The contemporary new interior's neutral palette will replace the former thematic warehouse vibe.
The food court will be reimagined as a Dining Pavilion. (Photos courtesy of Simon Group.)
In the era of online shopping, it’s not uncommon to see once-busy malls turn into retail ghost towns. But while some malls are falling by the wayside, others are fighting back with dramatic new visions.
Katy Mills mall is one such shopping center. It’s in for a massive overhaul. The popular Houston area shopping destination is getting fine tuned with a three-phase, multimillion-dollar mega facelift.
By the end of 2018, the interior of the mall will be largely unrecognizable. By 2020, the idea is that you’ll see a entirely new mall with Katy Mills’ exterior and signage both having new looks.
After four years of planning, the revamp of the Simon Group mall kicks off next month. The renovation will be done area by area, starting up high with overhead work and going down (the floors will be last). The sections will be remodeled piece by piece.
“Katy Mills Mall opened in 1999 and became the economic engine of Katy,” Katy mayor Chuck Brawner says. “Today, it’s still the economic engine.” Katy Mills general manager James Ross agrees.
“I think being the largest value shopping destination in south Texas will just continue on,” Ross says.
Ross believes Katy Mills is still a significant economic asset, as well as a vital social gathering place. “These significant enhancements are all driven by the community, and our loyal shoppers who are our highest priority,” he says.
And they want more than just stores. “Shoppers demand an experience,” Ross adds.
The upgrades will span from aesthetic touches to entire area revamps. The mall is trading in its colorful, zany 1990s decor and color palette for a polished design composed of contemporary neutrals.
The emphasis is on “really the brightness of the center,” Ross says. “We’re looking to modernize it with LED lights. We’re going to put in fresh neutrals to really brighten it up.”
Simon Mills senior vice president, property management Mike Romstad thinks the customers will be pleased by updated elements such as floating ceilings. The timeless additions will “take away some of the warehouse framing,” that’s in place now. It’s goodbye to the heavy theming.
Paint will be freshened up throughout the property, and porcelain tiles will replace the ones laid almost 20 years ago.
“The two areas I’m most excited about are the dining pavilion and the play area,” Ross says. “I’ve seen how we upgrade our dining pavilions, and it’s really a beautiful feature.” The food court will be redeveloped as a Dining Pavilion with family-style seating. The play area will be completely redesigned.
The construction will be fast-moving, Ross adds, with customers able to see what’s being worked on “without their flow being interrupted.” The mall’s stores will stay open unless they are undergoing their own renovations.
There’s no word yet if new stores will be joining the shiny new digs.
“We’re constantly working on upgrading our tenants,” Romstad says. “We kind of like to keep that close to vest. New retail is opening up, and this will be a canvas for that.”