The remaining portions of the San Jacinto Mall were demoed in 2022, leaving an empty space that will soon be occupied by the new San Jacinto Marketplace, thanks to a new agreement between the City of Baytown and Fidelis Realty Partners. Sun photo by Matt Hollis
As the old John Mellencamp song goes, “When the walls come tumblin’, tumblin’ down.” In 2022, the walls of the old San Jacinto Mall finally came down to make way for the San Jacinto Marketplace.
The old mall had been deteriorating for years and was far from its heyday as the place to be in Baytown. But after years of decline, former Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos flew to Los Angeles to convince Tristar to sell the mall property to Fidelis Realty Partners. Then followed years of negotiating with the anchor stores, plus going through the COVID-19 pandemic and battling for consumers to shop at malls instead of online. The city also had to overcome an initial 2021 deal that did not excite some on council. But finally, council reached a new deal with Fidelis in late August.
Council signed off on a 380 economic development agreement with Fidelis, which literally paved the way for the San Jacinto Marketplace at Garth Road and Interstate 10. The agreement made Fidelis the owner of all 105 acres of the mall property. Alan Hassenflu, Fidelis president and CEO, told council he wanted to turn the property back into the area’s “premier shopping experience.”
“This is where the community can congregate to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment at this inviting, spacious and aesthetically pleasing mixed-use destination, including a 450,000 square-feet shopping center,” Hassenflu said in August.
The plan involves having shopping centers with outlet stores, dining and entertainment, indoor and outdoor eateries, personal and service uses, and a spacious community plaza called Pelican Green.
Hassenflu has said he hopes the new mall area will become the gathering place for the city.
Fidelis also returned $3.25 million to the city as part of the new agreement. This was part of a clawback provision in the initial contract that said the developer would owe the city the money if a mall had yet to be developed by September 2020. Fidelis would also have been required to build a 1.2 million-square-foot indoor mall or 750,000 square feet of new retail space.
Soon after the deal was signed, workers began demoing the remaining portions of the mall. The goal is to open the new San Jacinto Marketplace by Christmas of 2024.
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