Crestwood Boulevard / US 78 and Oporto Avenue (Oporto Madrid Boulevard)
Birmingham, Alabama

BROOKWOOD VILLAGE CENTER, the Magic City's first 2-level shopping mall, opened in 1973. 2 years later, a second double-decked retail center was dedicated. CENTURY PLAZA was developed by the Engel Realty Company and designed by Birmingham's Crawford, Giattina & Mitchell firm.

Built on a 34 acre plot, located 4.2 miles northeast of the center city, CENTURY PLAZA encompassed 743,700 leasable square feet and eventually housed over one hundred stores and services. The complex was built across US Highway 78 from EASTWOOD MALL (1960), which had been the first interior mall in the state.

The first operational CENTURY PLAZA store was a 2-level (152,300 square foot) Sears, which began business September 25, 1974. An official mall dedication was held August 4, 1975, when a 2-level (125,100 square foot), Birmingham-based Loveman's of Alabama welcomed its first shoppers.

By early 1976, a 2-level (149,500 square foot) J.C. Penney and 2-level (70,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's were also in operation. Charter inline stores included Morrison's Cafeteria, Camelot Music, Wide World of Music, Chick-Fil-A, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Karmelkorn, Foxmoor Casuals and Bookland.

At the center of Center Court was a 2-level island structure with a grouping of small boutiques on the bottom and performance stage on top; this on the same level as the second floor of the shopping complex.

Other malls in the CENTURY PLAZA trade area included the aforementioned EASTWOOD MALL {.1 mile southeast, in Birmingham} and BROOKWOOD VILLAGE CENTER {4.7 miles southwest, in Homewood}. There was also WESTERN HILLS CENTER (1969) {11.9 miles southwest, in Fairfield}.

These venues coexisted through the 1970s and into the mid-1980s. All were bested by the superregional RIVERCHASE GALLERIA {11.2 miles southwest, in Hoover}, which was dedicated in February 1986.

The region's first lifestyle center, THE SUMMIT {5.4 miles south,  in Birmingham} brought additional commercial competition with its October 1997 grand opening. By this time, CENTURY PLAZA was in decline. Interior face lifts performed in 1988 and 1994 had failed to curtail its downward spiral.

Anchor rebrandings had begun in March 1980, when the Loveman's store morphed into a Birmingham-based Pizitz. This store was rebranded as a Jackson, Mississippi-based McRea's in September 1987 and was Belk-branded on March 8, 2006. Belk lasted only a few months and ended up closing for good in July 2006.

Rich's had morphed into a Rich's-Macy's on February 2, 2003. It did not continue the logical progression to a full-fledged Macy's but was shuttered on April 11, 2004. Its space was temporarily tenanted by 99-Cent Spot, which opened in July 2004 and closed soon after.

J.C. Penney became the next store to pull out of CENTURY PLAZA, closing on September 30, 2006. Its space was never retenanted. Sears was the final operational anchor. Its shuttering took place June 14, 2009.

Chicago-based General Growth Properties, who had acquired CENTURY PLAZA in April 1997, closed the complex on May 31, 2009. As a result of GGP's early 21st century bankruptcy, the mall became a holding of the Howard Hughes Corporation, a real estate development arm of GGP. It was placed on the open market.

Pelham, Alabama's Lumpkin Development acquired the facility in December 2017. They installed a Metro Mini-Storage facility in the former Sears. The remainder of the complex was rented to various office, call center and light manufacturing firms.


The Birmingham News
"Century Plaza" article on Wikipedia
www.georgiaretailmemories.blogspot.com / "J.T" webmaster
Jefferson County, Alabama property tax assessor website