Richard Hyde's Commentary

Posted December 3, 2005 (user submitted November 1, 2005)

A rapidly dying mall, Greenspoint Mall in Houston was developed by Federated Department Stores and opened in July, 1976 with Foley's and Sears as the initial anchors. Being the first mall in the northern suburbs, it instantly was a huge success. At its height it was the largest grossing mall in the country. The expansion continued in the 1970's and early 1980's which included 170 stores as well as JC Penney, Lord & Taylor, Montgomery Ward, Joske's, Walter Pye's, Palais Royal and Beall's department stores. The mall had a memorable fountain court which included a restaurant over the waterfall. One could walk through the waterfalls under the cafe. The corridors were lined with full size ficus trees which were decorated with thousands of miniature white lights at Christmas. The mall was designed with a "Central Park" theme. There was a statue/sculpture called "High Flyers" which was dedicated at the mall's opening in 1976 and was anchored in the sculpture court.

As Houston continued to boom the WillowBrook and Deerbrook malls opened which took a significant amount of its business. The city of Houston annexed the mall area in the mid 80's which allowed the bus line. Unfortunately, the crime rate soared culminating in the kidnap and murder of a female sheriff in the early 1990's. Much bad publicity went around and the area became known as "gunspoint". The final nail in the coffin was the opening of the Woodlands Mall. The affluent residents fled the area in the 1990's when the crime increased and the 3 other malls took the rest of the business. Walter Pye's, Bealls, Wards, Penney's, Lord & Taylor have all closed. Joske's was taken over by Dillard's in 1987. That store has been converted to a cheesy clearance center. The Foley's, which was one of their largest stores, has been downsized considerably with the 2nd floor almost compeletely closed off. It will likely close altogether when Macy's takes over next year. A remodel was done in the 1990's by new owners which cheapened the mall's look considerably. Gone are the trees and fountains. They were replaced with almost glow in the dark multicolored tiles. It's days are definitely numbered. It is sad to see what was once a vibrant shopping mecca become a shell of its former self.

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