San Jacinto Mall; Baytown, Texas

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

Baytown, Texas is a large working-class suburb of about 70,000 people about 20 miles east of Houston. Baytown’s location on Galveston Bay has positioned it for industrial growth throughout the last few decades, mostly in oil and steel. Baytown is home to one 1.2 million square foot mall located at I-10 and Garth Road.

Opened in 1981, San Jacinto Mall is one of two major malls for the area east of Houston, the other being Pasadena Town Square in Pasadena. Both malls have recently fallen victim to the problems ranging from outdated to competition from other Houston-area malls. As a result, vacancy rate at San Jacinto Mall has skyrocketed and, despite several plans for renovation, the mall looks today largely as it did when it opened in 1981.

When it opened, San Jacinto Mall was a modern showplace containing 175 stores and an impressively themed two-level food court and entertainment area in the middle of the mall. The design of San Jacinto Mall is much like two overlapping “L”, with a square in the middle bounded by some of the anchors and the food court. In the 1980s, anchor stores included Service Merchandise, Mervyn’s, JCPenney, Sears, Beall’s, Palais Royal, Foley’s, and Montgomery Ward. Critics balked at such a large center, arguing that Baytown was not large enough to support such a development. And in the end they were right, but more on that in a bit.

san-jacinto-mall-19.jpg San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

The decor is what makes San Jacinto Mall an incredible relic. In today’s modern retailing world, shiny marble-like tiles, whitewashed walls, and frequent kiosks complement bright lights, soft edges and pewter fixtures, while sections of comfy chairs and area rugs are surrounded by unassuming planters. This is a stark contrast to mall decor of the 1970s and early 1980s, where earthen tones, woods, dark tiles, fountains and trees helped to create an artificial ‘inside’ world to woo shoppers away from the actual outside world of the downtowns the malls helped replace. In creating the inside mall space to mirror nature and the outside world, developers sought to give shoppers a similar, yet fake, environment for their escapist activities. They don’t do this today, giving shoppers a pristine environment to escape into the hedonistic world of shopping, actually favoring a balance toward capitalism instead of aesthetics in giving up the fountains and trees to provide kiosks in order to maximize profit.

San Jacinto Mall pylon in Baytown, TXI view this shift as mostly negative. Early mall developers such as Victor Gruen sought to provide awe-inspiring enclosed environments for the activity of shopping, giving rise to amazingly complex worlds complete with spectacular fountains, conversation pits, sculpture gardens, center stages, and even bird cages. These older centers provided more than a vapid utility, they were community-building places, significant in their own rite as more than just places to go and spend a buck. Sure, that was the reason you were there, but they felt less soulless. San Jacinto Mall has received little more than a few coats of paint during the past quarter century, and the decor is like stepping into a time machine back to this era. The wooden facades of the former Service Merchandise and former Walgreens complement the dark floors and instead of a few small ceramic planters, there are entire garden areas, some with full-sized trees. The high ceilings have a row of giant windows on one side, allowing a constant flow of natural light into the enclosed space, while the other side is curiously flanked with a continuous, arched mural of the daytime sky. Along the sky mural are humorous curiosities painted in, such as puffy clouds, jets with long contrails and even a roving gang of UFO ships, Space Invaders style. Mirrors and fountains are also not in short supply here.

Speaking of Atari, the food court and entertainment area near the middle of the mall is also worth noting. Between the first and second levels here, the ceiling has an early-80s latticework design made with slender metal beams, and the food court’s sign looks like it belongs on the cover for an early 80s video game. This area is the only two-level area of the mall outside the anchor stores, and the entertainment area on top features a full-sized carousel, playground and a few benches but oddly little else occupies the second level.

San Jacinto Mall directory in Baytown, TXToday, San Jacinto Mall is like several malls in the Houston area with an abundance of stores near the central pivot points of the mall and a contrast of abandonment on the far wings. Anchor woes came in 2001 as Montgomery Ward and Service Merchandise closed amid the shutting of those chains; Bealls also closed the same year. In 2006, Mervyns departed the mall as they left the Houston area entirely. So, as you can see, the loss of anchors is mostly not the mall’s fault, but the loss of indoor stores is. Baytown is not large enough to support this development, and articles we’ve found suggest Baytowners (Baytownies? Whatever.) shop at the more successful Houston-area malls like the Houston Galleria and even clear across the metro area 50 miles away at Katy Mills. The mall today houses about 60 stores, and a popular cinema. At only one-third capacity, many of these stores are near the middle of the mall, and several wings are almost completely dead. Most notably, the Mervyn’s/Service Merchandise corridor and the Macy’s/Palais Royal corridor are faltering.

As a result of these problems, you can bet changes are in the works for San Jacinto Mall. The former Montgomery Ward wing, which was possibly the worst-off for the longest time, has now been closed and will soon be demolished. In its place, a “lifestyle” wing will be built, with little details released yet. If it doesn’t pump some vigor back into the mall, you can surely bet that large portions if not entire mall will be abandoned in few more years.

Our exclusive pictures of San Jacinto Mall were taken in April 2007. Add some of your own stories or comments about this truly interesting relic.

Food court area:

San Jacinto Mall food court in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall food court in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall food court in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall food court in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall food court in Baytown, TX

Outdoor shots:

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

More indoor shots:

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall Macys in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX knows your secrets San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall former Service Merchandise in Baytown, TX San Jacinto Mall in Baytown, TX

San Jacinto Mall former Mervyn's in Baytown, TX

60 Responses to “San Jacinto Mall; Baytown, Texas”

  1. Looks like the only thing that’s bustlin in this mall is the food court (of course). I don’t see how a lifestyle wing is going to invigorate the mall, if you cant’t get more stores to come inside the mall then how is it any easier to get stores on a strip mall wing?

    Oh and I agree about the mall decor change in most malls, it’s uniform and boring. The only kind of malls that have fountains and/or tall trees are Galleria-type or up-scale malls.

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    Alex Andre Reply:

    I agree, also at gets really hot and how will a strip mall make it better they should just close of the rest of the except the foodcourt and cinema. The cinema is gross and needs to be remodled and the food court needs to be returned to the way it used to be; without stupid colors and poorly painted stars. The white walls and black railings were nice. Why did they even think about doing that?

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    La La Martinez Reply:

    @Alex Andre,
    look Chick i love that mall it were all the kids can hang out! it like a playground for us! kay!

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  2. I am sorry to see this mall starting to faulter. I used to visit it often on my trips back home to Louisiana, this was back in the mid 90′s when I lived in the Westchase area and had to take I 10 East to leave the Houston area. Since I have moved to the far north side I have not been to this mall since 1996. Last time I visited, there was still a Sam Goody or Camelot music and I had shopped at the Service Merchandise. Its sad to see a lot of classic malls going away. But since we have had nothing but problems with Wal Mart stealing customers, no wonder why we are loosing out.

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  3. Too many anchors spoil the mall?

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  4. Wow! The lattice work there with the skylights TOTALLY remind me of The Mall in Columbia (Columbia, MD). They are quite similar, especially with the lattice/skylight combinations. I wonder if both malls had the same designer–it wouldn’t surprise me…

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  5. Too bad to see this mall is definately hurting. It’s a shame it is, since it seems like a really nice mall that at one time, was definately more successful. At least though, it hasn’t completely died out as a mall(unlike some other malls that’ve previously been profiled here, and are actually dying, since this one just seems to be struggling, but not dead), and hopefully, the new lifestyle wing being built in place of the Montgomery Ward wing of the mall can give this mall some new life.

    I like the skylights, and the paintings of the sky that can be seen in the Macy’s/Foley’s wing of this mall. Not to mention of course, the fountains that are still around in this mall, too. :)

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  6. …And of course, how could I forget mentioning how nice the food court area of this mall looks? (and not surprisingly, the main part of the mall, besides the movie theaters, that thrive).

    How recent is the multiplex attached to this mall? It seems like it was added in very recent years, to me.

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  7. When Beall’s leaves your mall, you have major issues. I say this since Beall’s is still in two of the deadest malls I know of (Northcross Mall in Austin and Osceola Square Mall outside of Orlando).

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  8. Maybe this is what you’re describing as them already doing, but here’s my suggestion: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/BRice16/SanJacinto.jpg

    Basically, thru the magicof photoshop, I demolished the entire wings that are anchorless and would create two grand entrances where those wings once stood. I’m assuming there are a few open store in those wings that could be moved to the main corridor to fill empty spaces there. If you could do that as part of a grand remodel and get some big boxes or top-level resturants to open outside, I think you’d have something.

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  9. Yes, that is exactly what they’re doing. Viva photoshop.

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  10. Love this mall, it’s huge! Too bad it’s faltering. The food court does seem lively, including it’s art work, a la Partridge Family bus.
    Demolishing a part of it will probably work to its advantage. Bringing in some big box retailers and creating a wing for deviant retail lifestyles ;)
    I hope it lives on!
    Scott

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  11. I’ve been to that mall quite a few times. It’s unbelievable that it would be faltering like that – it’s the only major mall on that side of the metro area! – and it’s even more unbelievable that people would rather drive through the horrendous Houston traffic to shop at the Galleria or Katy Mills. Marketing must’ve dropped the ball, that’s the only explanation I can think of.

    Anyway, my latest blog is about the decline of the mall… click on my name and check it out.

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  12. Well, i was little when the mall was actually worth going to and now that i am a teenager and the mall is only a joke and its sad to how much it has changed, well they need to get the more popular stores,and i’m pretty sure that if they get teen stores people will go and not waste all their parents gas going to the houston malls

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  13. Whatever they do they better NOT remove those fountains!!!

    Thats one of the Nicest looking Macy’s stores I’ve seen.

    You know when a malls in trouble once they start hosting a mall-walkers events.

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  14. @ Chris: Texas Bealls and Florida Bealls are different. And yes, they are in depressed areas, such as El Centro Mall, and the former Manor East Mall in Bryan, Texas (now its a strip mall)

    @ Mark: Hey! Altamonte Mall in Florida when it was renovating in 2003, (and we mean by sprucing up the interior, expanding the foodcourt, adding a theater and Barnes & Noble), it explained in the mall directory how to walk a mile inside the mall!

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  15. Ummm….I opened this mall all the way back when. I worked at Sears, and later at Penneys.

    The food court second tier opened sometime around 1987…it did not open that way.

    It’s been in decline since about 1988.

    The larger anchors here have never done anything to update the stores, and I beg to differ, but this Foley’s/Macy’s is not a showplace….It has not been touched since 1985.

    This Foley’s was #33 of thier 34 stores when I worked for Foley’s corporate. They always got the crap no one else wanted.It’s a wonder they do enough volume to pay the electrical bills.

    Honestly….Baytonians are kinda thick, dumb, and numb, and think nothing of packin’ the kids into the ol’ Ford 250 Extenda-mega-monster Cab-o-liner for a day of shopping in Katy…..some 40 miles away.

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  16. Here’s my idea for a San Jacinto revamp. It adds Lowe’s, Super Target, LL Bean, a bigbox bookstore, and other stuff.

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  17. Wow!!!!! What a huge mall!!!! Is there a Chick-Fil-A? and Macy’s? Even a nearby Wal-Mart, which should move into the mall in one of those anchor-less wings and that would spice it up! Next time am in Texas, I’ll visit this mall!

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  18. If Katy Mills and Houston Galleria are “big hits” with the “thick, dumb, and numb” Baytonians, San Jacinto could begin a revamp to appeal to that.

    First, add a second story. Then completely redo the interior. Turn the Montgomery Ward into a hypermarket, and Service Merchandise into a large Old Navy. Then, turn Mervyns into a Dillard’s, and the Bealls into maybe a Christmas Tree Shops or a big-box bookstore. Congratulations, the mall is completely new!

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  19. How far is this from I-45? I might visit it if I go to Galveston.

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  20. Baytown is nowhere near I-45 and galveston; it’s about 20 miles east of downtown houston along I-10.

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  21. Hopefully, the “lifestyle” addition won’t be a badly-made strip mall that has some vague “old-fashioned” themes, a la Clifton Park Center. Maybe it will be a well-done lifestyle center, as there have been good ones. Perhaps adding some office or townhomes.

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  22. I remember going to this mall as a little girl. There are/were??? some gigantic and unusual mobiles that hung throughout the mall. I saw a show (or read a book- sorry bad memory) where the artist of those mobiles was featured.

    It is depressing to go through this mall now – so empty and quiet. All the possible anchor stores mentioned above already have stores down the street and sap even more business from the mall.

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  23. We just need a better mall.

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  24. and we need a starbucks inside of the mall

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  25. My Father owned the construction company that built this mall. I went diving for quarters in one of those fountains

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  26. An ice skating rink would be great in the mall

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  27. I have lived in Baytown all my life. It’s time to raze this mall and build a nice strip center there.

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  28. i think they should put an ice skating rink or just a skating rink like castle fun center

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  29. they need to get the following stores:

    Hollister
    Aeropostale
    American Eagle
    Abercrombie

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    Leona Reply:

    @james,
    I have to tottaly agree on these stores if we go to the mall it’s to eat lunch and see a movie and thats it because there is really nothing worth walking threw it for my teen loves the stores you listed so i always take him 45 min away we live in mont belvieu and my kids only like those name brands and so do all the teens in baytown school,dayton schools and barbers hill schools I know the mall would come back with a total face lift and good up dated stores

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  30. thats a good point they need the ice skating rink and Hollister, Aeropostale, American Eagle, and Abercrombie

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  31. Everyone’s probably going to Baybrook for their shopping… I doubt they’d go clear across town to the Galleria or Katy Mills, what with the traffic and the gas prices.

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    Leona Reply:

    @Thomas,
    Yes everyone I know goes to Baybrook for one it is updated nice and has alot of good stores that my teens love sad thing is I don’t see the mall around much longer unless they do a over hall I know if they did it they would be suprised how much business they get

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  32. I grew in Baytown from ’80 to ’98; and it’s nothing short of heartbreaking to see the Mall in such decline. It’s ironic that pretty much none of the (ultimately superior) retail business between Baker and I-10 would have existed had San Jacinto not proven that part of Garth Road viable for development. It’s interesting to hear from the earlier Foley’s poster how low that store was ranked chain-wide; I was kind of in awe of the wood paneled Polo and Hilfiger section. I miss watching Oiler’s preseason games at Bravo’s Italian Cafe, seeing Commando, Batman and Back to the Future 2 at Cinema 6 (the original movie theater, across from Casa Ole), getting a dollar and a free coke for watching a Turbo Grafx 16 commercial at the Market Research Center, and jammin’ to some Milli at the teen night club Curiousity.

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    Nate Reply:

    @Nik P.,

    Wow I almost forgot about that teen club and the market research place. I grew up in Baytown in the 80′s as well. It really is sad to see how bad the mall has gotten compaired to it’s glory days of the mid 80′s. I used to love going to the arcade which used to be where Chik Fil a and that getto cell pohone pace is now.

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    Leona Reply:

    @Nate,
    LOL love it to the point getto phone place I was going to say all the flea market stores eather way they better fix it soon or close it down every time i go there another store is closing

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  33. Whoa! This YouTube video was taken in 1991:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh3twHaQmMM&feature=related

    Oddly, it’s taken in the now-closed Wards wing, which, at the time, was thriving. The decor is the same….surprise, surprise.

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  34. The plans were announced 2 years ago to renovate this mall and nothing has been done to execute them. I believe this mall has been running out of money and cannot get the financing to make the vision a reality. Over a year ago they walled off the old Wards wing and added a larger sign off of I-10 and that was it. The old Mervyn’s wing would be walled off if the last store there Eye Masters left or moved. Sam Goody finally closed so that leaves only about 20 chain stores left in the mall. The only part of the mall that is doing good is the food court with the cinema near Macy’s. Down Garth Road some of the empty big boxes have been converted into smaller spaces that attracted new stores and the mall has attracted nothing new except low tier month to month tenants. Kohl’s just built a brand new store nearly across the street from the mall. Conn’s built a new store down the street and Target just spent money on the Garth road store upgrading it to the newest style in 2007. Best Buy also opened a new store in between Wal-mart and Target. Wal-Mart also demolished a strip center to make room for more parking at the super center on Garth road a mile away from the mall. I like the idea of demolishing the 2 dead wings and making those new entrances. That would make the mall seem more alive and save the money to air condition and light these empty corridors.

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  35. JUST ANOTHER BAYTOWN LOSER WITH HIGH PROPERTY TAXES, FAILING SCHOOLS, HIGH CRIME, DIRTY AIR, LOUSY CITY MANAGEMENT. CARPETBAGGERS LOOKING TO LOOT CITY TREASURY, WASHBOARD ROADS, ON AND ON AND ON…

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  36. This mall is so huge. You could say it is Texas sized. I guess the developers believed building this mall in Baytown, and The Mall of the Mainland in Texas City, 2 huge super regional malls, would attract people to choose these malls rather than drive into the traffic infested Houston city center to shop at The Galleria, and the other malls within the the I-610 loop and I-45 north corriders. That is why I think they were built so big for these small cities. I don’t think these malls would be in such bad shape today if they would have been built smaller, perhaps around 600,000 to 700,000 square feet, with just 3 anchors. I agree with a previous poster, San Jacinto Mall has TOO many anchors. The layout is very massive, and looks confusing to walk through as well.

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  37. Here’s hoping San Jacinto Mall survives Hurricane Ike…

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  38. The mall did alright for the hurricane and had some damage due to the storm. Several holes and leaks in the roof and glass ceilings. The Jeans West and Foot Locker near the food court had several ceiling tiles fall in due to water damage and those stores are closed for now. Eye Masters finally shut down and they put white tarps blocking the corridor to the old Mervyn’s and in front of the wall blocking the old Ward’s wing. Three new stores opened up but 2 are halloween seasonal stores and the other is an airbrush shop. It looks like they are going to open a store next to Sears so hopefully things are looking better at least for the holiday season. JCPenney has 2 more new style locations that just opened in Houston so who knows how long they will stay at the mall. Macy’s has only closed one store in Houston but the company is not doing well. The stores they got from Foley’s parent company have been below expectations so it is only a matter of time before they pull out of the mall as well.

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  39. San Jacinto mall has been around my entire life. We used to go have a great time years ago, but things are not as “great” as they used to be. My families currents reasons for going to this mall are for Casa Ole and letting our daughter play upstairs in the air conditioning. It’s supposed to be better than sitting in the heat at a park, but i am guessing their ac is on the fritz. We go pretty regularly and we notice some things change. For instance, after hurricane Ike there were alot of damaged areas around on the floor from water. Instead of fixing them properly, they simply added carpet patches with trim to a tiled floor. They didn’t even cover the entire damaged area, there are gaps. This mall is surely falling apart. Sad to say, but we travel to Baybrook mall in Webster to do our shopping. We have no baby retail stores here in Baytown (except babies r us), and Baybrook meets our needs. From Children’s Place to Baby Gap, Cinnabon to Sonic, and Dillards to Victoria’s Secret… it’s the place to be! San Jac is too packed with cell phone kiosks and massage chairs to keep us loyal. Good Luck san jac, we live 10 minutes away, but choose to go where our needs are met at 40mins away!

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  40. What has killed this mall is not Wal Mart. It’s a few things-

    1. The establishment of Baybrook as a more “upscale” shopping area (an easy 20-30 min drive)

    2. Stores like Old Navy that are beginning to build their own facilities or go into outdoor shopping centers.

    3. Lack of upkeep by management. Parts of the mall are in disrepair. Nothing is so far along that it couldn’t be repaired reasonably, but

    4. Culture- a lot of parents will fill their SUV full of preteen kids and drop them at the mall as a “social” activity. So there is certainly a culture and age clash there of some regards.

    As for renovating the mall, most of the retail stores mentioned above (Lowe’s, Old Navy, etc) all exist right down the street. So there is very little new blood that could be added. Dillards existed in this mall for a long time and moved out a few years ago. With all due respect, the mall owners would be better to tear down. The dirt is worth far more without the building on it.

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  41. Dillard’s was never in the mall…and there’s a wholesale bleach supplier in the mall.

    Bad sign.

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  42. As someone who watch this mall open, peak in its glory days, and then spiral to a subpar unmitagated mess, I can say the best thing for this mall is to bulldoze it and start all over. This was where I hung out as a teenager. Making an a strip center out of it like they did to Gulfgate and Meyerland is its only chance at salvation.

    I live in Baytown. I got to other malls now only because I can’t find anything at this one.

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  43. A Few Opinions/Thoughts of mine:

    1. The San Jacinto Mall was one of the best things to ever happen to Baytown. I remeber walking in on opening day! I get depressed when I visit the mall, It deserves better/ CAN be better, need an example… VISIT Memorial City! It was a dump, now a SHOWCASE!

    2. POOR MANAGEMENT, not it’s location is the reason SJM is dying/dead. SHAME on you Triyar

    3. Why does it say in every article that people in Baytown prefer to go to Galleria or Katy Mills? Katy Mills is all clothes & shoes (and a million miles away), The galleria, well you know what that place is like. (snob central) Now if you say we all go to Baybrook, I won’t argue that, and it’s a nice place!

    4. I bought all my big ticket items at SJM! TV’s appliances, Casual/Work clothes, Automotive at Sears, I remember spending nearly a whole day on many weekends there! Seeing a great movie at Cinema 6. I played most video games for the first time at Yesterdays! I can go on and on.

    It is a crying shame what has happened to the San Jacinto Mall. There is NO excuse. I’m sick and damn well tired of driving a zillion miles for stuff we used to get right here in town from a great place.

    I still choke up a little every time I visit, because I know how wonderful this place was. Ask anyone in Baytown, and I can guarantee they wish someone would wave a magic wand and make the mall new again! San Jacinto Mall, You don’t deserve what’s happened to you.

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    Nate Reply:

    @Sonic 1992,
    That is so true. Well said.

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  44. okay now im a teenager whos grown up in baytown and no the mall dosen’t need a aeropostale or whatever the hell it just needs good stores. If they put up aero and hollister where is the big people clothes? It would seriously give bigger people a bad impression and it would make lots of people to feel bad because of the clothing. I think they should put up alot of random stores and the food court and movies are perfect (:. I go from time to time but it gets boring after a while even to just hang there. So a starbucks and maybe a lounge or something can help(:

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  45. A person from Baytown is a Baytonian, pronounced Bay- Tone- ian .

    This mall FLOURISHED in the 80′s and early 90′s. It was at one time THE largest Mall in Texas and possibly the country. Every wing except the United/ Service Merchandise wing was jammed pack with stores. There was a Chelsea Street Pub on the Mervyn’s end of the mall which later turned into a teen ONLY dance club called Club Soda. One of the best game rooms ever, called Yesterday’s. The Monkey Ward’s end was never really sustainable, and if it wasn’t for the Piccadilly Cafeteria, I don’t think the Sears store would have been able to attract enough old folks to stay afloat as long as it has.

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  46. No, they don’t need to tear it down! It’s so huge! How about the old mervys wing be replaced w/ Saks and a Cons as the junior anchor. We used to have a service merchandise in My hometown and Cons is what is in it’s place now. This mall, can be better, and deserves to be better. If anything you gotta blame the poor management, and then no renovations. This mall is just one of the many malls in the greater houston area that use to thrive, but not are struggling.

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  47. Or better yet, why not just seperate the macys store? You know, make one store the mens store and the other one a womens store.

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  48. San Jacinto Mall used to be THE PLACE! I remember my first job was in the food court there.Summer of 86!!The mall was thriving and anyone attending Lee/Sterling in the late 80′s remembers San Jac was the place to hang out and be seen.It seems every space was filled with all kinds of name brand stores and major chains! After graduating class of 1987 and returning 5 years later after college the mall was nice!In 1992 I shopped Sears and Montgomery Wards for all my appliances after I purchased a home nearby.My family would meet for years on Sundays after church for Lunch at Piccadilly cafeteria and we would window shop the chinease shop across from piccadilly.Then on to Sears and Waldenbooks.I even remember Walgreens in the mall.It seems things did begin to SLOWLY change in the 90′s with Walgreens/oshmans leaving , but still I remember the sand castles on display, the dragon decorations on the celiings and the loads of people on the weekends. I went back a month ago and spent some time in the mall. I always believed even when I shopped at San Jac in 06,07,and 08 there was still hope for a sale and a comeback!Well after shopping there a month ago theres is no hope!The structure is mildewed, the ceilings stained, the parquet floors rotten and many patches replaced with carpet. The Mervyn’s wing is getting walled up which I dont get b/c Eyemasters is still open. Many retail spaces like where oshamans was ..etc…is being drywalled and turned into offices?My realtor friend took me into the closed off wards wing.It is Scary!Like the twilight zone!The music is still playing and the plants next to the fountains are all dead. But the old labelscars and fixtures in the vacant stores are still present. The entrance to wards is entirely creepy and alot of childrens toys (I guess from upstairs)are lying around.The mall would have to be completely gutted inorder for a comeback plus huge incentives would have to be offered for name brand stores to arrive. I would love to go thru all the old empty anchors(Wards, Bealls, Service Merchandise!).And inside piccadilly must be creepy as well. I still shop san Jac, Macys is a good place to get work clothes.Then I drive around to JCPenny which I like better than Baybrooks!Then I walk the outside sideawalk to Sears.Those are the only 3 places worth going to and you dont even need to go into the mall. So sad what happened..though alot is attributed to the anchors closing nationwide.(Service Maerchandise, Mervyns, Wards) and a shift in shopping styles. (Walgreens building freestanding stores..pacsun shuttering MOST stores)however the parquet being replaced with patches of carpet….the graffiti they allow on the walls….the gangsta stores..and the offices being built show me the owner could care less. There is no hope but many great memories and an errie feeling of days long gone everytime I venture inside. I cant leave San Jac without being depressed its like a ghostly landmark and it is almost errie. Its the same floors, same paint, same plants next to the fountains that I hung out at during my glory days of the 80′s at the great R.E. Lee…the whole era is caught in the mall…yet nothing remains…everyone has scattered and life has moved on leaving San Jac as a sad reminder of great days passed up never to return.

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  49. @TJ..United was never in San Jacinto Mall, I believe though it was in the shopping center across the street from the mall on Garth. However, Service Merchandise was formally a Wilson’s (which was a jewelry/catalog showroom) On another note, the Marshall’s was formally another junior anchor chain named “The Fair.” I grew up going to this mall in the early/mid 80′s as well. I can vividly remember my mom taking me to buy school clothes (I always hated shopping for clothes), buying candy/popcorn inside of Sears, or sitting on one of the benches in the corridor with dad, while mom buys my xmas gifts in the store, oh! and also throwing pennies into the many fountains to make a wish . I also remember there being so many people too. Then for whatever reason, in the late 80′s my mom started shopping at Deerbrook Mall in Humble. I think this was probably about the time when a lot of San Jac shoppers started shopping elsewhere and the mall started to slowly decline. It’s sad to see the state that the mall is in. It’s so easy to be nostalgic with this mall seeing that it has been untouched my any renovations.

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  50. If I lived in Baytown I sure as hell would not drive 30 friggin minutes to shop. I don’t like to drive far.

    As for Baybrook, I have been in that mall once in the 20 years I have been in Houston and was not that impressed.
    Who needs to be bulldozed? PASADENA TOWN SQUARE!! Everyone who shops there is TRASH!! and the mall is almost empty,

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  51. Hello, I loved this mall so much, It was a very big part of my life! I made a video tribute about the mall:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaMsAE-yo2g

    If you were a kid of the ’80s, This will take you back.. Make you happy and sad, too.

    San Jacinto Mall, You don’t deserve what’s happened to you.

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  52. The mall has seen it better days..As a former tenant the main problem is not the mall itself..THe location is perfect.The main problem has always been the management. So many good stores have shut it doors due to poor mis management. If you analyze all the malls this Triyar has manage they have manage to run it down to the ground. They jack up the price like you are renting at the galleria and don’t do nothing to market the mall.If you research all the malls this company has managed, they are all turned into failures and bad eyesore. No investment is further done to them.Pasadena Town Square= Failure
    San Jacinto Mall= Failure
    Greenpoint Mall= Failure

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  53. I think the mall has went down hill big time..I used to love going there..but now everytime I go it seems like more and more stores r closing..the food court used to b good now there losing places just as well..no chic fila no Wendy’s..no Casa ole anymore either..it’s horrible looking now..and if they do get new stores..it’s some off the wall stores that open..nobody wants to go there..It’s just slowly and slowly looking more and more like a flea market..I mean come on..u can race little cars in there now..hopefully they do something soon or no one is going to wanna go there..and how much Baytown has grown..if they do something with it..they will get some business!!

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