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

The Palmetto State's first fully-enclosed shopping mall was developed by a joint venture of Greenville-based Caine Realty and McAlister Development and was designed by Atlanta's Toombs, Amisano & Wells firm.

McALISTER SQUARE was built on a 49 acre parcel, located 1.8 miles southeast of downtown Greenville. The site had been occupied by the Charles McAlister farm for several years. The single-level complex originally encompassed approximately 339,000 leasable square feet and contained twenty-eight stores and services under its roof.

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. These stores became the mall's first operational tenants on February 15, 1968.

A mall-wide grand opening was held March 25, 1968. Charter McALISTER SQUARE tenants included Walgreen  Drug, Heyward-Mahon men's wear, Bobbie Brooks ladies' wear, Pets Galore, Lerner Shops ladies' wear, Morrison's Cafeteria, Eleanor Shops ladies' wear, Casual Corner ladies' wear, Record Bar and an S.H. Kress 5 & 10.

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 the Wilby-Kincey Camelot Theatre. This cinema showed its first feature September 3, 1970. It re-opened, as the Camelot II,  on March 23, 1974. The venue was eventually expanded into a 7-screen operation.

Meanwhile, Meyers-Arnold in McALISTER SQUARE had been enlarged with a second level in 1970. The store, which now encompassed 122,000 square feet, become the chain's flagship and corporate headquarters.

The second expansion of the shopping hub added a 2-level (133,700 square foot), Greenville-based Belk-Simpson and new East Wing. This 10 million dollar renovation, which contained five inline stores, was officially dedicated March 6, 1974. It increased the gross leasable area of the facility to approximately 552,000 square feet.

McALISTER SQUARE was one of the preeminent "Upstate" shopping malls for several years. The community-class BELL TOWER MALL (1969) {1.9 miles west, in Greenville city} was no match. Commercial competition finally arrived 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. Six stores were seriously damaged; these being World Bazaar, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Butler Shoes, Eleanor Shops, Fosters Magnavox and Websters men's wear.

The entire mall was given an interior face lift 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 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 had 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 encompassed 1,256,000 leasable square feet and was now the largest shopping center 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 the following August. Soon after, the virtually vacant shopping complex was sold to a joint venture of Greenville Technical College and the Greenville Tech Foundation, who gradually repurposed it as a retail, office and educational facility.

Today, the mall houses several educational facilities. University Center, a 7-college consortium of satellite classrooms, occupies the old Ivey's / Dillard's. The Greenville Technical College Admissions & Registration Center operates in the Meyers-Arnold / Uptons building.

Former inline store space is leased as offices for several medical, non-profit and county agencies. There are also a full-service restaurant and small collection of retail stores. The former Belk-Simpson building has never been repurposed.

Sources:

The Journal-Herald
https://www.greenvilleonline.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
www.choldings.com
http://www.ourupstatesc.info
https://www.gvltec.edu (Greenville Technical College)
https://greenville.org (University Center Greenville)
Greenville County, South Carolina property tax assessor website
"McAlister Square" article on Wikipedia