A Shopping Mall Developer Is Mirroring 1950s Small-Town America for Latino Clientele

Bill Vourvoulias, Fox News Latino, May 27, 2014

A mariachi band playing in a courtyard. A small stall that sells herbs that are supposed to help with various maladies and candles that promise to bring good luck. A stage with dancers in traditional dresses. A food court that smells like tamales and pozole.

No, this isn’t a zócalo somewhere in Mexico. It’s a shopping mall in the heart of the United States — Fort Worth, Texas, to be precise. And the mall, which not so long ago was more than three-quarters empty, is now thriving.

Malls across America are in trouble, but José de Jesús Legaspi, a Mexican-American commercial developer and consultant based in California thinks he knows the solution: Hispanics and Latino spending power.

José de Jesús Legaspi

José de Jesús Legaspi

Currently there are about 1,100 malls in the United States. There have been no new malls constructed since 2006 or so, and some 400 malls have shut down since 2007, with another couple of hundred bound to shrivel in use and close within the next 20 years, according to Business Insider.

Part of the problem is that consumers are looking for more of a community feel, Legaspi believes.

“The mall model still can work,” Legaspi told Fox News Latino recently. “If they become more like cultural or community centers that also offer shopping opportunities, malls can continue to thrive.”

For decades, Legaspi has been putting his money where his mouth is.

The first time that he helped turn a distressed shopping area into a Latino community center was in the late 1980s on Fourth Street in downtown Santa Ana, Calif.

Sometimes, as with Santa Ana, it’s as a consultant but frequently now he weaves his transformative magic on properties, like La Gran Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas, that are owned and operated by his Legaspi Company.

Either way, the process is the same.

“We seek out demographic areas that are largely Hispanic in nature,” Legaspi said. “Then we identify shopping centers in those areas that are dying.”

Legaspi, 61, pointed out that Hispanic consumers tend to go to malls more frequently than non-Latinos, and they spend more on groceries, cosmetics and clothing than other groups do.


So Legaspi malls court local vendors as well as national chains. Instead of worrying about anchor stores like Sears and J.C. Penney, he makes sure to get a variety of price-point and type of retail, including one supermarket.

The idea being “to create one-stop shopping,” he said.

Legaspi centers have stages on which mariachis or other musical groups can perform. There is plenty of seating and a never-ending string of health fairs, job fairs, cultural performances—“anything and everything,” as he described it.

And people seem to respond. When the Legaspi Company bought La Gran Plaza in 2004, only 20 percent of its 1,200,000 square feet was occupied by tenants. Within two years that figure was at 80 percent. It’s now 90.

The company now owns and operates eight commercial shopping centers larger than 300,000 square feet and various smaller ones from California to Georgia.

At all of them, Legaspi said, “I try to create a sense of community, a sense of culture.”

He added, “It’s not unlike what things used to be like in small-town America in the 1950s with the band shells and the music on Sundays.”

Except with a decidedly Latin flavor.


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  • propagandaoftruth

    Right of free association. Nothing wrong with groups doing there thing. As long as it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my arm…enjoy the burritos.

    Illegal immigration, however, picks my pocket and breaks my arm.

    • JackKrak

      Exactly. Let them all go to the Mexi Mall. It will help to turn the places where I shop into something more like what I remember before the flood of undocumented Democrats started in earnest.

    • Hal K

      So does legal immigration.

      • propagandaoftruth

        Too much, of course. I’m kind of liking 1920’s levels as a goal.

        • Stan D Mute

          Why? Why is ANY immigration necessary at this point? Why not gut the government so white American families can afford children? Why not establish a tax system that encourages middle class families to have children while discouraging single motherhood and strongly discouraging welfare baby factories?

          If ANY immigration is considered, require either wealth sufficient to guarantee neither the immigrant nor his family will ever require public assistance (many countries do this) or specific special skills/knowledge considered crucial to America’s growth (many countries do this as well).

          • propagandaoftruth

            1920’a levels were pretty low…

    • They should do their thing in Mexico. That would be better, I think. Oh, wait, they can’t because Mexico is a third world hell hole.

      • Stan D Mute

        Mexico is “a third world hell hole”? Really? When were you last there to check things out?

        Mexico has no rampant immigration problem. The Central Americans who manage to sneak in are rounded up roughly and sent packing. Legal immigrants must show they are rich enough so as to never require assistance or show special skills the nation needs. Immigrants are constitutionally forbidden from any political activity. Everything available here is available there and usually less expensive. You can start a business there without begging permission from thirty different government agencies. If you are moderately successful and law-abiding, the government leaves you alone. There are stunningly beautiful cities, beaches, mountains, etc. Of course no place is perfect and Mexican slums are pretty rough. But compared to American slums like Detroit, most would prefer the Mexican slum – especially considering they don’t suck trillions of dollars from productive citizens the way American slums do. One of mexico’s biggest problems is the narco crime epidemic with truly appalling and barbaric crimes over the multi-billion dollar trade routes from South America to the USA. But if one is not in the way of the narcos, the risk is not too great. For a FAIR overview by a former American crime reporter, check out Fred Reed’s “Fred on Everything” blog. Or another by Allen Wall, former soldier and now schoolteacher only recently moved back to USA.

        The problem isn’t Mexico or even Mexicans. The problem is Mexico exporting its underclass and economic failures to America and MORE IMPORTANTLY, our government’s absolute refusal to do anything to stop it.

        • Having a few sensible laws does not a first world country make.

          If Mexico has the same opportunities as America, why don’t poor Mexicans stay in Mexico? Why do they risk death to come here to work for $10 an hour or whatever? It’s insane to do that if you can do it where you already are. Clearly, they come here because they can’t get in Mexico anything like what they can pretty easily get here.
          Your point seems to be the uninteresting one that rich Mexicans have it pretty nice.

          Mexican per capita GDP is about 1/5 of America’s.

          According to Breitbart, 9 of the most violent cities in the world are in Mexico. The third most violent city in the world is Acapulco. The only reason America is on the list is because of blacks.

          • Stan D Mute

            The biggest reason they come here is the plethora of government goodies we lay out before them. I never claimed their economy was as good as ours is, but then ours is almost entirely artificial at this point and utterly unsustainable. Poor Indios in Mexico live in the bottom strata of society. Those still on tribal lands are subsistence farmers. Those in cities are beggars, street sweepers, etc. Their government gives them very little beyond basic healthcare. And then there is America. Where they can go get unlimited goodies like nice apartments with air conditioning and plumbing and cable tv. Their children get even more goodies, unimaginable to a poor Indio peasant. The question is why wouldn’t they come?

            As for Brietbart and their violence statistics, take them with an enormous grain of salt. The overwhelming majority of it is narco violence. I remember taking a group into a strip club in Acapulco once and they were all completely freaked out by the guys with machine guns at the door. They didn’t get that this was to keep the narcos out and preserve the safety of patrons. It’s a country where $100,000 is still a LOT of money and yet the narcos can toss bundles of $100,000 out the window of their armored cars without a care in the world. Again, if you avoid the narcos and mind your own business, that insanity really doesn’t touch you. Much like in the US if you avoid negroes their violence rarely reaches into your world.

            My point here really is that Mexico represents a somewhat sustainable model (excepting the drug wars which are an American caused problem) whereas the US does not. Mexico doesn’t attempt to force integration of the native Indios like the US attempts to do. Mexico doesn’t have the insane immigration the US has. If the drug routes to the US shift back to the Caribbean we would see much of mexico’s instability decline immediately. In other words, it’s the completely porous southern border that creates most of mexico’s problems (both immigrant traffic from Central America and drug traffic from South America).

          • …so other than widespread poverty and an enormous problem with drug violence, Mexico is a wonderful place to live… Doesn’t sound like the third world to me…

            In any case, I don’t buy your explanation that cartel violence is pretty much the whole problem. My sister was being beaten and was about to be raped on a train in Mexico City about a decade ago. She was screaming for her life and nobody did anything. The only reason she wasn’t raped is because the train came to a stop and her husband (who had gotten separated) was able to defend her and get the hell out.

          • Stan D Mute

            And how exactly is your sister’s experience different from what women undergo every day in the NYC subway, in Atlanta’s MARTA, Chicago’s CTA, etc? Mexico City is a *massive* urban center as big as NYC. And remember they don’t spend trillions of dollars bribing the criminals to play nice. Imagine NYC the day the EBT cards stop working and welfare checks bounce. It will make Mexico City look like Niceville, Idaho. Your sister’s nightmare ended when her husband came along. What would a trainload of anti-white Africans in NYC do? Think the nightmare would have ended? Or would it have just begun? And when the EBT cards stop working?

            The fact is that America is a third world country. Spend some time in the urban core of Detroit, Philadelphia, Newark, Birmingham, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Chicago, Dallas, St Louis, even Des Moines. You’re slandering an entire nation based on the actions of some rowdies who didn’t do any actual harm and a criminal population created and funded entirely on America’s vice. I’ve traveled throughout North America and Central America and the Caribbean. What I’ve seen is that places having African populations are an order of magnitude more violent and chaotic than those with Indian or mestizo populations. Is Mexico Switzerland or Sweden? Certainly not. But Mexico isn’t Zimbabwe or Haiti either. If anything, it’s a second world country suffering some major problems due to its northern neighbor refusing to control it’s borders.

          • I’ve never claimed or implied that Hispanics are as bad or worse than blacks. So none of that is relevant.

            America is a declining first world nation that has a negro problem. Mexico is a third world country with some first world areas. Big difference.

            If Mexico were so nice, Mexicans would stay there.

          • Stan D Mute

            You’ve missed it.

            Mexicans DO stay there. The Mexicans who come here are the underclass of mostly Indio and indio/mestizo peasants. The Mexican middle class and the Mexican upper class are staying put. The question then is why? As I explained, the Mexican government is not spending trillions of dollars to have its underclass in nice air conditioned housing with dishwashers, clothes washers/dryers, big screen TVs, and $500 gym shoes. Neither is the Mexican government taxing its middle and upper classes to the edge of bankruptcy to pay for such largesse. Finally, the Mexican government isn’t bankrupting the nation (or taxing future generations) so its underclass can live in such opulence.

            If your definition of “First World” means that the underclass lives so well that obesity is its number one health problem, with A/C, big screen TV, two cars, and $500 gym shoes, then indeed America is all that and then some. And it will continue attracting the underclass from nations without such magnificent welfare as long as they can just waltz across the border for the free giant goodie basket of benefits.

            But isn’t it true that the biggest problem facing America today, or at least her most urgent problem, is immigration? America is on the teetering brink of complete financial collapse, bolstered from month to month only by running three shifts at the Treasury Department’s printing presses? When that game stops working, as it simply must, what happens? There are 40,000,000 very hostile Africans that are almost entirely dependent on government money. There are another 40,000,000 whites also depending on government money plus perhaps 30,000,000 Mexicans in the “off the books” private sector reliant on government funded healthcare. Actually, that last number is probably low, but anyway there are around 150,000,000 people in America waiting for a government check every other week and only around 90,000,000 actually working in the private sector to fund the government.

            How much of a First World country is America really? For how long? The Mexicans will turn around and go home when the spigot of government goodies is shut off. It will be better to be a peasant dirt farmer in Mexico than in the middle of a police state or civil war in America.

          • “But isn’t it true that the biggest problem facing America today, or at least her most urgent problem, is immigration?”

            Well, yeah, that’s why I wrote that I wish Mexicans would go back to Mexico.

            Again, most of your post is irrelevant.

            I agree that the upper classes are staying in Mexico. That doesn’t disprove my point.

            “If your definition of ‘First World’ means that the underclass lives so well that obesity is its number one health problem, with A/C, big screen TV, two cars, and $500 gym shoes, then indeed America is all that and then some.”

            Yes, a high standard of living is obviously the primary feature of a first world country. Poor Americans right now are substantially wealthier on average than poor Americans 100 or even 50 years ago.

          • Stan D Mute

            I hardly think it irrelevant that the biggest differentiator between America and Mexico is America’s poor are swaddled in luxuries barely imaginable to Mexico’s poor and that this swaddling is only possible as the result of destroying America with debt. Take away all welfare and racial spoils and you’ll have 40,000,000 Africans here living as they do in Haiti. You’ll also eliminate all (or most) incentive for poor Mexicans to come here. And at that point, which I believe we are approaching soon, Mexico may be a better choice than America. I know there are a lot of FLDS whites as well as Amish/Mennonites down there already.

  • TruthBeTold

    If it encourages them to stay in their own communities, I support it.

    • dukem1


    • Oil Can Harry

      The secret to attracting Latino shoppers: a large sign in the window saying WE GLADLY ACCEPT EBT.

      • I think you meant, ACEPTAMOS EBT. And EBT should be in green, white, and red, if possible.

    • What would be better is encouraging them to stay in their own freaking countries.

  • I thought the 1950s was such an evil decade full of racism, sexism, misogyny, McCarthyism, that we had to avoid.

    Ironically, the reason we’ve passed peak mall is that the black undertow have ruined a lotof malls.

    • Hal K

      So has the Third World undertow. Who wants to walk through crowds of Third Worlders to get to a store when they could drive right to the entrance or order online?

    • Pelagian

      I think we can thank the subliminal white desire to avoid blacks and tattooed freaks at the mall for the whole internet revolution: ebay, Amazon, Google Shopping, etc.

  • MekongDelta69

    “Part of the problem is that consumers are looking for more of a community feel, Legaspi believes.”


    The problem is that black gangs rampage through every mall, terrorizing people and destroying everything in sight.

    • propagandaoftruth

      I wonder what will become of black gangs who rampage through Meximalls?

      In Latin America they hire guys with shotguns to deal with this shinery.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        When Hispanics become the next demographic majority, I suspect that blacks will be brutally ethnically cleansed all across the nation, with the few survivors forced to live in black-only towns and communities. Unlike whites, mestizos don’t have any concept of collective guilt or responsibility. There will be zero tolerance for negroid monkeyshines in the new America.

        • propagandaoftruth

          Nice lemonade squeezing. Very plausible.

  • dd121

    Mexican mall, great, I won’t be going there.

  • I see this everywhere in south Texas. Lots of overpriced cheap, shiny baubles, mixed with high priced jewelry they can’t afford but buy anyway, greasy food, and noise (aka music) to lure the savage beasts. He calls them malls. In San Antonio, they’re called Mexican flea markets. They thrive. They prosper. And they’re free of blacks. Plus, if you like this sort of thing, the Mexicans don’t mind taking a white man’s money.

    • kjh64

      I’ve been to many a Mexican flea market. I will say that one can go there or to a mall full of Hispanics and feel safe, I can’t say the same about another group.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “Malls across America are in trouble, but José de Jesús Legaspi, a Mexican-American commercial developer and consultant based in California thinks he knows the solution: Hispanics and Latino spending power.”

    Oh please, let’s see the spending power of Latinos WITHOUT White tax payer provided welfare, section 8 benefits, free education, free medical, and EBT/SNAP cards.

    • Ahnenerbe ᛟ

      I wouldn’t be surprised if José is connected to Mexican drug cartels

    • kikz2

      you forgot the welfare day laborers who speak no English and pay for everything with ‘under the table’ crisp US $100 bills.

  • Spikeygrrl

    Great concept! Now, why can’t Whites do the same for Whites????

    Because we’d never be permitted to. Hearken back to Taylor’s seminal “What Is Racism?,” which spun MY head around when first published, and to which I still steer personal friends and the gifted & talented teens and young adults I tutor, when I judge that they’re ready for it.

    • LHathaway

      I’m not sure I’ve read that one. I can’t stop talking about his ‘banned in Halifax’ speech, however.

  • Ironically, 1950s “small town America” did not have any greaseritos.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    “It’s not unlike what things used to be like in small-town America in the 1950s”

    Interestingly enough the last decade that whites were allowed to have the communal and cultural exclusivity the developer says will make his project a success.

  • ViktorNN

    In my experience as a Californian who has spent a lifetime watching the state become more and more Mexicanized, I’ve come to one overall conclusion:

    Mexican = shoddy, substandard, often defective, low quality.

    I’m not crazy about Mexican shopping districts either – they tend to be dirty, blighted, ugly, and often unsafe.

    It shouldn’t be any surprise that people who came here illegally run their small businesses as if they’re above obeying laws governing how small business is done in this country.

    Long story short, wherever a majority of Mexicans prevail, they re-create Mexico. If this sounds like a good thing, then you’ve never been to Mexico.

    • Stan D Mute

      This is NOT exclusive to Mexicans. Visit any ethnic enclave in any big city and you see the same whether Chinatown in NYC or Dearborn in Detroit. And one HUGE difference between them and us is that they think we are chumps for paying taxes. They operate cash businesses and pocket every penny. Somehow the IRS doesn’t seem able to figure it out.

  • Monmouth78

    In my area, we have a growing variety of Hispanic and general third world oriented markets which get almost all their sales through EBT.

  • kikz2

    …an older mall in our area (N. Dallas 40), in what had been affluent White suburbia, until the exo-burbs moved 15miles north…. is heading in that very direction. my very last time there, i noted that the few other Whites were all scanning the area, noticing the few other Whites. my kid had to go to make pilgrimage at horrible chain store……

    No complete taco takeover yet, but if the mess-i-kun (texican pronunciation) with the large metal belt buckle which featured the word “F*UK”, or the ‘baby stroller’ battles among the tattooed mex/hijab’d muzzies were any general indicators…. the mariachi bands are soon to come, and will provide musical accompaniment for the war w/the muzziez who currently hold ma majority of the ‘big name merchant’ vacated rental space……..

  • kikz2

    y’all attend the ‘urban festival’ a while back? if i remb the news correctly, there was some incident.. shooting? car ramming into crowd? some such… i wonder if Austin will host that enriching cultural event ever again?

  • Herman

    The columnist has a remarkable lack of curiousity why Malls aren’t being built or are shutting down.
    “Part” of the problem is Malls lack coummuniy feel.
    Yeah that must be it.

  • Bob Wallace

    Hmmm…there weren’t any malls in the ’50s. Town squares, with small stores ringing the park in the middle.

  • none of your business

    Well, good for him.

  • r j p

    Will the mall’s have Home Depots or Lowe’s?
    You know, curb side employment and drinking centers for Mexicans.

  • cranky_1970

    By thriving, the author probably means that there are a lot of Latinos milling around eating food they bought out of trucks. Hispanics don’t have much money because they don’t have much education or earning power. It’s hard to believe the low rent businesses that move into a Latino Mall will make much money or even collect sales tax. After five years of hard use and no infrastructure maintenance, this litter strewn Mall will be abandoned and surrounded with a cyclone fence until the neighborhood either gentrifies or gets bulldozed. Seen this happen time and time again.

  • Stan D Mute

    For all the “growth growth growth” RepugnantCons who think that raw population growth is the magic ticket to prosperity, I’d love to see the source of revenues for these Mexican malls. Just how much of their gross is in public transfer payments (ie EBT)?

    From an economic standpoint, the Mexicans (1) feel no allegiance to the USA thus paying no tax while taking everything they can possibly get from the government. Meanwhile, because they are not (nor want to be) Americans they view (2) their time here as money making opportunity only – thus working for lower wages and taking jobs from Americans who must pay long term costs of maintaining social ties.

    All the RepugnantCons see however is that more people = more housing units to build, more groceries and widgets sold, and lower payroll costs for higher company profits. For the RepugnantCon, a new Range Rover in the driveway is more important than destruction of working class Americans and replacement of Euro-American culture with Iberian-Indio culture. Meanwhile the Demoncrats see new voters and guaranteed election wins.

    We lose.

  • plcc07777

    Tacos, Burritos, Mariachi and cheap knock-offs…not for me.

  • Al Rex

    There is no such thing as a “Latino Clientele”. Latino is only a language, Lingua Latina, the language spoken by the Romans, ancient Italians,and the same language which they imposed upon the Spaniards when they colonized that region and called it “Hispania” and remained there for more than 700 years. And Latino doesn’t have anything to do with speaking Spanish and being mestizo. Latino is not a Race and not an Ethnicity either as the Spanish-speaking people of the “Americas” would like stupid people to believe.

    Malls across America are in trouble, but José de Jesús Legaspi, a
    Mexican-American commercial developer and consultant based in California
    thinks he knows the solution: Hispanics and Latino spending power.

    All of these Hispanics have time to shop around, plenty of time, because they’re all on Welfare and manufacturing millions of ugly illegitimate future criminals and their “spending power” is nothing but the money that they receive in benefits thanks to the misplaced generosity of the White skunks in Congress and States Houses who protect these savages while neglecting abandoned Whites.