Pearland Town Center opens to excitement, crowds
By ROBERT STANTON Houston Chronicle
July 30, 2008, 3:43PM
Kathleen Stross said she waited for what seemed an eternity for Pearland Town Center to open.
She was among the thousands who attended the opening ceremonies Wednesday at the new open-air mall at the corner of Texas 288 and FM 518 in Pearland.
"I'm really excited that Pearland finally has shopping that we used to have to drive all the way to (Houston) for," said Stross, 41, a physical therapist who lives in Pearland. "As I travel around the country, I see malls like this that attract visitors and the locals alike."
She said she's excited by the restaurants and clothing stores the mall has to offer.
"I see all my favorite stores all down the street, and there's things for the kids," she said.
Pearland Town Center has been described as a mixed-use lifestyle center that combines fashion retail, restaurants, office space, apartments, a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, an outdoor pavilion for public events and a 22-acre lake.
The mall is anchored by a 140,000-square-foot Macy's, which opened today, and Dillard's, which won't be open until the fall.
As she surveyed the crowds, Pearland Town Center general manager Teir Allender predicted it would attract visitors from throughout the Greater Houston area, especially further south.
"I think our biggest draw regionally will come from the Lake Jackson area and Manvel and Alvin," Allender said. "The curiosity, I think, will initially draw people to all the stores that are opening. People who live out on Highway 6, between here and Missouri City, now have a choice on which way they're going to go."
The grand opening had the feel of an outdoor festival, as marching bands played and street performers performed.
"I think it's really fun," said Morgan Duran, 7, a second-grader at Mary Marek Elementary in Pearland. "I like the bands. I like everything here."
Dawson High School principal David Moody was at the mall to watch the school's band perform.
"They're excited just to get a chance to come out and show their colors and show their support for the community," he said.
Charles Lebovitz, chairman and chief executive officer of CBL & Associates, the mall's developers, predicted it would be successful, despite a sagging national economy.
"We have a really good strong economic base in the Pearland area," Lebovitz said. "Yes, the economy is challenging, but a lot of these people are working in the (Texas) Medical Center and NASA and at local businesses that are very healthy.
"The retailers who are in Pearland Town Center are also healthy," he said. "We have the types of retailers that can do very well in this economic environment."
Alvin resident Bebe Boun said she's "super excited" by the mall's opening.
"It's different and it's not like the ordinary mall. It reminds me of a New York, with all the stores outside and shopping," said Boun, 23, who works in the library at Alvin Community College. "I love the whole place, the way it looks. I'll recommend it to all my friends."