Windsor Park Mall in Northeast San Antonio was San Antonio’s Sixth Mall and it’s third largest. The project was announced Thursday January 10, 1974 by Melvin Simon & associates. It opened 2 years later with Grand Opening celebrations on July 29, 1976. It opened with 90 out of 116 shops occupied with the rest coming online with in three months.
Some of the stores included were: The Limited, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Montgomery Wards, Joske’s, Lerner Shops, Miller’s outpost, The Athlete’s foot, Zales, Wyatt’s Cafeteria, Casual Corner, Jeans West, The Wild Pair, Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Spencer Gifts, and Fredrick’s of Hollywood. It was a nice mall for all price points, from the Christian Dior and furs available at Joske’s to novelty items at Spencer’s. 1985 brought the addiiton of a Mervyn’s department store.
In 1987 Joske’s was bought out by Dillard’s and Simon took the opprotunity to turn the Joske’s into a food court on the upper level and Dillard’s remodeled the lower level into a home store and moved their furniture and housewares there from the main store. The food court was centrally located, and included a Dairy Queen, Chick-fil-a, corn dog place, pizza place, Subway, and a gameroom.
In 1989 Simon opened Rolling Oaks Mall about 7 miles away. Coinciding with the opening of Rolling Oaks was the remodeling of Windsor Park. This firmly took Windsor Park into the 1990’s. The remodeling included new skylights, marble floors, new fountains and removal of some 1976 era sculptures. It was a worthwhile improvment unfortunately it included no exterior remodeling leaving it Windsor stuck in the mid 1970’s. In 1992 on a city bus park and ride two gangs exchanged fire one bullet struck a 62 year old woman killing her. This signaled a decline into crime. Later in 1994, a shooting in the actual mall involving juveniles disrupted the holiday shopping season. Simon acted too little and too late to respond to the violence. Stores left the mall in droves as did shoppers.
In the late 1990s, Windsor Park still had all it’s anchors though. Wards did extensive remodeling and became one of the most profitable in the chain with 110% increases in sales. Suddenly things were looking up, stores started to move back in, then wards declared bankruptcy and closed its store for the last time. Fast forward to 2001 Mervyn’s remodels and a new 16 screen Regal theater is annoucned. December 2001 is once of the worst Christmases in recent retail history. Dillard’s announces that it will close it’s main store, the home store has already been closed and relocated to the main store. It closed at the end of Jan 2002. Windsor is a shell of what is once was. In Fall of 2002 Simon sells the mall to Whichard out of North Carolina. In late 2003, JCPenney announces a new store at Rolling Oaks, and says that the Windsor Park store will stay open. In June 2004, JCPenney announces that Windsor Park store will close in the fall when Rolling Oaks store opens. Only Mervyn’s was left, but it closes with no warning or closing sales on August 31 2005.
This was originally posted on DeadMalls.com and is Cody Shawver’s commentary from December 3, 2005.