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January 13th, 2010Changes underway for once-popular local mall

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by Kevin Quinn

Houston, TX — A once popular shopping spot has slowly gone downhill. Now, big changes are in the works for the former Sharpstown Mall. Developers are hoping to bring people back to the mall, and help out the community.

New shops and other features are going in at the mall off of Highway 59 and Bellaire, and it’s even being renamed the PlazAmericas. On a day when the old signs for Sharpstown Center are coming down, the new signs for what is now PlazAmericas go up.

PlazAmericas spokesperson Chris Chumley said, “Anybody who knows the back story to the mall knows that it’s been distressed for a number of years.”

Chumley is with Grupo Zocalo, the retail arm of Houston-based Boxer Properties, which specializes in turning around distressed properties. When acquired by the group in February, only 40 % of the mall was occupied. The roof leaked and only one of the seven escalators worked. A $10 million renovation project is being done here to make the facility, cleaner, safer and more attractive, particularly to the Hispanic community.

Chumley said, “Fifty-two percent of the population within a three mile radius is Hispanic. The mall has not been traditionally used by the population, the hispanic population that’s within a close proximity to it.”

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