Mayor Parker's New Push For Downtown Retail, As Macy's Announces Closure

flickr photo by kalebdf
Macy's announced today that it’s closing its store in downtown Houston. After more than 65 years as a department store, the building at the corner of Main and Dallas will be converted to office space. The news of Macy's closure coincides with the mayor's office announcing a new task force to find ways to create, and keep, more retail downtown.

Mayor Annise Parker says her office has known for months that Macy's days at 1110 Main were numbered.  But the company wants to stay downtown, with a smaller, reconfigured store.

"Macy's is losing the lease, and the owner of that piece of property wants to build something else on that site.  That's a really good thing for downtown.  But we believe that losing that big chunk of retail downtown is not a good thing for the long-term future prospects of Houston.  And, so, we're going to see what we can do in that relocation — looking for a new site."

Parker says the new Downtown Retail Task Force isn't just about helping Macy's.  It's also about providing more essential services for the thousands of people who live in the area.

"The rooftops have finally come in, or beginning to come in, and will really jump forward in the next year.  But you have to have the retail to go with it.  And that will beget more interest in people living downtown."

The task force is made up mostly of developers, along with retail experts, and people with deep knowledge of downtown Houston.  The mayor says the focus will not be on offering incentives to lure more businesses.  Rather, the group will talk with existing businesses to find out what works, what doesn't work, and what can be done to make downtown more retail-friendly.

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...