Situated on the far north side of Dallas at the intersection of I-635 and the Dallas North Tollway, the upscale Galleria Dallas opened as Dallas Galleria in 1982. The large, three level mall was originally anchored by Chicago-based Marshall Field’s on the north end and Saks Fifth Avenue at the south end, with over 150 upscale stores and a 432 room Westin Hotel in tow, and was modeled after the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy.
The idea for Dallas Galleria was born after developer Gerald D. Hines of Hines Interests, who originally developed The Galleria in Houston in 1970, saw the potential in Dallas for a similar mall. He selected a site centrally located in monied far-north Dallas, on a spot one block from an extant super-regional mall, Valley View Center, and several miles north of upscale stalwart NorthPark Center. What was he thinking?
When Dallas Galleria opened, it threw neighboring Valley View Center for a loop, forcing it to add a Bloomingdale’s store to upscale its selection and woo shoppers away from Dallas Galleria. It wasn’t long before the Galleria was expanded and a large Macy’s store opened at the back of the mall near the middle, across from the Westin Hotel, in 1985. Somewhere along the way a large ice rink was also established in the basement, giving the center court an impressive four levels.
The 1990s brought more changes and continued success for Galleria Dallas. A 1995-96 expansion brought a Nordstrom and a 75,000-foot extension of the mall’s north end. Then, in 1997, Marshall Field’s pulled out of Texas and closed their Galleria store; however, it was quickly replaced by 1999. Saks Fifth Avenue moved into the former Field’s location near the mall’s north end, where it remains today, and the south end was converted into a Gap powerhouse, featuring Banana Republic on the first level, Gap on the second level, and Old Navy on the third level. This anchor arrangement and layout remains as of 2010.
In the 2000s, Dallas Galleria was sold, renamed, and renovated. In 2002, original owner Hines Interests sold the mall to a Connecticut-based investor for $300 million. The new owner, UBS Realty LLC, immediately began an extensive renovation on the 20-year-old mall, giving it a modern upscale look, which was complete in 2003. The new owner also renamed the mall from Dallas Galleria to Galleria Dallas, which apparently sounds more upscale or something. In 2009, mall manager General Growth went bankrupt, and their management duties went to Simon, who manages the mall today.
As of 2010, Galleria Dallas continues to dominate the far-north retail landscape due to its positioning niche, location, and upscale cachet of stores. Other malls, both newer and older, exist all around north and far-north Dallas in every direction, yet the Galleria remains an A-tier establishment. Neighbor Valley View Center competed well against Galleria Dallas for well over 20 years before finally succumbing and pitching 2 anchors in 2008. Also, the Galleria is a bright, beautiful place to shop – take a look at the pictures.
I went to Galleria Dallas in January 2009 and took the pictures featured here. Feel free to add your own thoughts and experiences in the comments section.