If things go according to plan, the Texas City Mainland City Center, the erstwhile Mall of the Mainland, will offer a whole new shopping experience for the residents of the city and the county. The owner of the mall, Jerome Karam Houston, the famous attorney turned builder-developer has grand and radical plans for space and he is also moving fast to bring those plans to fruition.
Jerome Karam’s plan is to revamp the space as full-fledged family entertainment, recreation, and lifestyle destination. Which means that he does not want the mall to act as another run-of-the-mill shopping center, but has plans to give it a singular character and thus provide the visitors to the mall a whole new shopping and lifestyle experience.
To give one a better idea of this, we may mention that Arnold Garza, owner and the head cook of the iconic Texas Pit Stop BBQ, has already declared his plans to open the third edition of Texas Pit at the newly named Mainland City Center. Yet, Garza was still a bit hesitant at first since the mall stood rather too close to the Texas Pit La Marque outlet.
However, his doubts dispelled once he learned of all the innovative plans that Karam had for the mall. In fact, Garza is now contemplating a different name for this third destination at the Mall and has already has plans to design it differently from his previous two outlets. So, in addition to staple barbeque items, expect the new restaurant to offer a host of home-style fare like chicken and dumplings, fried pork chops, smoked meatloaf, fried catfish and more.
Mall of the Mainland: Past and Present
Since its opening in 1991, the Texas City Mall of the Mainland, located near Interstate 45 off the Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, has had a checkered history. Once anchored by famous names as Sears, Dillard’s, JCPenny, Cinemark Movies and Palais Royal, and seen as the major competition to Houston’s Baybrook Mall, it never quite lived up to the expectations.
The death knell for the center was sounded in 2008 when many major anchors at the mall suffered significant damages due to Hurricane Ike. And after a few aborted attempts at rejuvenation, the place finally closed down for good in 2015.
This was when Jerome Karam took over the challenging task of rejuvenating the place. He had already earned his name for successfully renovating under-utilized buildings and facilities and for giving them a whole new lease of life. And as it turned out, he shined once again with his Mall of the Mainland project. Already by early last year, the mall was host to World Gym, the famous franchise that was also the largest such facility in the state of Texas; the Altitude Trampoline Park, the largest of its kind in the US; and the luxurious Palais Royal (although right now its fate is hanging in balance as the parent company has recently filed for bankruptcy). Later tenants included Reality of Wrestling School by Booker T. and the First Baptist Church of Texas City.
But, Karam has grander plans for the center. These include a 65,000 sq. ft race track complete with over- and underpasses; Aerodium Indoor Skydiving; and ingenious use of its spacious outdoors (that will host holiday events, crawfish boils, weekly farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts and more).
In all, it looks very much like the residents of the city and the surroundings are in for a real treat as the Mall of the Mainland, helmed by the visionary efforts of Jerome Karam, gears up to offer itself as a singular recreational, shopping and lifestyle destination.