CENTURY PLAZA
Crestwood Boulevard / US 78 and 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 housed over one hundred stores and services. The complex was built across Crestwood Boulevard 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. The official mall dedication was held August 4, 1975. By this time, three additional anchor stores had opened; a 2-level (149,500 square foot) J.C. Penney, 2-level (125,100 square foot), Birmingham-based Loveman's of Alabama and 2-level (70,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's.

Charter inline stores included Morrison's Cafeteria, Camelot Music, Chick-Fil-A, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Karmelkorn and Lane Bryant. There was also a freestanding York's Steakhouse in the mall's front parking area.

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.

Competing Magic City malls were 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}.

All of these venues coexisted through the 1970s and into the mid-1980s. Then all were bested by the superregional RIVERCHASE GALLERIA {11.2 miles southwest, in Hoover}, which was dedicated in 1986. The region's first lifestyle center, THE SUMMIT {5.4 miles south,  in Birmingham} brought additional commercial competition with its 1997 grand opening.

By this time, CENTURY PLAZA was in decline. Facelifts performed in 1988 and 1994 failed to stop the mall's downward spiral. Anchor rebrandings had begun in 1980, when the Loveman's space became a Birmingham-based Pizitz. This store was rebranded as a Jackson, Mississippi-based McRea's in 1987 and was "Belked" in late 2005. This lasted only a few months, with the store closing for good in July 2006.

Rich's had morphed into a Rich's-Macy's in February 2003. It did not continue the logical progression to a full-fledged Macy's but was shuttered in May 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 the mall, closing on September 30, 2006. Its space was never retenanted. Sears was the final operational anchor. Its closing took place June 14, 2009.

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

In February 2017, Birmingham's News Rising Star Church acquired the mall, with hopes of converting it into a church and school facility.

Sources:

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