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BigJoeTX

Galvez Mall

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I'm surprised this hasn't come up on this board before (or maybe it has and I missed it), but the other night I had a dream that was set in the Galvez Mall. I woke up and told myself, "what the hell was that?". I can't even remember when Galvez Mall closed... I'm 24 now and I'm guessing it closed when I was a 10 or 11.

So of course I have start this thread: Galvez Mall memories. Post your memories and if you have any pictures those too. Does anyone remember the stores there or the configuration of the mall? Bonus points for someone who can come up with a map of the mall. :D

For me:

- Pinewood Derby races outside of the Sears when I was a cub scout.

- Birthday parties at the Aladdin's Castle arcade across from the movie theater

I remember there was a Sears on one end and an Eibands on the other. In between, there was a Wyatt's Cafeteria, a Shwartz(I think?), maybe a Bealls?, and of course your standard mall shops like GNC and Sam Goody. What else do y'all remember?

P.S. For those who don't know, Galvez Mall was a small shopping mall located at 61st street and IH-45 in Galveston. It sits on the same land that has the Home Depot and Target now.

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Eating at the Cafeteria in the mid 80s after a long day at the beach.

Although I could have sworn it was a Picadilly.

Then driving back to Houston in the CJ7 with the top off.

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OK... this has interested me enough that I drew a map of the mall as well as I remember it. Feel free to correct or add. :D

I know for sure the cafeteria was a Wyatt's, it was my favorite place to eat when I was a kid. It may have been something else before that, I was born in 1982 so of course my memory only begins somewhere around 1987 or 1988.

I also remember when I was in a 6th grade we got sleet / snow (it didn't stick). I remember my mom taking me to Wyatt's Cafeteria after the snow stopped, that was in 1993 I think. This was the last time I remember eating there so I imagine the mall closed shortly after.

Galvez.jpg

Now that I'm looking at it I think there was book store near the Sam Goody, I can remember buying "Where's Waldo" books there.

Edit: I asked a friend and confirmed that it was a B. Dalton bookstore. Though we couldn't come up with an exact location.

Edited by BigJoeTX

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Ok, since we never spent a lot of time in Galveston when I was a child, I only have 1 memory of the Galvez Mall. We were spending the weekend at our parent's friend home on Tiki Island, and with our luck, it was raining. My mother asked my brother to take me to a movie at the Galvez Mall. What did my brother take me to see while we were at the beach? Jaws. I want to say it was the original Jaws movie, which would have been the summer of '75, but, I would have only been 5 years old. Even my brother wouldn't have done that to me. It must have been Jaws 2 in the summer of '78. I would have been 8 years old. I didn't want to step foot in the water the rest of the weekend.

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There was also a Gold's Gym close to the Bealls. It was owned by the same guys that owned that pizza joint at the seawall and broadway... I forget the name. I used to work out there every day while I was a waiter at Gaido's... nearly 3 years of it. After working out I would go eat at either the mall cafeteria or go to Luby's up on 61st street.

-had my ear pierced at the Piercing Pagoda in 1990

-bought a cheezy italia summer suit at some shop next to GNC in 1991, very guido

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I'm a little surprised this thread hasn't gotten a greater response. I guess there's a reason this mall went under right? No one ever went. :)

There was also a Gold's Gym close to the Bealls. It was owned by the same guys that owned that pizza joint at the seawall and broadway... I forget the name.

The restaurant is called Mario's. I had totally forgotten about the Gold's Gym, it was there until it moved to its current location at 47th and Seawall. I seem to remember it had some very 60s-70s looking white arches in front of it?

Other things started coming to me as I thought about the old mall, I remember a couple of fountains too, one big one straight in from the main entrance with a large skylight which is where I think they had the Santa Claus during the holidays, and a smaller one where the hall to the movie theater intersects the main corridor. I found that dead mall website too, ironically, Mall of the Mainland is on it which is the mall that stole the Sears anchor and much of the smaller stores from Galvez back in the early 90s.

Assuming I don't forget, when I get back home for the holidays I'm going to see if I can find old pictures of the mall. I went to enough birthday parties and cub scout functions there that my dad is bound to have some somewhere.

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I never went to it but i remember seeing boarded up entrances in 98-99 Gold's Gym looked like it was the only place that was opened. I think Home Depot and Target took it's place.

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OK... this has interested me enough that I drew a map of the mall as well as I remember it. Feel free to correct or add. :D

I know for sure the cafeteria was a Wyatt's, it was my favorite place to eat when I was a kid. It may have been something else before that, I was born in 1982 so of course my memory only begins somewhere around 1987 or 1988.

I also remember when I was in a 6th grade we got sleet / snow (it didn't stick). I remember my mom taking me to Wyatt's Cafeteria after the snow stopped, that was in 1993 I think. This was the last time I remember eating there so I imagine the mall closed shortly after.

Galvez.jpg

Now that I'm looking at it I think there was book store near the Sam Goody, I can remember buying "Where's Waldo" books there.

Edit: I asked a friend and confirmed that it was a B. Dalton bookstore. Though we couldn't come up with an exact location.

Originally there was a Woolco in the mall, were Eibands was. The Woolco only lasted a few years. I remember a freind of mine was a car mechanic there in the late 70's. I guess Eibands moved in around 1983 or so.

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Sorry this is an old thread but I had to post. I was just thinking about the Galvez Mall last night. I'm 37 so the mall was still open around the time I started High School. The map is pretty acurate. The book store was located straight back from the main enterance. I remember they used to put up a Christmas display in front of it every year. It seems like across from the book store there was a little place where they served coffee or something, I can't quiet remember. There was a music shop directly opposite of the pizza place, I don't remember the name or if it was something else before. Across from Bealls they had a hair salon, I used to get my hair cuts there.

I remember my mom used to work at Bealls.

I once threw up in Wyatt's Cafertia haha.

Skippy from Family Ties once signed autographs at the mall.

I can remember playing Dragon's Lair and Rampage in the Arcade.

I remember seeing The Empire Strikes Back at the Movie theater.

So many memories. :)

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For some reason, I think the mall closed in early 96. I know it was definitely out of business by the summer of '96 since our family took a trip down there for a few days and I clearly remember the place appeared to have most of the signage already removed save for the ones facing Broadway.

Don't really have any other distinct memories of the place... I know that it did close shortly after Craigs' went out of business. That may have been in 1995 or so.

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I know in the winter of 94 it was still limping along, stopped in on the way home from dickens on the strand that year. As I remember it, it might as well have been closed at that point.

Edited by samagon

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This thread is interesting. I've heard a few stories about this mall from teachers in school. I was born in '95 and moved to Galveston shortly after. I did a quick search and found an article from '96 regarding plans to redevelop the mall.

Edit: Found a few photos as well that were taken in May 1976.

GCTAC%2520%2520BEGINING%25201976%2520%2520%252316.jpg

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GCTAC%2520%2520BEGINING%25201976%2520%2520%25233.jpg

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http://picasaweb.goo...EAGCTACPICTURES

Retailers Give up on Galvez Mall Revival

After more than a year of delays, Galveston officials have become doubtful that a Houston investor will follow through on his plans to redevelop the former Galvez Mall.

Most of the retailers have already left.

Mall owner Steve Fincher, president of Houston-based Baxstep Investments Inc., has told city and county officials that he will not convert the 400,000-square-foot Galveston mall into a planned factory outlet center unless the county grants him a tax abatement, but county officials say the developer has failed to submit financial information.

Fincher has already been given abatements by four of the five local taxing jurisdictions, yet the mall at 61st Street and Broadway -- now renamed The Island--sits virtually empty months after its scheduled opening date.

In a brief interview, Fincher said he still plans to redevelop the mall using the outlet concept. The county tax abatement is just one of the issues he is trying to work through, he says.

"There are just multiple parts that we need to put this thing together," Fincher says. "We don't have a plan as to when we might start the process. We just don't know right now."

Others in Galveston do not think Fincher's redevelopment plans will come to fruition.

"I think it's dead in the water," says prominent Galveston Realtor William Payne, the owner-broker of Re/Max Galveston. "The world and the market have passed it by. The era of the factory outlet mall has fallen off the vine, and the honeymoon is over. It's a mature industry now."

Telephone lines at Los Angeles-based Outlet Concepts Inc., which had been hired to lease the outlet mall, have been disconnected. OCI leasing agent Jackie O'Brien could not be located for comment.

Fincher purchased Galvez Mall for $2.3 million from Aetna Life & Casualty on the last day of 1994. Fincher's group, called Causeway Partners I in the transaction, laid grand plans to spend between $4 million and $5 million to convert the 39-acre mall into an outlet center similar to the nearby Factory Outlet Center of America in La Marque.

But Galveston County Commissioners Court failed to approve Fincher's tax abatement several months ago, causing Fincher to tell local officials he was re-evaluating the feasibility of the deal. Commissioner Wayne Johnson was unable to get a second for his motion to grant the abatement, valued at $25,000 to $30,000.

Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough says commissioners generally prefer to grant abatements on industrial and manufacturing projects, which create more stable and better-paying jobs than retail projects.

Fincher has asked the county to reconsider his request, suggesting to county officials that the fate of the project relies on the abatement.

But before Yarbrough will put it back on the agenda, he wants Fincher to show proof of financial backing and proof that potential tenants will sign on. The county judge says he has been waiting nearly a year for that information.

"Part of my concern is that this type of retail business doesn't fit our standard abatement request," Yarbrough says. "But this is a major project on the gateway of the biggest city in the county, and we want to do our part to make it work. I just find it hard to believe that a $25,000 to $30,000 abatement is a big enough issue to stall the whole project."

Meanwhile, Galveston Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Joan Hoffman says her agency, which helped Fincher secure tax abatements from the City of Galveston and three other taxing jurisdictions, has not been updated on Fincher's future plans for the mall.

"We're basically waiting for him to make his next move," Hoffman says. "To the best of my knowledge the project is still ongoing."

The seven-year abatement that Fincher was granted from the city will expire in June 1997. The tax abatement agreement states that the redevelopment would create between 200 and 300 full-time jobs when completed. The original completion date for the entire project was set for Dec. 31, 1995. That date was later pushed back to March, and again rescheduled for this summer.

But the only tenant changes that have been made at The Island so far have resulted from the decisions of retailers to jump ship.

Anchor tenant Bealls Department Stores closed its 20,000-square-foot store at The Island in March, making it one of the last tenants to vacate the mall. The departure of Bealls, which had been operating there for several years, left only two small tenants: General Nutrition Centers and Ritz Camera.

Carl Tooker, president of Bealls' parent company, Stage Stores Inc., says the company waited for months in hopes that a new owner would step forward and redevelop the mall. After several months on a month-to-month lease, Stage Stores decided to close Bealls in favor of a new Palais Royal store in the former Wal-Mart location in Galveston.

"We were willing to stay as long as possible, but no one came up with a concept that would work for us," Tooker says. "It's a shame what has happened to the mall, but we stayed through as long as we could."

The vacant Bealls casts a long shadow over what is now home to overgrown grass and graffiti-ridden walls.

With the exception of a new sign reading "The Island," there is barely a trace of activity at the crumbling mall.

Johnathan Myers of Brand & Allen Architects, which had been hired to design the new mall, says he does not have the "most current information" regarding the redevelopment. He declined to comment on whether the company is still working on the project.

OCI's O'Brien had reportedly lined up several tenants for the factory outlet, including 9 West, Adolfo II, Allen Stuart, Dockers, Levi's, Sunglass Hut and Vitamin World. The company was also reportedly working on a deal to open a 10-screen theater at the mall.

Officials at Sunglass Hut say they are no longer interested in opening a store in Galveston, largely because the opportunity to operate an outlet facility at The Island "is no longer available."

Fincher told The Galveston Daily News in June that he will consider opening a car dealership, apartment project or grocery-anchored shopping center if the county fails to grant his tax abatement.

http://www.bizjourna...1.html?page=all

Edited by Urbannizer

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I'm 55 and lived in Dickinson in 1976 when I worked at Galvez Mall.  I worked at Stuart's (a junior clothing store) and my favorite place to shop was Margo's La Mode, right across from Stuart's.  Stuart's was very near Sears.  There was also an Orange Julius and I remember a Pier One.  Anyone remember when the med center behind UTMB hospital was a shopping area with an El Chico??

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those pictures are awesome, I can only imagine that in 30 years someone will find a picture of my subaru among a group of 20-30 other subarus sitting in a parking lot in front of some random landmark that people are conversing!

 

I only hope that our clothing isn't as garish.

Edited by samagon

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Subaru? Really? I don't think there are 30 Subaru's in Texas much less 30 in one parking lot!

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Subaru? Really? I don't think there are 30 Subaru's in Texas much less 30 in one parking lot!

 

lol, you'd be very surprised!

 

there's an impreza club for the wrx and sti, and we have a weekly happy hour (basically just sitting in a pub and drinking and talking about anything but our cars) that used to pack about 40 people, these days we get about 10.

 

either way, thanks to the internet, there's clubs for virtually any car out there, if you have a 1983 Chevy Celebrity, there's an internet forum for you to talk about whatever chevy celebrity owners would talk about.

 

in a tangent to the tangent, I'm very impressed that in 1976 (before the internet) that as many trans-ams were able to be assembled, I guess they used phones and newsletters via the regular mail? I can only imagine how difficult that was.

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Wow in 1976 I was 2 years old. I love to see old photos of Galveston. It's funny the parking lot was nearly empty even way back then. I don't recall the Galvez ever being really busy.

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Galveston Mall! Loved it when I was a kid. Birthday party at Aladdin's Castle. Cheese sticks at Corn Dog Factory. Waited in line there to see Batman with Michael Keaton. In middle school we would justt hang out there sometimes on weekend nights.

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The Galvez Mall was where my sisters and cousins watched "Jaws" for the very first time the weekend it premiered, then we went to the beach and walked around asking each other "well you going swimming" and "you first" for a few hours before walking back to my Grandmothers apt at Fort Crockett apartments.. eating at Wyatts and playing games at Aladdins Castle are great memories.. At is downfall the homeless in Galveston took up residence inside, my friend on Galveston PD would have to clear out the mall, I remember the last store on the property was the tire shop the name of it has left me but about that time I got to walk through the mall with my cop friend. The condition of the place was awful and that's the last memory I have of the Galvez Mall

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On 11/30/2006 at 10:45 PM, MidtownCoog said:

Eating at the Cafeteria in the mid 80s after a long day at the beach.

Although I could have sworn it was a Picadilly.

Then driving back to Houston in the CJ7 with the top off.

The Picadilly Cafeteria was at Almeda Mall off of I-45 South Houston

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In Summer of 1996, I started a church in the old Beall’s store. It was called The Island Fellowship. The church existed until June 1997 when Fincher’s tax abatement ended..

Edited by GalvezMallPastor

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There also was a model railroad club, Galveston County Model Railroad Club, that met and had a display in the mall until about 1995. Anchor tenant Bealls Department Stores closed its 20,000-square-foot store at The Island in March 1996, making it one of the last tenants to vacate the mall. The departure of Bealls, which had been operating there for several years, left only two small tenants: General Nutrition Centers and Ritz Camera. The mall was eventually demolished in 2000 

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Does anyone remember what the interior looked like? Colors and design perhaps a mall that looked similar because I was thinking about recreating it in 3D.

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   I was General Manager of Galvez Mall from 1986-87 for The Rouse Company. We opened Eiband's and a number of new merchants and had a great Grand Re-Opening. We also had a substantial cosmetic renovation to the common areas and added the large  "Galvez Mall"  script-style  signage above the main entrance. I am trying to locate some photos I have in storage and will post them once found.

   I recall we were experiencing a terrible national recession at the time and the mall struggled with the reimaging and marketing of the center as an upscale fashion mall. Eiband's was supposed to be the anchor that took us there. Unfortunately, the merchants suffered from the failing economy and the leasing efforts and tenant retention were both difficult.

   But it did not stop the large annual traveling circus from setting up on the vacant land adjacent to the mall and becoming quite the boisterous neighbor for several weeks. Actually we welcomed the traffic they generated for the mall during that slow period. It is quite the memory of many of the circus performers frequenting the mall in costume and sometimes in "character". Not exactly high fashion but definitely a crowd pleaser and sales "generator".

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Visited the Galvez Mall several times during the mid-1970s when I lived in Shreveport, LA. Although 5-hour drive, Galveston was the closest beach resort. Lots of Galveston ads on Shreveport TV stations during the summer season, plus post season ads in September. Also remember the Port Holiday Mall, Holiday Inn, Best Western Motel, and Mario's Pizza near Stewart Beach Park. Also remember watching Gumball Rally at the Galvez Mall theater complex. Bought a Sherlock Holmes hardcover anthology at B. Dalton Bookstore. Great book I still have. Saw the pictures with a bunch of 1970s Pontiac Trans Am cars in the parking lot. By coincidence, all my trips were made in my 1975 Trans Am. Good memories of great times.   

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Sadly, the Galvez mall decline and eventual closing is an all too common story for enclosed malls in many areas. The Festival Bay Mall in Orlando, FL (865,00 sq. ft. indoor area) was nearly empty for several years until it was renamed, remodeled, and repurposed to an arts & crafts oriented mall with the new name, Artegon Mall. The new name only delayed the inevitable closing of this mall. Only the movie theater complex, a sporting goods store, and a boat dealership, all of which have their own outside entrances, survive. Regency Mall in east Jacksonville, FL (about 8 miles from the beach) was a great place to spend time with many stores, a large food court, movie theaters, and two arcade game rooms. Today, all the anchor stores are gone and only a few shops remain. Most people are afraid to drive into the Regency Mall parking lot, much less enter the mall itself.     

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Posted (edited)

So many memories of the Galvez Mall...just a few:

 

I spent a lot of time hanging out at "the Mall." I was a teen during the '80s, so of course that is something I did.

 

I saw many movies at the theater (The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars [with my grandfather one of many times I saw it summer of '77], Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Blues Brothers, Poltergeist, etc.). When I was eleven, I rode my bicycle at least one time from where I lived on Gerol Drive to the Mall to see the movie Heaven Can Wait. Eleven years old. I estimated via Google Maps it was a 2.5 mile journey, one way. That was in 1978-era Galveston traffic on Stewart and 61st Street. I wouldn't dream of doing it today. 

 

Played lots of Tempest and other games across the theater at Aladdin's Castle.

 

There was a t-shirt place for a while around 1982 called T-Shirts Plus. You'd choose a design and then they would iron it down on a shirt. It was next to a pizza place that was on the corner just down from Aladdin's Castle, around the corner from of it was an Orange Julius.

 

I still think about going to the SEARS on Saturday mornings with my father sometimes when I smell grass clippings from lawns being mowed today. I can still see it pretty clearly in my mind's eye. 

 

There was a Globe department store in the spot that eventually became Eibands. I have a clear memory of being in the Globe around the time of the movie The Warriors being out and causing controversy. They had a great record department. Also sold guitars (albeit shitty ones). 

 

B'Dalton's Book Sellers was so great. My parents bought me many books there. Eventually I was old enough to buy my own. Had a great magazine section. That little wooden bridge was right outside near the entrance to B'Dalton's

 

Pearson's (spelled?) clothing store was the place to buy clothes in the mid-80s. I think it was a cool place to work as well. Right next to the music store, Mr. Music, too. I loved Mr. Music. Next door to the Athletic Attic - first one of those I ever saw. Bought some Nike's there. An early video rental place moved in next to the Athletic Attic at one point.

 

Also shopped for clothes with my mother at Bealls and Schwartz's. I still have some sports coats from Schwartz's I had them tailor for me just before they closed around the mid-80s. They still fit. I think the cafeteria (Wyatt's) was right across from Schwartz's. I miss cafeterias generally. Do any exist now?

 

I sure hope the former general manager uploads some pictures. I can't believe someone hasn't located on a VHS tape (or something) a news broadcast (or something) done at the Mall, or at the very least, more pictures.

 

I guess we just didn't have a camera with us unless we: a.) even owned one at all to begin with and b.) thought to bring it to the Mall. :)

 

 

Edited by ChrisinNac

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