Music City Mall; Odessa, Texas

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Odessa, Texas, home to nearly 100,000 residents, is located in a flat, dry area of West Texas, known for ranching and oil.  Along with its neighbor directly to the east, Midland, Odessa shares a sub-region of West Texas known as the Permian Basin, a mostly flat area of plains, rich in both petroleum deposits and the boom-to-bust-to-boom economy that comes with it.

Today, around 266,000 people live in the Midland-Odessa Metropolitan Area.  Isolated from other major cities in Texas, folks in the region must travel between four and five hours to reach either El Paso to the west, or the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the east.  Other, smaller regional hubs are a bit closer:  San Angelo, Lubbock, and Abilene, Texas, are all about two hours away.

music-city-mall-18Two super-regional malls exist in Midland and Odessa today: Odessa’s Music City Mall and Midland’s Midland Park Mall.  Much like Midland and Odessa are twin cities, their malls also share similarities. Both malls offer Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Sears, both opened in 1980, and both malls weren’t the first in their respective city.

Music City Mall, located on the northeast side of Odessa, along Highway 191 and kitty-corner to the University of Texas – Permian Basin, opened in 1980 as Permian Mall. Just as Midland’s Midland Park Mall wasn’t the first mall in Midland, Permian Mall wasn’t Odessa’s first enclosed mall.  The much smaller Winwood Mall, located a few hundred feet to the west, predated it by several years. Winwood opened in 1973 and was anchored by a movie theatre, Woolco, Montgomery Ward and JCPenney, the latter of which moved to Permian Mall when it opened.  An undated photo of an entrance of Winwood Mall is located here.  Is this photo the interior of Winwood Mall? (It’s not labeled.) Today, Winwood Mall is called Winwood Town Center, and has been transformed from enclosed mall into a row of both Big Box and smaller stores in typical strip-mall fashion.  Major retailers at today’s Winwood Town Center include Texas-based HEB (grocery), Ross Dress For Less, Michaels, Hastings, and Target.  When did the original Winwood close?  When was it demolished?

At some point, Permian Mall was renamed Music City Mall to capitalize on the fact that it houses three stages for live entertainment, which takes place mostly during weekends.  In terms of size and layout, Music City Mall has 750,000 square-feet of retail space on one level, and the layout of the mall is a basic zig-zag with anchors at each turn.  Current anchors include JCPenney, Dillards, Burlington Coat Factory, and Sears, as well as an 11-screen movie theater.  Burlington Coat Factory is somewhat new to the Music City scene, replacing a Mervyn’s that closed in the 2000s.

Music City Mall, while slightly larger than Midland’s Midland Park Mall, has not enjoyed the same level of success, nor does it have the same caliber of in-line stores.  In addition to several notable vacancies, one wing of Music City Mall is flanked by a local television station.  The remainer of the 750,000 square-foot mall contains a high number of local stores versus national chains, which is generally undesirable in regional malls today.  In contrast, Midland Park Mall has many typical national chains such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale, American Eagle, and Buckle.  However, Music City Mall does have the corner on live performance venues as well as the only ice rink facility within a 300-mile radius.  In addition, Music City Mall also has a food court; yet, much like the rest of the mall, the food court contains many local vendors instead of national chain food outlets.

Also unique to Music City Mall is this somewhat large display of the Bible’s Ten Commandments, seen here in 2009:


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An audience of chairs was placed facing the Ten Commandments, inviting mall patrons to sit and relax while viewing the display, which was roped off so people can’t get too close.  Is it still there?  Is this a permanent fixture of the mall, or was it some sort of temporary exhibition?  I’ve never seen anything like it in any other mall, and it was interesting to say the least.  It sort of reminds me of the praying hands sculpture at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, in terms of religious public art. I think that’s what they were going for, at least?

I visited Music City Mall in November 2009 and took the pictures featured on this page.  Please feel free to leave any comments or observations you have, and help us fill in the retail history of Midland and Odessa.

Pictures from November 2009:

 

 

 

14 Responses to “Music City Mall; Odessa, Texas”

  1. As of April, this is the only mall in the state with a full network TV station inside. From 2000 to two months ago, KBTV in Beaumont (an NBC affiliate then, now a Fox outlet) was based out of Parkdale Mall.

    The move out in that case was likely precipitated when the station was sold to a shell company for the owner of the market’s CBS affiliate.

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  2. Oh too bad, I was in that mall in Beaumont a few months ago and it’s a neat sprawling mall. I kind of enjoy quirky things in malls such as live TV studios.

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  3. Ah, Parkdale Mall’s TV station is gone? Too bad. I especially liked that mall before it renovated the exterior c. 2006.

    The TV station in the mall thing kind of reminds me of Manor East Mall’s radio station. I wrote something on the subject some months back (I wrote the original DeadMalls.com article some years before, but that was long before what I now know).

    Seriously, though, this is awesome. Ice rink, local stores, all sorts of neat things. Reminds me back of Labelscar’s old days, and older times of retail, too (back when it looked like Six Flags Mall still had a fighting chance, for instance–or Palm Beach Mall, Rolling Acres Mall, Northwest Plaza, Summit Place Mall, and the like for that matter)

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  4. Palasades Center in West Nyack New York had a TV studio for about two years. It was for a regional cable station RNN-TV, but it was removed in the early 2000′s.

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  5. Ironically, the Burke’s was a Bealls Texas originally.

    Winwood never had JCPenney; the other anchor was Bealls. The mall was torn down in 1997. H-E-B occupies the old Woolco, which was later a Walmart.

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  6. I’m so glad that you’re back! I love this site.

    I hope the Burlington’s Coat Factory addition is not a jinx ;). It seems to have doomed other malls.

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  7. Addendum,

    I didn’t realize the mall wasn’t completely torn down until 1997. Again, in my prior post, my family moved away when I was in elementary school. I WILL SAY, except for – perhaps Walmart at the west end, Montgomery Wards at the east end – defunct in 2000….and the UA Theatre next to it), the mall was D-E-A-D(!) by the mid 1980s. I do NOT say this negatively rather factually (we used to travel to take a LOT of vacations b/t TX-NM-AZ & CA) when I was a kid stopping off in Odessa…memory serves well! M.W. WAS still barely alive in 2000 before it abruptly closed and was demolished…Bobby P IS right, J.C. Penny’s never resided there…it was Bealls. I lived there for a brief period in 2000-1 before moving on to Houston then back to Dallas.

    Humorously enough, that Walmart was one of those “original” smaller Walmarts as I remember it. Of course there’s 4 Super Walmarts here now (SOURCE: http://www.walmart.com/storeLocator/ca_storefinder_results.do?serviceName=&rx_title=com.wm.www.apps.storelocator.page.serviceLink.title.default&rx_dest=%2Findex.gsp&sfrecords=50&sfsearch_single_line_address=79765 ) with plans to build another I’m sure (just like the HEB’s (www.heb.com), they – like WM -are packed CONSTANTLY!).

    One humorous NOTE (although I HONESTLY like Midland/Odessa, I’m always amused each time I visit and run into those FEW people who see the distance b/t the cities as significant or otherwise! I suppose it’s becoming like Round Rock and Austin [already] IS…you cannot tell where one begins and one ends. There are 3 Corridors that join these 2 cities: I-20, Business 20 (formerly known as Hwy 80) and Hwy 191…the latter being where ALL the 2 cities are REALLY GROWING TOGETHER! There’s a Best Buy (actually 4 of them here; 2 full size & 2 mobile stores in each respective mall) in Odessa @ (approx Hwy 191 and Billy Hext Road. The distance b/t it and Midland City limits is LESS THAN 9 miles with an International Airport in b/t and a plethora or business which seems to sprout up like weeds (including the new outdoor mall and, the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center for the Arts (www.wagnernoel.com)* and there are those that still consider THIS distance! NO OFFENSE to ANY of you but I used to commute from Skillman/I-635 to I-35E to Lewisville to Verizon headquarters 2 hours ROUNDTRIP JUST to go to work; I’d have killed for…i”ll be generous, 10 miles each way to work! My best guess, you won’t be able to tell where Odessa end and Midland begins in 7 years at this rate of growth! I KNOW the [road] infrastructure isn’t in place – and I DO sympathize with you (I grew up as a teen in Austin in the 1990s when the growth exploded and, it too, was NOT ready…but give it time…it could always be worse. :-)

    * A side note: For a community ) albeit with a LOT of old money, I periodically check the calendar and am often surprised the performers they lure here for a community of this size (Rod Stewart inaugurated the opening of this world-class center of which I had the luxury to see the symphony on a visit earlier this year): http://www.wagnernoel.com/photo_gallery.php (click WAGNER NOËL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER picture and GRAND GALA)

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  8. This mall looks like it’ll crash and burn someday, which I hope it won’t, but it looks like it.

    I, on the other hand, are very shocked that Express is in this mall, and not other stores like American Eagle, Gap or Maurices. And by the way of the pic, it looks like it’s either recently opened or has been remodeled, because it doesn’t have the older storefront…someone help me out here! Pictures of the Express would be nice, please. Thank you!

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  9. Re: the 10 commandments statue: Welcome to the south!!

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  10. The Ten Commandments are still there. I assume it’s most certainly permanent.
    Otherwise, Music City has seen some success in luring restaurants to fill pad sites in its outer parking lots. Golden Corral, Cheddar’s, Popeye’s and Genghis Grill have all recently opened. The Express does seem to be an anomaly as it is generally considered that neighboring Midland Park is the more upscale of the two malls. I believe every other national chain at Music City can be found at Midland Park, though. (With the exceptions of Burlington and Burke’s Outlet, neither of which I would expect are making Simon cry about not having at Midland Park.)

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  11. @Caldor, When are you going to post more malls from Massachusetts? I feel the South Shore Plaza in Braintree and Square One Mall on ROute 1 in Saugus deserve spots on this site, if I do say so myself.

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  12. I hope that the ten commandment stone does not get taken down by a butt heart atheist because that ruins it for the rest of us that will enjoy looking at the stone.

    Much like those who pee on a picture of Jesus calling it *art* in which nobody stood up to freaks who did that.

    Yes that really did happen at a public art display.

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  13. Is this blog as dead as the malls you present here? If so, that’s sad. I hope one day this place gets updated again. :(

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    Max Reply:

    I’m sorry for my rudeness, but I hope that the Webmasters are alright. I completely understand why they are too busy to update their site. Thank you for hundreds of excellent articles.

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