When a Tree Falls in Central Austin, Can You Hear Macy's Slamming Shut?
Macy's announces the closing of its Highland Mall location
By Anne Harris,
5:44PM, Wed. Jan. 5, 2011
Beleaguered Highland Mall received what must spell the final blow to relevant retail presence there when it was announced yesterday that Macy's, the final department store anchor for the mall, would close its doors there in the coming months.
The location was originally home to Joske's, which became Foley's in 1979. Foley's then sold its Texas stores to Macy's in 2006. That same year, when JCPenney closed its longtime location at Highland in favor of a stand-alone location on I-35 in Pflugerville, there were already obvious gaps in the hallways of the mall that were becoming more and more difficult to camouflage with black paper and rubber plants. When FEMA selected JCPenney's former storefront entrance for its Austin headquarters, neighborhood shoppers had reason to worry. Then, in 2009, when the heady weeks of everything-must-go merchandise, and then overstock from other stores was finally over, Dillard's was gone, leaving one end of Highland Mall visibly abandoned. Goodbye Hanes pantyhose, goodbye Lancome! Indeed, a recent stop by the mall for last-minute holiday issues revealed that suddenly, Gap and Forever 21 were gone like they had pulled up stakes in the night.
Earlier this year, Austin Community College purchased eighteen acres of the Dillard's property to expand its programs and facilities, answering any questions about the visibly abandoned east end of the mall.
Central Austinites accustomed to the convenience of mall staples like Hot Topic, Charlotte Russe, Victoria's Secret (whose unctions are smelling up the place stronger than ever), and Wet Seal might have to commute to shop, like consumers of books, recorded music, fabric, shoes, clothing, and kosher food currently must. Meanwhile, Macy's also announced today that close-outs will begin on Sunday, January 9 and last for approximately 10 weeks. This probably means more overstock from other stores in later weeks, so don't hang up your shopping spurs too soon.