Giselle Jenkins' Commentary

Posted July 9, 2007 (user submitted)

North Hills Mall was a 584,000 square foot mall located at 7624 Grapevine Hwy, in North Richland Hills, TX, near the intersection of Grapevine Highway and Northeast Loop 820. It opened in 1979, and provided an excellent boost to the growing city of North Rich land Hills, bringing in an average of $120 million per year in sales. North Hills Mall's anchors were Sanger-Harris (later to become Foley's in 1987 due to May Department Stores acquisition), Mervin's (opened 1981), and Striplings and Cox, as well as a General Cinema 8 movie Theater. It featured a patio style indoor food court, a Pearle Vision Center, Reg is Hair Salon, and many other standard "mall" stores. One of its more unique features was the Hemisphere Children's Museum located inside the mall. It featured science and nature rotating exhibits. In addition, during the Texas Sesquicentennial of 1986, North Hills Mall housed a store that sold Texas Historical items, run by local volunteers.

North Hills Mall's main competitor was another regional mall, Northeast Mall, located in the nearby town of Hurst, which is only about 5 miles away. All the way from its opening in 1970 up until about 1998, Northeast Mall was seen as the more rundown of the two malls. (I recall as a child, my mother not letting me go to Northeast Mall alone for fear of kidnapping, while she had no such concern with letting me spend time at North Hills Mall, as long as I was with a friend or my sister).

Two big events were the nails in the coffin for the once thriving North Hills Mall. First off, in 1997, plans went under way for lower-tier competitor Northeast Mall to expand. How? Well, it took out a whole housing subdivision of 127 homes that were located directly south of the mall using the principle of eminent domain. With that extra real estate "freed up", Nostrum signed a contract with Simon mall developers and opened a Nostrum and a Nostrum Rack. Northeast Mall suddenly was poised to become a destination mall, not just a "mere" regional mall, as this would be the only Nostrum in Tar rant county.

Second, at nearly the same time, the highway running directly in front of North Hills Mall, Loop 820, was expanded. Off and on for 2 years, the area there was a nightmare, coupling construction, lane closures, etc...with an already congested area. It became difficult for anyone other than local residents to get to North Hills Mall in a timely manner, what with endless detours due to construction. Faced with these challenges, and declining sales, the anchors started defecting. First, Striplings and Cox closed its doors in 2000, followed by Foley's moving down the road to Northeast Mall in a brand new building in Fall 2001. Northeast Mall completed its renovation in 2001, and is now known as the "Galleria of Tar rant County" by some local shoppers due to its luxurious stores and shops. Mervin's was the last holdout at North Hills Mall, staying until the mall closed its doors in late 2004.

Various ideas were thrown around for the fate of the defunct mall, but due to a variety of reasons, none panned out. In the Fall of 2006, the North Rich land Hills city council implored the owners of the mall property to demolish the mall due to the fact it was dilapidated and was violating various city health and safety codes. In Feb 2007, the city began tearing down the mall, and by May 2007, it was all but completed. The North corner of the mall, formerly home to Foley's, will become a Medical Center,an 80,000 sq. foot facility called the "Medical Center at Calloway Creek". According the the city's website, "specific plans for redeveloping the property have not been announced at this time."


The History of North Richland Hills: Where Families Live, Work, Worship, and Play (Hardcover)
by George N. Green (Author)

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