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Demolition on the Montgomery Ward and Bealls buildings at San Jacinto Mall was done during the summer of 2016. The next phase of demolition is expected in three weeks and will last through October. 

Next demolition phase starts in 3 weeks

The next phase of demolition in the process of redeveloping the San Jacinto Mall is about three weeks away, according to the developer. 

Stacy Matejka, marketing specialist for Fidelis Realty Partners, confirmed that demolition would occur in three weeks and is slated to go through October. 

Fidelis plans to tear down the former Sears wing, adjacent wing and the remaining portion of the Old Montgomery Ward wing, as previously reported.  

Throughout all phases of demolition, Macy’s will remain at its current location and continue operations, while JCPenney will also stay open through redevelopment but will eventually get a new building. 

Matejka said the size of the new JCPenney has yet to be determined. 

In negotiating a size of a new store, it doesn’t necessarily mean a larger facility is wanted, as B.J. Simon, associate executive director for the West Chambers County Economic Foundation, alluded to at a recent West Chamber County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  

“If you’ve been tracking the dynamics of the retail industry, smaller is better,” Simon said. “(Major retailers) are reformatting, going from 150,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet stores.” 

Almost four years ago, Fidelis Realty Partners purchased the San Jacinto Mall with the idea to redevelop the mall into a 1 million square foot open-air concept shopping center that is to be called the San Jacinto Marketplace. 

But before Fidelis can make changes to the site, it must garner approval from anchor stores Macy’s and JCPenney, which has been challenging and the main reason the project has been delayed. 

In fact, in March, Baytown City Council granted Fidelis an extension to the end of the year to finalize agreements. 

Last fall, Fidelis said demolition was to begin in November and hoped to have agreements finalized by February of this year. At the time the realty company said construction might even start in April with development from Garth Road heading west toward Macy’s. But the only demolition to take place came in 2016 when they tore down the Montgomery Ward building. 

Construction is now believed to start in the first quarter of next year. 

At a March City Council meeting, Alan Hassenflu, Fidelis Realty president and chief executive officer, said it would probably be about two or three years to finish all phases. 

When the mall is completed, it’s expected to have an estimated regional economic impact of $70 million to $210 million. It is also likely to directly result in the creation of 280 to 845 direct jobs and 330 to 988 indirect jobs.   

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