La Plaza Mall Expansion Survival Guide

People are always surprised when I tell them McAllen ranks #1 in Retail Sales Per Household in Texas. These are the same people that are surprised when they can’t find parking at the mall on a Saturday afternoon.

Since opening in 1976, La Plaza Mall has been the retail leader in Deep South Texas, and if you haven’t noticed yet, it’s undergoing a major facelift, adding new junior anchor stores, specialty shops, restaurants, and much-needed parking garages.

If you want to know what the heck is going on with the construction at the mall, this article is for you. After reading the Mall Expansion Survival Guide, you will be able to navigate unpredictable detours and plan your weekly shopaholics anonymous meetings at the food court with confidence.

First things first, you need to park, and La Plaza Mall knows this. The first of two parking decks has been completed, with the two-level deck adjacent to Macy’s opening just before the Christmas rush. The second two-level deck is under construction on the west side of the mall and will serve JC Penney, Dillard’s and other retails stores. Both much-needed parking garages will add approximately 2,000 spots, and will hopefully put an end to stalking people in the parking lot.

The most important part of the mall expansion is the addition of retail space. La Plaza Mall will add approximately 250,000 square feet to its existing 1.2 million square feet of upscale retail space. Mall management has been tight-lipped about potential tenants of the 40 to 50 new specialty stores, which will include 4 junior anchor stores. What is a junior anchor? A junior anchor store is retail shop with about 20- 30,000 square feet of space. Think H&M, Urban Outfitters or Zara…I’m not saying, I’m just saying. I’ll leave that open for speculation, but I already have my retail wish list set. Do you think Apple knows its nearest retail store to McAllen, and Monterrey for that matter, is in San Antonio?

Fun Fact: After the mall expansion, La Plaza Mall will rank on the list of Top 10 Largest Malls in Texas.

My favorite part about trips to the mall is eating at the food court. La Plaza Mall recently upgraded its food court, renaming the haven for hungry shoppers, La Plaza Cafes. The upcoming dining plaza will features 5 first-to-market restaurants, including two with a well-appointed terrace for al fresco dining. The full-service restaurants are expected to service non-mall eaters and drinkers as well, keeping kitchens open after mall operating hours. Again, mall management is keeping the lineup of potential tenants under wraps, but if you’ve ever seen a Cheesecake Factory or Kona Grill (cough, cough), then you know what possible suitors could look like.

Macy’s at La Plaza Mall

Did you know? Construction on Expressway 83 (Hwy 2) will begin on January 1, 2017.  The plan includes adding an overpass at Bicentennial Blvd and raising the existing overpasses on 10th & 23rd Streets 18 inches.  The project is expected to take 18 months to complete.

You don’t spend hours in the gym and keep a strict diet, only to not buy new clothes and show it off, do you? The same goes for the mall expansion. It plans to upgrade interior and exterior lighting, flooring, skylights while upgrading restrooms and outdoor landscaping to enhance the shopping experience.

The highly anticipated mall expansion is no easy task and will happen in phases, so major interruptions in shopping can be avoided. Mall-goers can expect most of the improvements and additions as early as fall 2017.

Which stores would you like to see at La Plaza Mall? Leave your recommendations in the comments below. 

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