Armed with my
gun camera, trying to avoid a run in with zombies mall security, I took a walk through Highland Mall today. I can’t remember the last time I had stepped foot inside the now eerily empty mall before today, but my best guess is that it was sometime in college. Back in the early 2000′s it was still a pretty busy mall and the only one that contained a Forever 21 (an essential store for a girl in school.) But it was during the 80s and 90s that Highland Mall was really in it’s prime. It’s weird now to look back and think about how it used to be. I admit that I have issues with understanding time and how long ago something happened…I’ll blame this on the fact that I have a really big imagination and a fairly good memory. So, to me, it really does feel like just yesterday that I was shopping in Highland Mall with my mom looking for a dress to wear to one of my middle school dances. For me, it was always a happy place and I spent a lot of time there as a kid during my frequent trips to Austin. But as I have grown up and changed, so has Highland Mall.
Today walking around the mall, you feel like you are in a post-Apocalyptic world. The weirdest thing about it, besides the fact that there are hardly any people there, is that there are any people there at all. Most of the stores are closed, and of course the big department stores have been gone for quite some time now. But there are actually still some lingering stores and even a few food court restaurants open for business (which is completely mind boggling.) During my visit it was scarily quiet there, but when I made my way to the other end of the mall I began to hear some music and some children’s laughter. Already in the mindset that I was in some sort of horror movie, you can only imagine how creeped out I was to hear tiny laughter and then see a magician. Apparently on certain days the mall is used as a venue for magic shows. I have no idea why.
As for the future of Highland Mall, Austin Community College, who finished purchasing the property about a year ago, is apparently now starting to work on renovations to revitalize the space and hope to have some of the educational facilities up and running by 2014. I wonder what this area will be like in the future…
keep austin stylish