The Galleria, stylized theGalleria and also known as the Houston Galleria, is an upscale mixed-use urban development and shopping mall located in the Uptown District of Houston, Texas, United States. The development consists of a retail complex, as well as the Galleria Office Towers complex, two Westin hotels, and a private health club. The office towers and hotels are separately owned and managed from the shopping center.
The Galleria main hall showing the ice rink and large skylight
|Location||Uptown District, Houston, Texas, United States|
|Address||5085 Westheimer Road|
|Opening date||November 16, 1970|
|Developer||Hines Interests Limited Partnership|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|Owner||Simon Property Group (50.4%), Walton Street Capital, Sony Corporation & CalPERS|
|No. of stores and services||400|
|No. of anchor tenants||4|
|Total retail floor area||2,400,838 square feet (223,045.1 m2)|
|No. of floors||4|
|Public transit access||METRO Routes 20, 33, 82, 283|
With 3 million square feet (280,000 m2) of space that includes 2,400,838 square feet (223,045.1 m2) of gross leasable area with 400 stores, the Galleria is the largest mall in Texas and seventh-largest in the United States. It is currently anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy's.
The idea of an indoor shopping center with a hotel was envisioned in the 1940s by oilman Glenn H. McCarthy where a second phase was to include the Shamrock Hotel; this concept was scrapped right after the Hilton Hotel franchise took over the Shamrock in 1955. Glenn H. McCarthy's abandoned concept would influence Gerald Hines in the late 1960s.
The Galleria was developed by Gerald D. Hines. The Neiman Marcus anchor store opened first, on January 28, 1969. The mall itself opened on November 16, 1970. The new shopping center was modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, borrowing, as its most distinctive architectural feature, a glazed barrel vault spanning the central axis of the mall. When it opened the mall had 600,000 ft² (56,000 m²) of retail space. The original skylights — which graced among other things a large, floor-level, ice rink, open year-round - had three hanging chandeliers. A connected 400-room hotel was opened in September 1971, the Houston Oaks Hotel (now The Westin Oaks Houston).
The first expansion, known as Galleria II, was begun in 1975 and opened on June 17, 1977. It added 360,000 ft² (33,000 m²) of retail space on two levels, Lord & Taylor and Frost Bros. anchor stores, office space (known as the Galleria Financial Center since the early 1990s). A second hotel also opened as part of Galleria II on November 18, 1977, the 500-room Galleria Plaza Hotel (now The Westin Galleria Houston). Marshall Field's joined the mall in 1979, in a store designed by noted architect Philip Johnson. In 1986, a second major expansion, Galleria III, opened with a new wing to the west of Marshall Field's, anchored by Macy's. This brought the mall to almost 1.6 million ft².
In February 1989 the Galleria was 93% occupied, making it the mall with the fifth highest percentage of occupied space in the Houston area.
Marshall Field's sold its store to Saks Fifth Avenue in 1996, while the mall itself was sold by Hines Interests in 1999 to a partnership of Urban Shopping Centers, Inc. and institutional funds advised by Walton Street Capital, LLC. The Walton Street affiliated funds separately purchased the office and hotel buildings at this time. Urban, in turn, was purchased by Netherlands-headquartered real estate investment group Rodamco North America, N.V. in 2000. Rodamco sold part of its stake in 2001 to the real estate investment arm of CalPERS as it tried to thwart a hostile takeover by a consortium including The Westfield Group and Simon Property Group. Ultimately unsuccessful in preventing the buyout, Rodamco's ownership interest and management operation of the mall was acquired by Simon Property Group in early 2002.
During all these rapid ownership changes, development continued on a third expansion of the shopping center, known as Galleria IV. Completed in March 2003, it added 800,000 sq ft (74,000 m2) to the south, anchored by Nordstrom and Foley's, as well as an additional 70 stores. Upon completion of Galleria IV, the shopping mall totaled 2.4 million ft² (220,000 m²) of retail space which include many high-end boutiques, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Kate Spade, Cartier, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Jimmy Choo, Bvlgari, Valentino, Coach, Fendi, Chanel, Christofle, Tiffany & Co. Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Versace, Prada, and Tory Burch.
In January 2005, Lord & Taylor closed their store, with its former space being partially demolished and incorporated into the mall as an additional 100,000 ft² (9,300 m²) of retail space that opened in August 2006. This redevelopment included a Kona Grill, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Del Frisco's Steakhouse, Gigi's Asian Bistro, and nine other retail stores. During the reconstruction, some of the former Lord & Taylor infrastructure was recycled although a section of catwalks dating back to the Galleria II's 1976 expansion was demolished; this trend was similar to the Galleria IV's expansion in 2002.
In 2005, after the merger of the parent companies of Macy's and Foley's, it was announced that the Macy's store at Sage would close and that the Macy's will buy the Foley's. The Foley's was replaced by Macy's in September 2006, but the original Macy's continued to operate until 2014, both as separate full-line department stores.
In July 2019, Tru Kids announced that one of two Toys "R" Us stores being opened by that company as part of that toy retailer's recovery from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017 and its acquisition by Tru Kids, would be at The Galleria. (the other location was Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.) Eschewing the "warehouse" arrangement of previous stores, Toys "R" Us stores, these revamped versions are much smaller, and centered around open play areas, interactive displays and areas for special events and birthday parties. It opened on November 27th, 2019.
Anchors and storesEdit
- Macy's (250,000 sq ft., opened 2003 as Foley's, became Macy's in 2006)
- Neiman Marcus Flagship Store (224,000 sq ft., opened 1969)
- Nordstrom (226,000 sq ft., opened 2003)
- Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Store (210,000 sq ft., opened 1979 as Marshall Field's, closed 1996 and reopened as Saks Fifth Avenue in 1997)
Dillard's, which technically is not a part of the Galleria, is located across the street from Neiman Marcus. The store is linked to the Galleria by a pedestrian crosswalk (with a pedestrian-only traffic light at Post Oak Boulevard). This location ranks constantly among the highest grossing for Dillard's.
Lodging, offices and entertainmentEdit
The Galleria includes a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) ice skating facility with 80 feet (24 m) x 180-foot (55 m) rink. The rink, known as "Polar Ice" and originally built in 1970, was the first ever built inside a mall. The rink is positioned below the mall's central glass atrium which was originally added by Hines to increase the visibility of the stores in the lower level. There is a jogging track on the roof around the atrium with a view to this rink. About 50 restaurants and specialty food stores at all prices and service points are located throughout the Galleria complex.
Two hotels are located directly in the Galleria complex. The 400-room Houston Oaks Hotel opened in September 1971, soon after the opening of the first wing of the Galleria. The 500-room Galleria Plaza Hotel opened on November 18, 1977, soon after the opening the second wing. Both were managed from their opening by Western International Hotels. That chain was renamed Westin Hotels in 1981, and the hotels were renamed The Westin Galleria and The Westin Oaks in 1984.
The Galleria has three office towers with Galleria Financial Center acting as the hub of the mall where the shops and offices share a common atrium with glass elevators and offices overlooking the mall below. The Galleria Financial Center is occupied by many financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch, UBS AG, Citigroup, law offices, financial services companies and energy trading companies. The other two office buildings are Post Oak Tower, and the Galleria Tower. Additionally, Williams Tower is also connected by a walkway.
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