Real Estate

Simon Signals Confidence in Houston Retail with Galleria's $30M Upgrade

Simon Property Group announces multimillion-dollar Galleria renovation, set to complete by early 2025 with 155,000 sq ft of new flooring.

By Tal Alexander

5/21, 18:33 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Simon Property Group plans multimillion-dollar upgrades to Houston's Galleria, starting this summer and completing by early 2025.
  • Renovations include new entryways, LED lighting, redone ceilings, and 155,000 square feet of modern flooring.
  • The Galleria's resilience post-pandemic is highlighted by high-end tenants like Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci expanding their presence.

A Major Facelift for Texas' Largest Mall

The Galleria in Houston, Texas, is set to undergo transformative multimillion-dollar upgrades, as announced by Simon Property Group. This renovation project, slated to begin this summer and conclude by early 2025, aims to enhance the mall's aesthetics and functionality. Key improvements will include new entryways, contemporary LED lighting, redone ceilings, and the installation of approximately 155,000 square feet of modern flooring. These upgrades are designed to ensure The Galleria remains a premier shopping destination, setting industry standards for retail centers worldwide.

Details of the Renovation

The planned renovations at The Galleria will focus on the northward and eastward-facing valet entrances, aiming to create a more inviting and modern atmosphere for visitors. The project will involve significant aesthetic enhancements, including new entryways and contemporary LED lighting, as well as redone ceilings. Additionally, approximately 155,000 square feet of modern flooring will be installed throughout the mall. This extensive renovation follows the last major upgrade in 2017, which saw a $30 million investment transforming the former Saks Fifth Avenue store into Galleria VI, adding 110,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space.

Houston's Resilient Retail Market

The Galleria's renovation comes at a time when Houston's retail market is showing remarkable resilience. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, which accelerated the rise of e-commerce and negatively impacted shopping malls across the country, Houston's retail sector has remained robust. The Galleria, which spans over 2.4 million square feet and houses more than 400 stores, has continued to attract high-end tenants such as Dolce & Gabbana, Amiri, Maria Tash, Prada, Dior, and Alo Yoga. Luxury brands like Fendi and Saint Laurent have significantly expanded their footprints, and Gucci is currently developing a two-story concept at the mall.

Contrasting Trends in Houston's Office Market

While The Galleria is poised for a bright future, the office real estate market in Houston tells a different story. One Riverway, a 508,000-square-foot office tower in the Galleria area, is facing foreclosure due to low occupancy rates. The building, currently 61 percent occupied, has seen major tenants like Thompson Coe and Texas Capital Bank vacate, exacerbating its financial troubles. This situation reflects broader challenges in Houston's office market, where commercial foreclosures have surged by 129 percent year-over-year in March, with high vacancy rates and declining demand posing significant hurdles for property owners.

Broader Implications for Real Estate

The contrasting fortunes of The Galleria and One Riverway highlight the shifting dynamics in the real estate market. While retail spaces like The Galleria are investing in modernization to attract and retain high-end tenants, office properties are struggling with occupancy and financial viability. The pandemic has accelerated changes in work habits, reducing demand for traditional office spaces and prompting property owners to rethink their strategies. This trend is evident not only in Houston but also in other major markets, such as New York, where properties like 340 Madison Avenue are facing similar challenges.

Management Quotes

  • Mark Silvestri, Simon Property Group:

    "The upgrades are meant to ensure the center continues to raise the bar and set the industry standard for premier centers across the world."