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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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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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  • 1 month later...
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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  • 5 years later...

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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  • 1 month later...

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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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.

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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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  • 4 months later...

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!

 

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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  • 4 years later...
  • 8 months later...

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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  • 4 months later...
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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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  • 2 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...

   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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  • 1 month later...

Visited the Galvez Mall several times during the mid-1970s when I lived in Shreveport, LA. Although a 5-hour drive, Galveston was the closest "full service" beach resort. Lots of ads promoting Galveston tourism aired on Shreveport TV stations during the summer season, plus post season ads in September. The Port Holiday Mall, Holiday Inn Motel, The Islander Hotel, and Mario's Pizza were all near Stewart Beach Park. After an afternoon at the beach and a change back to street clothes, I usually finished the day by visitng the Galvez Mall. While visiting the mall, l bought several books at B. Dalton Bookstore, including a Sherlock Holmes hardcover anthology, The Complete Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes (Castle Books, distributed by Book Sales, Inc.) On one of my day trips (Shreveport to Galveston and back on the same day), I finished the day by watching The Gumball Rally (a road trip comedy movie starring Michael Sarrazin, Norman Burton, Raul Julia, Gary Busey) at the mall's triple theater complex.

Saw the posting with photos of a group of 1970s Pontiac Trans Am cars parked in the Galvez Mall parking lot. By coincidence, my Shreveport to Galveston round trips were made in a similar Pontiac Trans Am. Had I known of the Trans Am gatherings at Galvez Mall back then, I would likely have attended at least one of the gatherings.

Edited by k5jri radio
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Sadly, the Galvez Mall (opened 1968; 400,000 sq. ft. indoor area) decline and eventual closing (circa late 1990s) is an all too common story for enclosed malls in many areas.

[1] Festival Bay Mall in Orlando, FL (opened 2002; 865,000 sq. ft. indoor area), located at the intersection of Universal Drive and W. Oak Ridge Road (approx 2 miles east of Universal Studios Florida, 9 miles north of Walt Disney World, and 9 miles south of downtown Orlando) 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 and remodeling only delayed the inevitable decline of this mall. Prior to its most recent purchase in circa 2018, all that remained open for business was a Cinemark movie theater complex and a Bass Pro Shop sporting goods store/boat dealership, each of which having their own outside entrances. Ron Jon Surf Shop also had its own outside entrance, but it closed and relocated before the mall's name change. Addendum: According to online sources: Miami (FL) based Dezer Development purchased the mall in 2018 and reopened it in 2021 as Dezerland Park Orlando. One of its advertised features is an extensive collection of automobiles and automotive memorabilia. This latest iteration combines the features of a shopping mall with an automotive-themed museum. Its current slogan is: "Indoor Fun All Day"

[2] Regency Square Mall in the Arlington region of Jacksonville, FL (opened 1967; 1,400,000 sq. ft. indoor area) is located midway between downtown Jacksonville and the beach areas. At its peak, it was one of the highest performing malls (sales per square foot of enclosed area) in the United States. It had many retail stores, a large food court, multi-screen movie theaters (one inside next to the food court, the other in stand-alone building) , and two arcade game rooms. With the closing of J.C. Penney in October 2020, Dillard's Clearance Center is the only anchor store remaining in Regency Square Mall. Part of the mall was repurposed to house the Impact Church. In addition, other current mall tenants include a Sheriff's Office Substation and assorted small and medium retail shores.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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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Thanks to the various HAIF members for their postings with a lot of detail about the Galvez Mall as it was during the 1970s & 1980s. As a tourist, particularly when on a day trip, the mall was a great place to visit after spending time at the beach. Stewart Beach Park had (and probably still has) dressing rooms with showers and a secure place to store street clothes, similar to those found at public swimming pools. After a shower and change back to street clothes, it was always fun to visit the mall, browse the shops, get something to eat, and maybe watch a movie, before returning home. As I recall, it was about 5 miles west on Broadway (I-45) from Stewart Beach Park to the Galvez Mall. Once it was time to return home later in the evening, the parking area behind the mall's theater complex was near or adjacent to I-45, reducing the chance of getting lost or "turned around" in the darkness (this was before the advent of "smart" phones with their detailed directions apps). Regret not bringing a camera with me to document my trips to Galveston (again, before the advent of "smart" phones with their built-in digital cameras).

At Galveston as well as most other beach resorts, many people (myself included) want to go to the beach as soon as they can get their luggage in the motel room and change into swimwear. The motels usually reduced or shut off the room's air conditioning whenever the room was not occupied. I can remember coming in to a warm to hot room and turning on the air conditioning to near its maximum cooling setting before changing into swimwear and heading out to the beach. Upon returning to the room a couple of hours later, the room felt uncomfortably cold after I had been out in the hot sun most of that time. Looking back, it would have been more sensible to go easy on the air conditioning controls until after returning to the room, taking a shower, and changing into street clothes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Kudos to HAIF members who mention specific movies they watched at the Galvez Mall movie theater complex. Assuming first run showing dates, this narrows the time frame to within a few weeks of any given year.

If and when the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and there is a reliable vaccine (or vaccines) to inhibit its recurrence, it might be fun to check out the Pier 21 movies on the hour and half hour as well as the Galveston 11 theater complex. Have seen consistently good reviews for the former, mixed reviews for the latter.

2021 Addendum: Reviews for the Galveston 11 theater complex are more positive now that new management has taken over and invested in renovations to the theater's plant and equipment, particularly the seating. Many reviewers comment favorably about the improved seating, but comment unfavorably about the prices charged for food, candy, and beverages. This seems to be a common complaint made by theater patrons in many areas of the country. When I worked as an TV advertising salesman in Shreveport LA, the theater managers I called on told me: [1] after the various media distributors are paid their percentage from ticket sales revenue, the amount of money left over after other operating expenses (utilities, maintenance, payroll, taxes, consumable items, etc.) are paid is barely enough for the theater operator to break even; [2] the theater operator's profits come from the sale of food, candy, and beverage items to the theater patrons. What I have been told by these theater managers has not been corroborated by any written financial records.

2022 Addendum: The good news is the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided to some extent. The bad news is record high fuel costs have made travel (and many other things) more expensive.       

 

   

Edited by k5jri radio
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These photos of Galvez Mall finally surfaced. These were taken in 1987 during my tenure as General Manager. As mentioned in my earlier post Galvez had gone through a cosmetic renovation and the Grand Opening of the "new" Eiband's. The mall itself at the same time held a Grand Re-Opening and the day was quite an event for Galveston. Due to photo size (MB) limitations I may have to post another series of photos separately

Galvez_Mall_Eiband's_Entrance_1987.jpg

Galvez_Mall_Entrance_1987__2.jpg

Galvez_Mall_Entrance_1987.jpg

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Interesting, high quality photographs showing The Rouse Company's late 1980s interior and exterior changes designed to transition the Galvez Mall from a general purpose to a more upscale shopping venue. If my memory is correct, before this late 1980s renovation, there was an Orange Julius located in one of center aisle booths. In 2004, The Rouse Company was sold to General Growth Properties. In 2012, General Growth Properties spun off 30 malls into a new real estate investment trust, Rouse Properties.

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  • 3 months later...

As documented with text and photographs in earlier postings by various members, the interior and exterior of Galvez Mall (Galveston TX) was cosmetically renovated circa mid-1980s as part of a plan by the Rouse Company to convert it from a general purpose to a more upscale retail facility. Photographs (May 1976) show its exterior appearance at the approximate midpoint between its original opening (circa 1968) and its subsequent interior and exterior renovations. Photographs (July 1987) show its interior and exterior appearance after renovations. These renovations were (in my opinion) well executed, but ultimately ineffective for the stated goal of attracting tenants. The then general manager of Galvez Mall attributed this to a "terrible nationwide recession" he recalled taking place during 1986 & 1987.

Although there were no nationwide economic recessions during this time period, there was an economic recession (two or more consecutive quarters of declining economic indicators) in the greater Houston area beginning in the early 1980s and bottoming out in 1987. The recession was due to the collapse of petroleum prices and the consequent high unemployment rate. The greater Houston economy did not recover to its pre-recession level until early 1990. 

To summarize: Galvez Mall opened in 1968 as a general purpose retail shopping mall with a mixture of large, medium, & small retail stores, and a triple-screen movie theater. In circa 1986 the mall was sold and cosmetically renovated (interior & exterior) to attract more upscale tenants. In late 1994, Houston-based developer Steve Fincher (dba Baxstep Investments) purchased the mall, renamed it THE ISLAND, and attempted (without success) to market it as an outlet mall for retailers who sold discontinued and overstocked merchandise. Some taxing authorities (but not Galveston County) provided a 5-year tax abatement to this developer. Beall's (the last major tenant) left the mall in March 1996 leaving only two smaller retail tenants, GNC and Ritz Camera. Non-retail tenants included: Galveston Model Railroad Club, which set up a working model train layout and held meetings inside the mall until circa 1995 and The Island Fellowship Church, which operated at the former Beall's location until mid 1997. Photographs (Oct 1996) show the mall's exterior appearance seven months after Beall's departed. The mall became derelict (probably during the latter months of 1997) until its demolition in 2000. The land where the mall once stood is now is now occupied by two large stores, Home Depot and Target (each with its own building), as well as several smaller stores arranged in a strip. Walmart is only 2.2 miles south at 6702 Seawall Blvd. The nearest multi-screen movie theater, Galveston Primetime, is approximately 3.8 miles away (from Home Depot & Target) at 8902 Seawall Blvd. According to a promotional excerpt from Galveston County The Daily News, island area real estate developer, Miguel Prida, recently purchased the theater. (Access to the full article requires an online or print subscription to the newspaper).    

 

 

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You obviously weren't living in Texas in the 80s. The recession the GM of Galvez was referring to was the oil bust of the mid-80s that really hit the Houston-area economy hard. Nobody who lived in Houston in the mid 80s, no matter how young, would forget what it was like. I was just a kid, but lost a lot of friends as their dads lost their jobs and had to move elsewhere for work. The price of oil bottomed out at $12.51/bbl in 1986. That, along with the savings and loan crisis of the mid-late 80s, which was worse in Texas than anywhere else. At least half of the failed S&Ls were based in Texas. Real estate prices plummeted. Our state fell into a deep recession. Downtown Houston was a ghost town at this time, office occupancy rates plummeted. We were just starting to come out of it around the time we hosted the economic summit in 1990.

 

1986 proved to be a watershed year for Houston, cleaving Old Houston from the Modern Houston we live in today. So many venerable old Houston institutions, especially those that catered to affluent oil-rich Texans, were casualties of the oil bust, that much of Houston’s unique culture and heritage died and was replaced by a more generic Large American City culture.

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Although there were no nationwide economic recessions during most of the 1980s (1982 to 1990), the 1980s recession affecting the greater Houston TX area (including Galveston TX) is well documented online.

In the mid-to-late 1980s, I was offered a transfer from the Jacksonville FL location to the Houston TX location of GE ICES (Instrumentation Communication Electronic Services) Calibration Lab. To the best of my recollection, nothing was said during the interview process about economic recession conditions or other problems with the Houston area economy. I decided not to take the transfer offer because it was lateral (no promotion) and did not offer financial assistance for moving expenses. Also in the "nothing was said" category, the interviewing manager did not mention that the person I would have replaced had already accepted a transfer offer which included full payment of his moving expenses from Houston TX  to Atlanta GA. Had my transfer offer included financial assistance for moving expenses from Jacksonville FL to Houston TX, it is likely I would have taken the transfer offer and become a Houston resident and weekend Galveston visitor.

Epilogue: In later years, GE ICES and many other GE manufacturing and technical service components went away as GE (General Electric Company) transitioned from being a leading manufacturing company with financial subsidiaries to a middling financial company with manufacturing subsidiaries.

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19 hours ago, k5jri radio said:

I did state state the disclaimer "unless this was a local condition peculiar to the area." What you are describing is just that, a local condition peculiar to the area. The then GM of the Galvez Mall would have improved his posting had he described the recession as a local condition in and around the greater Houston area. 

 

In the former Galvez GM's defense, this is houstonarchitecture.com, it is targeted to a pretty specific local audience, ie mostly Houston residents. Even transplants usually learn about the 80s oil crunch and its effects on the city from neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc. after having lived here a while. So it wasn't unreasonable of him to assume that visitors to this page would know what he was talking about.

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Been there, done that lots of times via Houston I-45 to Galveston. Always wanted to take the ferry from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston Island. Starting from Beaumont TX, it's about 80 miles and 2 hours driving time via the Bolivar Peninsula. The 2.7 mile ferry ride takes 18 minutes + 9 minutes average loading time either direction. When there is a long line of vehicles waiting to board, there may be a longer waiting time, depending on how many ferries are in service.

By contrast, it's about 120 miles and 2 hours driving time from Beaumont to Galveston via I-10 & I-45. The route via I-10 & I-45 is efficient and convenient provided you avoid arriving in Houston during weekday morning or evening rush hour traffic.

 

 

  

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  • 4 months later...

Hi there! I'm Sam and I tell the stories/history of iconic malls and what they meant to their local communities on my Youtube Channel. As I have family in the Galveston area and visit there occasionally, I stumbled upon the now mostly mundane Galveston Shopping Center combined with the rich history of The Galvez Mall that was once in its place. 

Would users from this thread be willing to allow me use of these photos and snippets of history/memories in my storytelling for Galvez Mall? This really is the only resource I've been able to find to tell this story, with the true heartfelt feelings behind what the mall meant to the locals (which is what I always aim to encapsulate in the stories I tell).

Any and all info or photos used would be undoubtedly credited, thanked and/or linked back to their respective owners both on and off screen.

I really feel The Galvez Mall story is one that needs telling. 

Thank you for your time! -Sam

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5 hours ago, Brick_Immortar said:

Hi there! I'm Sam and I tell the stories/history of iconic malls and what they meant to their local communities on my Youtube Channel. As I have family in the Galveston area and visit there occasionally, I stumbled upon the now mostly mundane Galveston Shopping Center combined with the rich history of The Galvez Mall that was once in its place. 

Would users from this thread be willing to allow me use of these photos and snippets of history/memories in my storytelling for Galvez Mall? This really is the only resource I've been able to find to tell this story, with the true heartfelt feelings behind what the mall meant to the locals (which is what I always aim to encapsulate in the stories I tell).

Any and all info or photos used would be undoubtedly credited, thanked and/or linked back to their respective owners both on and off screen.

I really feel The Galvez Mall story is one that needs telling. 

Thank you for your time! -Sam

You are welcome to use my photos and information in the three Galvez Mall posts. wpfulton

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Much appreciated wpfulton! The photos and info you've provided are great!  

The video might end up taking a while as I sometimes work at a slow pace but I'll definitely post here once complete.

Also, it would be great to feature Urbanizer's content as well so will keep an eye on the thread to see if they respond too.

-Sam

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As a long time visitor to Galveston TX, I look forward to the possibility of a YouTube video featuring the Galvez Mall. From my perspective, this mall was an integral part of the overall Galveston experience. Feel free to contact me at any time if you want explanation or elaboration of anything I have posted. Best regards,

Edited by k5jri radio
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5 hours ago, k5jri radio said:

As a long time visitor to Galveston TX, I look forward to the possibility of a YouTube video featuring the Galvez Mall. From my perspective, this mall was an integral part of the overall Galveston experience. Feel free to contact me at any time if you want explanation or elaborations of anything I have posted. Best regards,

Great, thanks for that K5!

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  • The title was changed to Galvez Mall 1980s Renovation And Aftermath

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