Published May 24, 2022 by A.J. Mistretta
The traditional American mall is changing from coast to coast, with some shopping centers facing the wrecking ball while others are being reinvented to meet the evolving needs of 21st century urban and suburban communities. Here in Houston, developers are redeveloping some malls as mixed-use commercial districts.
At Memorial City near Gessner and Katy Freeway, real estate development firm MetroNational recently revealed plans to reimagine the massive 300-acre site that includes Memorial City Mall. The company will start with construction of Memorial Town Square, a 27-acre, 190,000-square-foot mixed-use project that will include local and national boutiques, innovative restaurants and health and wellness services.
Memorial Town Square aims to set the tone for a new master plan at Memorial City that will eventually include a much denser urban experience with residential units, a new office tower, coworking spaces and more. Completion of Memorial Town Square is expected in 2025.
Developers say Memorial Town Square will strive to improve the way people in the area come together, with lush landscaping, walkable streetscapes and an iconic town square vibe. Centered around expansive green space, the project will offer a variety of gathering spots crafted for lively and low-key get togethers. Visitors will experience art, entertainment, and events within a relaxed yet vibrant communal hub.
"MetroNational has been working towards this day for more than 25 years," said Jason Johnson, President of MetroNational. "Memorial Town Square was designed for the community with the hope that they would one day consider it a part of their daily lives - hence the name.”
Memorial City isn’t the only mall getting rethought. Baybrook Mall has served the residents of the Clear Lake/Friendswood area for decades, but in 2016 the mall got a major upgrade with an outdoor lifestyle center adjacent to the existing structure. A wide assortment of restaurant concepts and boutique stores centered around an open lawn for events and performances has reinvigorated the center that’s now drawing a new crop of new shoppers and diners. In total, the Baybrook expansion added more than 500,000 square feet to the development.
Back in 2017, Houston’s iconic Galleria shopping debuted $300 million in renovations that added a luxury “jewel box” complete with a number of high-end restaurants and retail concepts. The expansion aimed to elevate the already popular Houston shopping complex.
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