A Suggestion for a Plano Mall Renovation.
Let's get something straight, I'm not talking about Collin Creek Mall. Let that mall die (as if it hasn't already). Instead, I propose that the Plano Market Square Mall off of highway 75 and Spring Creek Parkway be renovated. Someone call the Property Brothers.
Plano Market Square Mall was built 1983 and thrived for a short time before losing a lot of its business and retailers in the 21st century. My first visit to this mall (to my recollection) was 2010, where even then it was in decline.
The main attraction for many was the At Home store (Garden Ridge then) until the last couple of years when they moved out. Stores have come and gone and in its current state, only a handful of stores remain among the emptiness.
One might ask why I still visit this near-abandoned mall and the answer is simple: the Plano Antique Mall. The antique store sits to your right when entering the west entrance of the mall. As everything else in the mall may be disappearing, the antiquing portion has been a staple for years, and it's really a great antique shop.
As a self-proclaimed avid thrift and antique shopper, I can confidently say that this is one of the best in the area. It scares me to think that the roughness and emptiness of the property may one day weigh down on the Plano Antique Mall itself, causing it to shut down. I really love this property.
Having said that, here's my idea.
The layout of the mall was made to look like you're outside with plants, outdoor lamps, random brick flooring, and various murals.
Imagine this: you fill the space with every kind of bar and weird store that you can think of. Hipster the hell out of it, but not in a terrible, pretentious uptown way. Put in a concept bar like Free Play or Barcadia, and fill it with old and new arcade games. Put in a book store and magic shop like the ones in downtown McKinney.
Take those old kiosks and exclusively let Etsy-like artists buy them out for a week at a time so that it stays fresh. You're going to need a Boba Tea spot and two non-chain coffee shops. Let local artists come in and paint more murals, but don't cover the current ones.
Let's get to the large space that was once the At Home store.
There are so many possibilities here. The skateboarder inside of me says, "BUILD A SKATEPARK," but I realize that's a gigantic space to fill and may not make sense to the overall atmosphere and vision for the renovation. A large indoor "outdoor" park I think would flow really well with the concept, it could double as an indoor dog park for people who want to walk their dogs when it's raining, too hot, etc.
It could also be an arboriculturist and general nature enthusiast's dream with gardens, trees, and other plant life. Add an open field, lots of natural light, and some birds for the overall aesthetics. Find a way for all of this to benefit a few charities, like a percentage of all sales within the updated mall go toward a charity of your choice. Do this and I think a really unique place will have been created.
Also, the more outdoor social spaces you add to your city, the better. Parks are more beneficial to cities than commercial businesses are and make people overall, a lot happier. With that in mind, this is a way to do both and save an otherwise barren mall. I know I, for one, want to see this piece of Plano's history saved in the right way.