MALL ST. VINCENT
Southern and St. Vincent Avenues
Shreveport, Louisiana

Plans for one of the major Port City shopping centers were announced in August 1975. Tentatively known as the ST. VINCENT FASHION MALL, the complex was envisaged by Des Moines, Iowa's General Growth Development Corporation (today's GGP Inc) and Shreveport's D & W Properties.

The mall was developed on a 37 acre parcel, located 1.9 miles south of downtown Shreveport. St. Vincent's Academy, a parochial girl's school, had been built on the property in 1906. The Academy was replaced by a new facility in September 1962 and eventually demolished.

Derwood Quade and Arthur Hammond designed the prospective retail complex, whose name had been changed to MALL ST. VINCENT. The fully-enclosed facility was added to a 3-level (200,000 square foot) Sears, a freestanding store that had opened in September 1961.

MALL ST. VINCENT encompassed a single retail level and, with its Sears anchor store, spanned approximately 440,000 leasable square feet. It was also anchored by a 1-level (40,000 square foot), Shreveport-based Palais Royal. When fully leased, the mall housed over sixty stores and services. An official dedication was held February 2, 1977.

Sister Marietta Welsh, Mother Superior of the adjacent St. Vincent's Convent, cut a ceremonial ribbon. The grand opening was also attended by Matthew and Martin Bucksbaum (of General Growth Development), V.H. Delaney (of D & W Development), James Hutchinson (of Sears & Roebuck), Harry Flyer (of Palais Royal) and Calhoun Allen (Mayor of Shreveport).

Charter inline stores included Piccadilly Cafeteria, B. Dalton Bookseller, Bresler's 33 Flavors ice cream, Butler's Shoes, Corn Dog On A Stick, County Seat, Gallenkamp Shoes and Karmelkorn. These were joined by Radio Shack, Stuarts Ready-To-Wear For Ladies, Rider's Jewelers and The Snack Bar. The American Multi-Cinema St. Vincent 6 Theatres opened for business May 20, 1977.

Shopping hubs in the MALL ST. VINCENT trade area included PIERREMONT MALL (1964) {1.3 miles southeast, in Shreveport}, SOUTHPARK MALL (1974) {4.9 miles southwest, also in Shreveport} and PIERRE BOSSIER ["bow-jur"] MALL (1982) {4 miles northeast, in Bossier City}.

Shreveport's Palais Royal chain was acquired by Wellan's, of Alexandria, in 1985. Stores were rebranded by Wellan's in the fall of 1986. The MALL ST. VINCENT store was short-lived. It closed for good in March 1987. 

By the late 1980s, MALL ST. VINCENT was in a downward spiral, with only fifteen operational stores. Area road construction had left the complex difficult to get into. Eventually, the facility was usurped by the newer and larger PIERRE BOSSIER MALL.

A major renovation of MALL ST. VINCENT got underway in March 1991. The vacant Palais Royal / Wellan's store was demolished and replaced by a 2-level (148,000 square foot) Dillard's. The existing mall was given an indoor-outdoor face lift. Common area was refurbished with new fountains, flooring, lighting and landscaping. The west facade was also rebuilt with new 3-story-high entrances and the parking area enlarged.

Eleven stores joined the tenant roster. These included Arielle ladies' wear, Mecheall's Children's Clothing, Hilton's Enchanted Woods, Tabasco Country Store and Concord Bakery. MALL ST. VINCENT was officially rededicated on September 4, 1991. The complex now encompassed approximately 548,000 leasable square feet and contained forty-one tenant spaces.

Area road construction, which had hurt business at the complex for several years, was finally completed. A stretch of Interstate 49, which passed along the west side of the mall, opened to traffic in December 1995. General Growth had sold MALL ST. VINCENT in 1984 but bought the property back in October 1998.

The mall's cinema 6-plex was shuttered in July of the year 2000. Soon after, two open-air retail venues opened for business. UNIVERSITY PLACE {2.8 miles southeast, in Shreveport} was dedicated in August 2001. LOUISIANA BOARDWALK OUTLETS {2.5 miles northeast, in Bossier City} welcomed its first shoppers in May 2005.

General Growth created a spin-off entity, known as Rouse Properties, in January 2012. This company would own and manage several of GGP's B-class shopping malls.

A 17 million dollar renovation of MALL ST. VINCENT was announced in August 2013. The entire west facade was rebuilt as an exterior-entranced Streetscape. On the interior, new floors and lighting were installed, along with an indoor pond.

Existing store space was also reconfigured. Hibbett Sports moved to a new location. Five spaces were merged into a (22,000 square foot) H & M. Other new tenants were signed, such as Cafe du Monde, Grimaldi's Brick Oven Pizza, J. Crew and P.F. Chang's China Bistro.

The remodeling was complete by November 2014. MALL ST. VINCENT now housed sixty stores and services under its roof. Rouse properties, and its portfolio of thirty-five shopping malls, was sold in July 2016. The buyer was Toronto's Brookfield Asset Management.

By 2017, it was clear that the much-touted Twenty-tens renovation of MALL ST. VINCENT had not been entirely successful. The plan to reposition the complex as the premier shopping venue in Northwest Louisiana had fallen short of its goal.

Major tenants, such as Grimaldi's Brick Oven Pizza and Gymboree, closed up shop. It was feared that the possible shuttering of Sears could send the mall into its second downward spiral.

Sources:

The (Shreveport) Times
http://www.southernretail.blogspot.com
Comment post by Scott Greer
"Mall St. Vincent" article on Wikipedia
www.realtytimes.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://rouseproperties.com
www.bizjournals.com
http://kennethpark.com (Kenneth Park Architects)