Century Plaza

Century Plaza was a two-level, enclosed shopping mall which opened in August 1975. The 743,785 square-foot mall is located on Crestwood Boulevard in the Eastwood area of Birmingham, Alabama.

Century PlazaCentury Plaza was designed by the Birmingham-based architect firm Crawford, Giattina, & Mitchell. The shopping mall was built in a contemporary style, with a light brown brick exterior. The interior features a brown tile floor, angular fountains, open stairways, and bronze glass partitions.

Century PlazaCentury Plaza was developed by Engel Realty Company. The shopping mall was constructed for $25 million. More than 2.4 million cubic yards of earth was excavated for development. Most of that dirt was used in construction of nearby interstate highways.

Century PlazaThe Sears store was the first to be built and opened on September 25, 1974. The official mall dedication was held on August 4, 1975. Century Plaza’s grand opening was marked by thousands of balloons filling the interior, many of them filled with cash for shoppers.

Century Plaza

Century PlazaThe original anchor stores were JC Penney, Loveman’s, Rich’s, and Sears. Loveman’s was replaced by Pizitz in March 1980, later being renamed McRae’s and then Belk. Century Plaza’s popularity peaked in the 1980s. Along with the nearby Eastwood Mall, the stretch of Crestwood Boulevard became a popular shopping destination.

Century Plaza

Century PlazaAfter the Riverchase Galleria opened in 1986, Century Plaza was under stiff competition. At that time, there were 6 shopping malls around Birmingham. An interior remodel in 1988 brought more skylights and brighter finishes. In the 1990s, General Growth Properties purchased Century Plaza for $32 million.

Century PlazaA second remodel was done in 1994, but it failed to curtail the downward spiral. Rich’s was dual-branded as Rich’s-Macy’s in 2003 when Macy’s acquired the Rich’s chain. The Rich’s-Macy’s store at Century Plaza closed after only one year in operation. The Piccadilly Cafeteria in the mall also closed that same year.

Century PlazaIn 2006, two of the mall’s anchor stores, JC Penney and Belk, relocated to newer shopping centers. Century Plaza closed on May 31, 2009. At the time of closing, only 40 stores remained open in the mall. Sears owned its own section of Century Plaza. It was the last anchor store to close on June 14, 2009.

Century Plaza

Century PlazaGeneral Growth Properties talked to several local municipalities in 2010 about turning the mall into a county jail or municipal justice center. Those talks stalled due to lack of public interest and funding.

Century PlazaIn 2017, a church announced they were relocating to the former mall and establishing a charter school there. However, the sale never went through.

Century PlazaIn December 2017, Lumpkin Development announced they purchased Century Plaza for $3 million. They plan to move their business, Metro Mini Storage into the Sears portion and lease out the remaining space as a mixed-use artist work space.

Century Plaza

Century Plaza

 

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14 thoughts on “Century Plaza

  1. It’s quite shocking how as a society we just discard things. I once worked in a listed building, which meant we had to apply for planning consent for any refurbishments. In the end the company moved to new premises and I see the building is now used as a film / TV set, making an appearance as the American Embassy in an episode of 24!

    Liked by 1 person

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