CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) — Katy Mills Mall, one of the city’s key attractions and economic generators, will undergo a multi-million-dollar redevelopment starting at the end of April.
The announcement, made Thursday morning, follows four years of discussions between city officials and Simon Malls of Indianapolis, which owns Katy Mills. Officials declined to give a specific price of the redevelopment.
Michael Romstad, Simon Malls executive vice president for property management, said the renovations should be substantially finished by the end of this year.
“All the work will happen overnight,” Romstad said. “There won’t be any inconveniences because the work will happen after hours.”
Work in the higher level of the mall will be the first phase of the project, with work moving down to the ground level as things develop. Mall visitors can expect to see light fixtures and tiles removed, and primer on the walls as the mall undergoes redevelopment.
Officials expect the changes, which include a complete interior renovation, to modernize and create a brighter atmosphere in the mall.
Internal changes include updating and recasting the food court into a dining pavilion, new lounge areas, and improved LED lighting. Romstad said that reducing the carbon footprint was a factor in the mall redevelopment.
Other changes include a refreshed children’s play area, new flooring and updated way-finding signage to help people located their entertainment, restaurant and store choices.
Romstad said mall customers will still be able to get around and shop at their favorite stores during redevelopment. The stores themselves may undergo their own renovations during this time, he said, but that would be up to the individual businesses.
Romstad described the mall as one of Simon Mall’s premier assets.
“We’re investing to make sure it remains a market-dominant shopping center,” Romstad said.
The mall has more than 175 stores and opened in 1999. It has long been an attraction for Katy residents and visitors. City officials said that the mall’s opening put Katy on a solid economic footing thanks to the city sales taxes raised, and enabled the city to keep property taxes low.
The facility’s importance becomes more compelling given that the mall industry has undergone challenges in recent years thanks in part to the popularity of online shopping.
“Simon could have pulled out,” Mayor Chuck Brawner said. “Malls are a different thing these days, but this one is doing well.”
Both Romstad and Brawner said the relationship between Simon Malls and the city was extremely important.
“It’s a great relationship, and we look forward to it continuing,” Romstad said.
Brawner agreed, and said if the relationship wasn’t great, Simon wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars to upgrade the mall.
“If we don’t work with those Simon folks, what’s going to happen to the building?” Brawner asked, adding that he didn’t want a “mushroom farm or something else.”
The redevelopment will have a positive impact on the mall’s revenue, and the sales taxes collected by the city. Romstad also noted that the project creating construction jobs which is good for the local economy.
Redeveloping the mall is one of a number of economic projects on the city’s south side. Construction crews last May began the first phase of development for the Katy Boardwalk Project, a site that will have a convention center, garage, hotel, 650 loft living spaces, a nature preserve, restaurants and a retail plaza.
Brawner said the Boardwalk and Katy Mills are connected economically given that each facility will be neighbors on Kingsland Boulevard.
“They’re going to complement each other,” Brawner said, adding that they will help Katy become a destination city.
“A lot of people who go to conventions, especially in the summertime, Mom and the kids come with Dad,” Brawner said. While Dad attends the convention, he said, Mom and the kids can go shopping at the mall or enjoy the waterpark. Eventually, the city plans to incorporate a trolley to shuttle people to downtown to see the attractions there.
New Features Summary:
- -Food Court will be completely updated and redesigned into a new Dining Pavilion which will include a fresh color palette; new furniture; family-style seating; new porcelain tile flooring, and LED lighting.
- -New lounge areas with soft seating, giving shoppers the opportunity to relax and recharge during shopping breaks.
- -Improved lighting throughout the center with illuminated ceiling fixtures featuring state-of-the-art LED lighting.
- -A refreshed children’s play area.
- -Fresh, neutral paint throughout the center.
- -New porcelain tile flooring.
- -Updated way-finding signage to further assist shoppers in locating stores, restaurants, and entertainment.
See additional images below.