Willowbrook Mall was constructed in 1980 near the southeast corner of FM 1960 and SH 249 to cater to the rapid development of subdivisions growing around the FM 1960 corridor. The mall officially opened in 1981 with over a hundred individual retail outlets, a movie theater, and four anchor stores, Foley's, Joske's, Sears, and Montgomery Ward. Three years later in 1984, Macy's opened as the fifth anchor store for the mall.
In 1992, Willowbrook mall underwent major renovations, getting rid of the stained glass windows in the food court, and a giant brass sculpture that resembled a partially constructed "Death Star" from the original Star Wars trilogy. The department store anchors did some trading, swapping, adding, and subtracting over the years, and this is my account of those changes.
-Macy's opened in 1984, and then sold their space to Dillard's in 1997. Dillard's continues to operate in the original Macy's building.
-Montgomery Ward opened in 1981, but went out of business in 2001. Their building later became Macy's Men's & Home Department in 2006.
-Sears opened in 1981, and continues to operate from its original location.
-Joske's was replaced by Lord & Taylor in 1992, and Lord & Taylor went out of business in 2003. The building was demolished in early 2004.
-JC Penney opened in 1992.
-Foley's opened in 1981, and lasted until 2003. In 2006, it was taken over by Macy's.
-The Cinema theater closed around 1999, and was located near the food court.
This October 1980 photo shows the intersection of FM 1960 and FM 149, when Willowbrook Mall was being constructed (in the upper right section of the photo). Photo: Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
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: Dillard's Department Store at Willowbrook Mall, Aug. 2008. This building was the original Macy's, which opened in 1984.
SOME INDOOR SHOTS OF WILLOWBROOK MALL (April 2012)
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: The north side of FM 1960 across the street from Willowbrook Mall, July 2011. In this photo are Panda Express, Beck's Prime, and Al's Formal Wear. This shopping center was also the original location of the AMC Willowbrook Cinema until the new location was built in 2001 on the other side of SH 249.
: This photo, taken during the morning after Hurricane Ike made landfall on Sept. 13, 2008, shows a fallen power pole in the middle of FM 1960 across from Willowbrook Mall. Most of the traffic signals along FM 1960 were out for many days following the hurricane.
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: Willowbrook Best Buy, on the north side of FM 1960 at the railroad crossing, July 2011. Before there was Best Buy, this lot of land was occupied by 84 Lumber, which lasted into the late 1980's. Best Buy rebuilt their store around 2002, recognizing a need for increased parking capacity.