While contractors continue to demolish parts of the San Jacinto Mall, Mayor Brandon Capetillo wants to know what stores should be put in its place.
To garner citizen input, Capetillo asked residents on Facebook for suggestions on the stores, restaurants and entertainment they would like to see at San Jacinto Marketplace and why they think it would be successful at the new mall.
In less than 24 hours, Capetillo received over 900 comments that contained thousands of suggestions.
“Who best can gauge the citizens than themselves of what they would like to see,” Capetillo said. “That was the impetus for my post because I wanted to see what people are thinking. And I’m very encouraged since a lot of the places (people are suggesting) are conversations that Fidelis and those type of retailers and restaurants are engaged in.”
Many of the comments included stores like Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro, American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Torchy’s Tacos, Chuck E. Cheese, Dave & Buster’s, The Cheesecake Factory and an Apple Store to name a few.
“I would like to see more upscale dining, family entertainment — which needs to be a major component, and retailers for all ages,” Capetillo said. “And I don’t think things are too far fetched. I would love to see an Apple Store or something of that nature because I believe the Baytown region, with its buying power, could certainly support that type of establishment.”
Capetillo, the City of Baytown, nor Fidelis can disclose what businesses are engaging in talks to come to San Jacinto Marketplace since it is the right of the businesses or restaurants to make the announcement.
“Some of the retailers and restaurants that were suggested in my post have a high probability of being included, either in the San Jacinto Marketplace, the marketplace area or even in the area of San Jacinto Boulevard and other developments in the area,” Capetillo said.
To further gauge ideas, Capetillo said he would try to comprise a list — prioritizing it based on popular comments — to send to Fidelis.
“Give me a list and tell me why because I need to be able to explain why they think a particular retailer would do well,”
Capetillo said. “Everything is data-driven, and so when you have that and couple it with the communities response, it will only provide more emphasis on the type of retailers that Baytown expects.”
When fully constructed, the San Jacinto Market Place will be a 1 million square foot open-air shopping center. It will feature a large, green-space plaza, creating a venue for a variety of gatherings, festivals, concerts and events.
Phase one demolition includes tearing down the Sears wing as well as the Mervyn’s wing. Macy’s and JCPenney will remain open throughout redevelopment of the mall.
Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of next year.
When the mall is completed, it’s expected to have an estimated regional economic impact of $70 million to $210 million. It is also likely to directly result in the creation of 280 to 845 direct jobs and 330 to 988 indirect jobs.