McALLEN — Fountains and palm trees line the new entrance to the $50 million expansion at La Plaza Mall. Outdoor seating for new restaurants overlook the foliage, turf and an open space the mall might use for small shows or concerts.
The new wing of the mall will feature shopping destinations such as H&M, Zara and Kendra Scott and restaurants such as Yard House, Texas de Brazil and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The Simon Malls property will have rolling openings, with the initial one Wednesday.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Reeds Jewelers and Sharol Shoes open Wednesday. Other stores will open periodically over the coming weeks and months. Kendra Scott is set for Nov. 10, Texas de Brazil on Nov. 14, H&M on Nov. 16 and Zara, Yard House and Palenque Grill expected to open in 2018, officials said. Other businesses will open in November, December and the coming year, but further details haven’t been announced yet.
A large part of the expansion wing will be devoted to a holiday area for children and families. Once the holiday season concludes, construction will begin on more businesses. Once the expansion is totally complete, there will be more than 25 new retailers and five new restaurants at the mall.
“Look at this,” Robert Luciano, general manager of La Plaza Mall, said. “It brings us to a whole new level.”
Not only did the mall expand, but every mall entrance has been renovated, or will be soon. New lighting and flooring were also installed. Finally, and perhaps most critically, 2,000 new parking spaces have been added.
A 740-space parking garage that connects to Macy’s opened nearly a year ago while a new parking deck with 1,260 spots connected to Dillard’s will open this week.
Victoria Gonzalez relocated from Kendra Scott’s Austin headquarters to her native Rio Grande Valley to run the store at La Plaza.
“This is our first location south of San Antonio and it’s a perfect fit,” Gonzalez said outside the new store as she saw it for the first time. “I’m thrilled to be back in the Valley and this new expansion is beautiful.”
Hannah Thompson, director of marketing and public relations with Texas de Brazil, flew in from Dallas for the opening. As the restaurant was finishing construction earlier this week, Thompson explained that the churrascaria, or steakhouse, will be conveniently equipped for the mall.
“With this being the eighth location in Texas, we provide plenty of options,” Thompson said. “We have continuous meat service and a 50-item salad bar.”
“I’m hungry already,” Luciano said.