Are shopping malls becoming the centers of life once again? As most hospital employees, my wife is required to work one weekend a month and certain holidays. She had yesterday off, and since I was free in the afternoon, we planned some time together. We did need to plan out where we were going to be though. I prefer the parks, but with our daughter and nephew in tow, and the need to buy some school clothes, along with needing to pick up my son from school, my wife suggested Memorial City Mall.
The construction around Beltway 8, I-10, and Gessner is never fun to navigate, and I do not think of any mall as a destination point, but I am glad that I went. Seeing the parking lot full, my wife asked if these people have lives? I reminded her that this is not a bad place to find a quick lunch. With the hospital across the street, and the Energy Corridor a few exits down the I-10, the mall is fairly convenient even with the traffic. We were surprised by how many parents with small children were there. The double deck carousel by the food court is a big hit with the children. My daughter carefully studied which animal should be her choice. The play castle is also a great adventure. The kids flocked around my wife and I since we were clapping at their gymnastic feats. I never expected to see Target in a mall, but there it was. The variety and quality of stores has changed from my experience with malls in the seventies and eighties.
What brought me to think of real estate around a mall? An exhibit of a nearby condo, which I could only look at briefly. Town Centers are popping up in many cities in the Houston area, and I do like the idea. To be able to live, work, and play in one area is becoming a better option for most of us, when we consider the cost of transportation. I personally feel that the town center developments are a trend which can easily fade, but with an aging population, condo living in an area with good dining, hospital care, shopping, and a place to take the kids can be most appealing; however, the attraction can extend to other groups. If you do work in the energy corridor area, the homes/subdivisions between Memorial City Mall and Eldridge Parkway offer some excellent choices. Excellent schools and a community college in Town and Country. Downtown is a trip along the I-10, if you wish to go to the museums, theater, or parks there.
As areas like Houston grow ever outwards, hubs like the one around Memorial City Mall will become more important. Particularly if we do follow a trend in making wise choices of living closer to our work, or finding ways not to travel around the city for our needs and desires, but focus on picking one destination. Alright, the parks in our town will always be my first pick, but I have no qualms suggesting to other parents a trip to the mall, and I will be back. I also liked the fact that there was a nice ice skating rink for my teenage son and his friends.
Our concept of real estate is changing. More people do not want yards to take care of, and desired locations are moving closer to work. Townhomes are found in the older areas in the center of town, as condos are being developed near hub/town centers like the mall. Hopefully, we will consider this development with some fore thought to make it last. If the malls become dead, then why would you want to live near one?