Hempstead Road / US 290 and Magnum Road
Houston, Texas

Maryland's James Rouse Company developed two fully-enclosed shopping malls simultaneously in the Bayou City. These sibling centers, ALMEDA MALL and NORTHWEST MALL, encompassed 797,000 and 794,000 leasable square feet, respectively.

ALMEDA MALL, added to a circa-1966 Foley's, opened October 10, 1968. NORTHWEST MALL, with its circa-1967 Foley's, was dedicated October 24 of the same year.

NORTHWEST MALL sat on a 65.7 acre plot, located 5 miles northwest of center city Houston. ALMEDA MALL was located 17.8 miles southeast of NORTHWEST MALL. These single-level facilities were identical in design, shared the same anchors, and had virtually the same inline stores.

A 2-level (209,600 square foot), Houston-based Foley's and 2-level (209,300 square foot) J.C. Penney anchored NORTHWEST MALL. The original complex featured Houston-based Battelstein's and Palais Royal as junior anchors.

Charter inline stores included GNC, Lane Bryant, Spencer Gifts, Margo's La Mode ladies' wear, a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. A freestanding movie house, the American Multi-Cinema Northwest 4, opened for business December 25, 1969.

The only physical expansion of NORTHWEST MALL was done in the early 1970s, when Foley's was enlarged into a 298,800 square foot store.

Retail rivals were aplenty in the over-malled Houston metropolis. There were SHARPSTOWN CENTER (1961) {7 miles southwest, in Houston}, MEMORIAL SHOPPING CITY (1966) {4.9 miles southwest, in Houston}, NORTHLINE SHOPPING CITY (1963) {4.7 miles to the northeast, in Houston} and TOWN & COUNTRY MALL (1983-2005) {6.2 miles southwest, in Houston}.

Houston's GALLERIA POST OAK (1970) was situated 4 miles south of NORTHWEST MALL. However, it was such an upscale shopping venue that the two centers were not in direct competition.

NORTHWEST MALL was given a face lift in 1990, with an 11-bay Food Court installed in its Center Court. Remodeled entrances were also included in the project.

Over the years, inline stores came and went. Bealls replaced Battelstein's, but was shuttered in February 1989. BizMart, on office supply chain, opened in June 1990 and closed in January 1991. Woolworth folded in December 1993. Things really began to falter when J.C. Penney pulled out of the mall in June of the year 2000.

The Rouse Company sold the shopping center in 2002, with its the buyer being the Columbus, Ohio-based Glimcher Realty Trust. They sold the ailing property to Houston-based Levcor in October 2007.

A large-scale renovation was planned, that would have demolished most of the complex and reworked it into a mixed-use, lifestyle-type center. This project was delayed when a good-sized chunk of the east parking area was taken for the construction of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on the adjacent US 290 Expressway.

Moreover, NORTHWEST MALL took a direct hit from Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Its Macy's (a February 2006 rebranding of Foley's) incurred roof damage and closed for good. The space was never retenanted.

All inline mall stores were given eviction notices, effective as of March 31, 2017. This left only the exterior-entranced College of Healthcare Professionals and Thompson's Antique Center of Texas in business. Levcor still plans on redeveloping the moribund mall, in some capacity. in the near future. It is possible that the complex could be replaced by an open-air power center.


The Houston Chronicle / J.R. Gonzales
"Northwest Mall" article on Wikipedia
"METROrail" article on Wikipedia