Sunrise Mall is a two-story, enclosed shopping mall in Corpus Christi, Texas. It is located at the intersection of Airline Dr. & S. Padre Island Drive. Anchor stores include Burlington Coat Factory, Sears and Wilcox Furniture. Other tenants include Cinemark Dollar Cinemas, Planet Fitness and New Life Church (formerly The Summit Church).
With construction crews breaking ground on November 1, 1979, Sunrise Mall was built over a 15-month period in the early 1980s on property less than 1,000 feet from the existing Padre Staples Mall (now La Palmera). Grand opening ceremonies were held on February 4, 1981, with Joske's, Frost Bros. and Sears as the mall's primary anchors. An H-E-B grocery store, present before the mall's opening, was on site. In its early years, the mall competed well against nearby Padre Staples Mall. Despite its close proximity to a competing mall, most retailers chose to locate duplicate locations within the new mall rather than close their existing ones. The mall flourished during the early 1980s, earning minor fame as a filming location for the film The Legend of Billie Jean.
In response to a renovation and expansion of Padre Staples Mall, management began a major expansion and renovation in 1987 which was to add a new anchor store, Mervyn's, a movie theater, a nautical-themed food court, and two parking garages. In the midst of their renovations, however, Sunrise was dealt a blow when Joske's was purchased by Dillard's. Already having a location at Padre Staples Mall, Dillard's management chose to close the Sunrise Mall location, leaving Sunrise with one of their major anchor stores vacant. Montgomery Ward, however, stepped in and took over the location in November of the same year
In April 1988, just two months after completing renovations, Frost Bros. announced that they were closing their Corpus Christi location due to financial difficulties. Problems began to beset the retailers at Sunrise almost immediately. Many retailers were already finding it difficult to justify operating two stores within such proximity to one another. Gradually, major retailers began to migrate back to Padre Staples Mall. In 1990, the now closed H-E-B store on the property was connected to the mall by a corridor and re-opened as a Stein Mart, adding a sixth anchor store to the property.
After more than four years, the Frost Bros. location was taken over in 1992 by Burlington Coat Factory, a retailer not normally associated with being a major mall anchor. Despite this, major retailers continued to leave the mall. The collapse of Montgomery Ward in 2000 along with the closing of Mervyn's in 2006 left Sunrise with two major anchor spaces vacant. A series of ownership and management changes left the mall mostly vacant by 2007, leaving a few non-traditional mall tenants such as an insurance agency, an unemployment office, and a medical clinic. Wilcox Furniture, a local chain, opened in late 2007, occupying a portion of the previous Montgomery Ward anchor store.
The mall fell into serious neglect in early 2008, including an incident in which the power was cut off by Reliant Energy due to the owner failing to pay the facility's electricity bill. After a brief legal battle and a bankruptcy filing, the mall was foreclosed upon in September 2008. But is currently still open and running with few businesses open.
Sunrise Mall was purchased at a foreclosure auction by Laredo, Texas-based IBC Bank, the mall's largest creditor, in September 2008. A new management team was brought in to revitalize the facility and to market the mall to new tenants. Many improvements have been made, including a new air conditioning system and a professional security staff. Notably, the fountains, which were prominently featured in the film The Legend of Billie Jean, have been restored to working condition after years of being inoperable.
The mall's only original anchor tenant is Sears, whose construction predated the mall's by 5 years. The only original non-anchor tenant was General Nutrition Centers, but was closed in early 2008.
As of March 2013, the mall has become nearly dead, albeit clean and well-maintained, but housing very few stores which lack business severely. The mall's escalators are all shut down, leaving only a few elevators and staircases to help people to the second floor. The upstairs food court has been reduced to 1 open restaurant, Orange Creations. Among the major attractions left are the anchor stores, movie theater, arcade, mini-golf, two gyms, bridal stores, and the rarely open Model Railroad Display. At Christmastime, Santa comes to the mall's center. The famed fountains are currently running and well-maintained as well.