HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — As stores and restaurants continue to close at the Valle Vista Mall, the community said it is sad to see the mall slowly lose its liveliness, as well as any hope of saving it.
Mall-goers like Nicole Luna said, “I like coming to the mall. Yes, I brought my friends with me and it’s pretty sad to see the mall is slowly dying.” John Gonzalez and Christian Vasquez agreed, “over the years I don’t know it just like depleted.” said Vasquez.
Harlingen City Commissioner District 5 Rene Perez said a big part of the issue has to do with the mall’s new owners, Kohan Retail Investment Group, based in New York.
“It’s very frustrating because we expected more from the owners and a lot of people tend to blame the city and say why isn’t the city doing something? Well, the thing is, it’s private property. We are limited on what we can do,” said Perez.
In 2018, the new owner, Mike Kohan told ValleyCentral “all we care about is to increase the traffic in the mall.” However, Perez said that has not happened.
“I do not think it’s been revitalized, I think it’s an eyesore.” Perez adds, “the owners have not done a really good job. It seems to me that they’re just trying to get as much money as they can from it.”
Perez also said he has concerns over the upkeep of the mall.
“I was listening to my wife about how the grass was about two or three feet high and I was just like really, that alone just shows the kind of care these owners are taking of the Valle Vista Mall,” said Perez.
When the mall does make a comeback, Perez said it might look the way people remember it.
“If it’s going to come back as a mixture of things it might be retail, it might be some office buildings, no it’s some, I heard of some universities looking at the mall to maybe to perhaps have a satellite office,” said Perez.
Editors note: Perez said he will be speaking with the head of Harlingen Economic Development Cooperation about the revitalization of the mall and its future plans.
KVEO reached out to the owners for comment and was able to schedule an interview. But after calling several times we did not hear anything back and are still waiting for a comment.