I joined a Facebook group a few months ago, “Collin Creek Mall: An era gone by”. It’s a place for discussion of a mall in Plano, Texas that has been slowly dying. But all is not lost or forgotten. There’s a handy list of all the stores that have ever been in that mall. I looked and verified such stores like Units (remember that knit fabric, modular clothing?), Glamour Shots and Frullati were listed. Countless other stores are included and will certainly bring back memories if you shopped at this mall.
But what’s unique about all of this is not that a mall is dying and getting completely transformed. This we expect. What is unexpected is a farewell party open to the public at this mall.
This farewell event took place on Friday, July 26, 2019. It was to celebrate the mall, the memories and its future. Here’s a look at the event details I received via email.
When my friend Tore and I arrived, we were shocked by the number of cars already there. If we didn’t know better, the mall was in the prime of its retail life.
There was a buzz in the air as crowds walked in, a feeling of excitement and anticipation. Yes, for a dying mall. The mall was full of families. Couples. Young and old. I half expected to see friends from my middle school and high school days. It was an impressive marketing feat to attract this many people to a dying mall on a Friday night.
Tore was more astute to this detail— the mall was very clean. We had been on random days to take pictures and it wasn’t as spotless. Today Collin Creek Mall looked like it had been spiffied up for its party.
We brought gifts. Yes, that’s right. Gifts. If you donated school supplies or made a cash donation to the Plano ISD, attendees would receive a piece of tile from the mall. We proudly handed the items in exchange for our piece of Collin Creek Mall history. I already collect hotel matchbooks and postcards, a piece of tile seems like the next logical item I would have in my collection.
The tile looked quite new, which puzzled me. The woman explained it was from a box of unused tiles from the last renovation the mall had undergone. I remember the floors in the mall getting updated so this tile makes sense.
There was a live band, the M80s, entertaining the crowd. (The mall opened in 1981 – 80s themed music was fitting for this event). There were crowds watching the band on the first floor as well as crowds collecting upstairs, watching from the food court. Once the music was right, Tore and I busted out in a cha-cha. That’s not something I would have imagined doing when the mall was in its prime. Times have changed.
There was free food – which was very generous on the part Centurion American, the hosts of this event. Face painting and balloons for the kids. There were even puppeteers getting ready for a show later in the evening. A large screen displayed social media posts reminiscing about the mall’s past. Such great attention to detail.
Someone made very good use of the electronic displays at the mall.
The real excitement came when Mr. Mehrdad Moayedi, the president and CEO of Centurion American came on stage. He’s the man responsible for renovating The Statler in Dallas, he’s currently renovating the Cabana Motor hotel and now Collin Creek Mall.
Based on his work on The Statler, I think he will do a tremendous job bringing new life and business to the Collin Creek Mall redevelopment project. We got to watch a short video showing a 3-D rendering of the new development. The project will include office, retail, restaurants, a hotel, single and multi-family homes as well as a park. There will be phases to the redevelopment project. The crowd received the news well.
Before wrapping up this blog, I’ll share a funny story.
Earlier in the evening, Mr. Moayedi was in the crowd and I spotted him just a few feet from me. I only know him from photos online. But I knew it was him. I was so taken aback. I didn’t expect to see him so accessible in the crowd – and just a few feet away. This was my unique opportunity to tell him how much I like and appreciate his attention to detail at The Statler. I am familiar with the hotel – I stayed there last December. I loved my room with the massive bathroom and all the beautiful fixtures. The 1950s décor, the bowling alley, the rooftop pool, the speakeasy with the telephone booth… there are so many cool features about this hotel. This was my chance to talk to the man responsible. But instead I froze. (facepalm here)
There’s always the grand re-opening event of Collin Creek to redeem myself.
More information can be found on the Collin Creek Mall website as well as the Centurion American website. Join the Facebook group, Collin Creek Mall: An era gone by, for some nostalgia. They are even selling Mall Rat t-shirts there.
You can also watch a video from the Dallas Morning News. You can play Where’s Waldo and try to find Tore and me. (hint: 0:27)
Here are the final photos when we left the party.