AKA: Gulfgate Shopping City, Houston, TX; Gulfgate Mall, Houston, TX

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - shopping malls

Designers: Graham, John and Company, Architects and Engineers (firm); John Graham Jr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1954-1956, demolished 2001

Houston, TX

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Seattle-based John Graham and Company designed the Gulfgate Shopping Center in Houston, TX, in 1954-1955, for a site at the crossing of the Gulf Freeway and US Interstate 610. It opened on 09/20/1956, with several anchor stores, including a 228,900-square-foot Joske's (a San Antonio-based department store established in 1867), a 128,900-square-foot Sakowitz (a retail chain founded by Tobias Sakowitz [1882–1970] and brother Simon [1883–1967] in Galveston, TX, in 1902), Weingarten's (a Houston grocery store chain dating back to 1901), and two five-and-dime stores, a 69,400-square-foot J.J. Newberry (a business founded by John Josiah Newberry [1877-1954] in Stroudsberg, PA, beginning in 1911) and W.T. Grant (created in Lynn, MA, by William Thomas Grant [1876-1972] n 1906). John Graham and Company, along with a handful of other key architects, such as Victor Gruen (1903-1980), Lathrop Douglass (d. 1981), William Pereira (1909-1985), Charles Luckman (1909-1999), and Welton D. Becket, Sr. (1902-1969), helped to perfect the commercial formula for the shopping center in the 1950s. Of this pioneering group, only Douglass practiced outside the West Coast, in CT. His son, Lathrop Howe Douglass (b. 1951), also an architect, resides in Seattle, WA.

At a cost of $1 million, the originally open shopping center was enclosed in 1965-1967, one of the earliest air-conditioned shopping malls in the US. The mall contained 72 stores at the time of enclosure and 81,000 square feet of shared mall space. It opened in Spring 1967.

Demolished; it was vacated in 2000, and torn down the following year. Other retail stores have been built on its site.

PCAD id: 18010