall and have seen and heard much of the demolition. Click my URL for a photo gallery.

    I remember shopping at the mall and in the adjacent T&C Village 20 years ago when my son who will be 20 this year was yet to be born. There were many great baby and child stores in the area.

    What ruined the area IMHO was the SH Tollway construction in the late 80’s. When Beltway 8 was just a divided road with a wide esplanade, the area was much more attractive.

    Kind of makes me feel old seeing it get torn down.