Highland Mall
Highland Mall, is a shopping mall located in north Austin, Texas, on Airport Boulevard west of I-35 and north of US Route 290. Opened in 1971, Highland Mall was Austin's first suburban shopping mall. Highland Mall is managed by Jones Lang LaSalle, and is jointly owned by General Growth and Simon Property Group.

Anchors
  • Dillard's Men's and Women's - Dillard's acquired the former Joske's location at the south end of the mall when it purchased the entire Joske's chain in 1987.
  • Macy's - The former Foley's anchor store was renamed Macy's in September 2006 as a result of Federated Department Stores' purchase of the May Company in 2005. Macy's will close in March 2011.
  • Vacant #1 - Only two of the mall's four anchor locations are currently occupied. The first one, JCPenney, an original tenant when the mall opened in 1971, closed its anchor store in Highland Mall on September 30, 2006.
  • Vacant #2 - The Dillard's Men's store occupied the anchor store location originally held by Scarbroughs, once Austin's largest locally owned department store chain, from 1992-2009.
In addition, the Greyhound bus terminal for Austin is located immediately southeast of the mall.

Mall in decline
Two of the mall's seven retail sectors are closed. Press reports describe the mall as "in decline" and say it is "likely to be demolished in 2010" to make way for a mixed-used development. On June 26, 2009, Yahoo! reported that it was one of "America's Most Endangered Malls": As Austin has grown and expanded in the years since Highland Mall's opening, the demographics of the surrounding neighborhoods, once considered somewhat upscale, have moderated; the mall is the closest major regional shopping center serving the eastern portion of the city, which has traditionally been populated primarily by working-class African American residents. Highland Mall has been known in recent years for large crowds of visitors to the mall during the Texas Relays (a major track and field event held at the University of Texas at Austin), generating controversy and allegations of racial discrimination, or at the least, a less-than-welcoming attitude, on the part of mall management towards the visitors, comprised mainly of younger African Americans, many who visit from out-of-state. During the 2009 Texas Relays, management decided to close the mall several hours earlier than normal, presumably in an attempt to control the crowds and promote safety, prompting protests from the local chapter of the NAACP and a possible boycott of the mall (all part of a larger controversy over perceived negative attitudes in Austin towards the Texas Relays and its largely younger Black fan base, which uses the Relays as a social event comparable to the controversial Freaknik events in Atlanta in the early 2000's). Charles Heimsath, president of an Austin-based real estate research firm, suggested that local malls such as Barton Creek Square and The Domain have siphoned off clientele from Highland Mall. Despite Highland Mall's relative proximity and convenience to the University of Texas at Austin, many UT students elect to use these other shopping venues. On June 3, 2009, the Austin Chronicle reported that Austin's professional soccer team, the Austin Aztex, were interested in using part of the site for a soccer stadium. The site would have also included "pedestrian-friendly street frontage in a mixed-use design, rapid bus transit and rail right across the street, and structured parking." Grassroots Austin Stadium Supporters (GRASS) was a group that has formed to push for the stadium project. On May 26, 2010, it was announced that Austin Community College had purchased an 18.5 acre portion of the mall that had previously been leased to Dillard's for "future expansion". The mall's Macy's store will close in March 2011.

Building Activity

  • Brayden Falgout
    Brayden Falgout commented
    All department stores are closed, half the mall is empty.
    about 5 years ago via Mobile