McALISTER SQUARE
South Pleasantburg and East Antrim Drives
Greenville, South Carolina

The Palmetto State's first fully-enclosed shopping mall was developed by Greenville-based Caine Realty and designed by Atlanta's Toombs, Amisano & Wells firm. McALISTER SQUARE was built on 49 acres, located 1.8 miles southeast of the center city. The fully-enclosed (339,000 square foot) single-level shopping hub was dedicated in February 1968.

Anchoring the complex were a 1-level (61,000 square foot), Greenville-based Meyers-Arnold and 2-level (124,200 square foot), Charlotte-based J.B. Ivey. Among the fifty-one charter tenants were Eckerd Drug, Heyward-Mahon, Lerner Shops, Morrison's Cafeteria, Eleanor Shops, Record Bar and Casual Corner.

A freestanding Convenience Center was built northeast of the mall proper. It housed a (28,300 square foot) Winn-Dixie supermarket, three inline stores and single-screen Wilby-Kincy Camelot Theatre. The cinema showed its first feature September 3, 1970. It was split into the Camelot II, a twin-screen operation, which made its debut March 23, 1974. The cinema was expanded into a 4-plex in December 1984 and, by March 1995, had been enlarged into a 7-screen venue.

Meanwhile, Meyers-Arnold in McALISTER SQUARE was expanded with a second level in 1970. The store, which now encompassed 122,000 square feet, become the chain's flagship and corporate headquarters. In February 1974, a 2-level (133,700 square foot), Greenville-based Belk-Simpson and new East Wing were completed. This expansion added five inline stores to the mall and increased its gross leasable area to approximately 552,000 square feet.

McALISTER SQUARE was one of the preeminent shopping malls in "The Upstate" for several years. BELL TOWER MALL (1969) {1.9 miles west, in the city of Greenville} was no match. Retail rivalry intensified with the opening of GREENVILLE MALL {3 miles east, in Greenville County}, in 1978.

A fire raged through the north wing of McALISTER SQUARE on December 12, 1981, seriously damaging six stores; these being World Bazaar, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Butler Shoes, Eleanor Shops, Fosters Magnavox and Websters Men's. The entire mall was given a facelift as part of its restoration. A center stage was added, with a 20 thousand dollar sound system, and new new tile flooring was installed throughout the complex. A formal re-dedication was held in October 1982.

Nameplate conversions at the shopping hub began in late 1987, when Meyers-Arnold became a Norcross, Georgia-based Uptons. Ivey's was rebranded, as a Dillard's, June 4, 1990. The Belk-Simpson moniker was truncated to simply Belk in 1998.

McALISTER SQUARE started to decline after the 1980 dedication of HAYWOOD MALL {1.6 miles west, in Greenville County}. This downswing was exacerbated by the shuttering of the McALISTER SQUARE Dillard's, in April 1995. The store relocated to a newly-expanded HAYWOOD MALL, which now encompassed 1,256,000 leasable square feet and was the largest mall in the state.

Within a few years, the remaining anchors at McALISTER SQUARE were pulling up stakes. Belk was shuttered in January 1999, with Upton's closing in August. In January 2001, the virtually vacant shopping center was sold to Greenville Technical College, who repurposed the it as a retail and educational complex.

Today, the structure houses several educational and retail facilities. University Center, a 7-college consortium of satellite classrooms, occupies the old Ivey's / Dillard's. The Greenville Technical College Admissions Center and Book Store operates in the Meyers-Arnold / Uptons building. Former inline store space is leased as offices for several non-profit and county agencies. There are also a full-service restaurant and small collection of retail stores.

Sources:

www.deadmalls.com / Post by Chris Edwards
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
www.choldings.com
Greenville County, South Carolina property tax assessor website
The Journal-Herald