The First Sign of Changes Coming to the Soon-To-Be Searsless West Oaks Mall Is Now Standing in Front of the Former Macy’s Parking Lot

A Swamplot reader sends this photo of new signage fronting Hwy. 6 along the vacant Macy’s parking lot at West Oaks Mall. The space left behind by the former anchor tenant — which closed its doors last year — will be turned into a new store called The Outlet at West Oaks that will specialize in clothing and home goods and open within the next few months. Dress shop Formal Gallery has been announced as the new store’s first retailer. Other additions have been announced for the rest of the mall, HBJ’s Cara Smith reports: a gym, a trampoline park, a daycare facility, a food hall, restaurants, event venues, and some sort of maker space.

1st Emporium, the real estate division of Houston-based Mehta Investments, quietly bought most of the mall — out of bankruptcy, Paul Takahashi reports in the Chronicle —  last August. (The mall’s former owner, Pacific Retail Capital Partners, bought the shopping center out of bankruptcy, too, back in 2009.)

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1st Emporium then bought the 273,876-sq.-ft. Macy’s building directly from the retailer itself a few months later. Another West Oaks anchor tenant, Sears, announced earlier this month it would close its store in early April. Dillard’s is now the last major West Oaks retailer with plans to stick around; it’s in a 231,230-sq.-ft. company-owned space at the south end of the shopping center.

Macy’s debuted in the northeast corner of West Oaks in 1982, 2 years before the rest of the mall opened. In 2009, mall owner Edward Okun was sentenced to 100 years in prison for taking off with millions of dollars investors had entrusted to his real estate company, and the shopping center went bankrupt.

Photos: Swamplot inbox (sign); Ian B. (Macy’s entrance)

Anchors Away