Only Macy’s, JCPenney will be open after Jan. 5 when next phase of new mall begins
It was the final Black Friday at San Jacinto Mall as we have come to know it.
With a view from above, the clusters of parked cars around the mall might have brought to mind a patchy beard. The signs pointing out where shops were located might have seemed more nostalgic than informational. But there were sales. And just outside Bath & Body Works, there was Santa, taking pictures with children.
“We have not been here in a long time,” Mellony Schein of Baytown said. “We came back to see if it was still here. In the 1980s, there was a lot of traffic.”
Schein, who graduated from Barbers Hill in 1980, recalled when the mall was new, a gem on the east side of Harris County. But with the mall in the midst of a substantial facelift, it seemed long ago.
“We had some shopping to do and came to Macy’s,” she said. “We also wanted to see what has been done. I was actually surprised to see how many shops are still here.”
The stores that have lasted to date other than Macy’s and JCPenney will close their doors on Jan. 5 for the next phase of reconstruction. This Christmas season marks 38 years of memories. In addition to closeout sales, there were gift bags given to the first 100 people coming through the door.
“This is the first time I have been to the mall,” Terri Simpson, a resident of Mississippi said. “We came out for the sales and cookies.”
Simpson’s husband works in Baytown and Black Friday offered an opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping.
“The mall would do well location-wise, it just needs a facelift,” she said.
If Charles Clark of Crosby had his way, Baytown’s mall would be transported back to yesteryear.
“I sure miss Sears,” he said. “We sure did a lot of shopping there. We do a lot of shopping at JCPenney and Macy’s.”
Clark’s family was shopping at JCPenney as he sat just outside the store on a bench. Having lived in the area for 15 years, it was not his first trip to the mall and he remembered brighter days for the building.
“Everything changes, but not everybody likes change,” he said. “I guess I am one of them.”
There will be additional mall activities through the season. Santa Claus will be at the mall through Dec. 24. Those wishing to have their dog take a picture with Santa can do so from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10. The Girl Scout Troop 6021 will have gift-wrapping from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14.
There will be one last Merry Christmas event from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 14 with doorbusters, entertainment and activities for children.
After Jan. 5, the immediate future belongs to the contractors, as a vision of San Jacinto Marketplace becomes a reality.
“I hope it does well,” Schein said. “I like the idea of being able to walk to different stores.”
Moving forward, phase two demolition is slated to begin in 2020. The mall is transitioning into an open-air shopping center that will be known as San Jacinto Marketplace. The goal is to have some stores open by Christmas 2020.
When it’s entirely constructed, the market place will be a 1 million square foot open-air shopping center. It will feature a large, green-space plaza, creating a venue for a variety of gatherings, festivals, concerts and events.