NORMANDALE SHOPPING CITY
Norman Bridge Road and East Patton Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama

Alabama's first post-war shopping plaza was designed by the Sherlock, Smith & Adams firm and developed by Montgomery-based Aronov Realty. NORMANDALE SHOPPING CITY was built on 22.5 acres, located 3 miles south of the Alabama State House. The original "strip" complex was officially dedicated September 10, 1954.

NORMANDALE SHOPPING CITY consisted of a single level of retail with a small lower level section at the north end of its East Wing. The shopping hub was anchored by a 3-level (84,000 square foot), Birmingham-based Loveman's of Alabama, the chain's first branch store. There were also a People's Bank & Trust and Kwik Chek (later Winn-Dixie) supermarket.

An expansion was completed in June 1957. Surrounding an open-air mall arcade, it included a 2-level (30,000 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and a 1-level (30,000 square foot) W.T. Grant variety store. The Woolworth replaced a smaller location in the circa-1954 strip center.

NORMANDALE now housed approximately 325,000 leasable square feet. Among the twenty-nine inline stores were Brenner's Shoe Factory, Gulp Piano & Organ, Hancock Fabrics, Parker-Sledge Hardware, Cohen's Records, Francis Cafeteria, Twix 'N Teens, Buster Brown Shoes and Western Auto.

MONTGOMERY MALL {2.7 miles east, in Montgomery} became the first regional rival in 1970. The next competitor for NORMANDALE came along in 1977. EASTDALE MALL {6 miles northeast, in Montgomery} quickly assumed the position of dominant shopping center in the region.

By the late 1980s, NORMANDALE MALL, was in decline. Loveman's had closed in 1981, with Woolworth's soon following. A tornado hit the complex in 1995 and left the southern arcade section severely damaged.

Over the ensuing years, the shopping center has changed hands several times. It was owned and operated by Acadia Realty Trust, of White Plains, New York, and Sabharwal Properties, of Islandia, New York. Renovations and redevelopments were announced...but never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, a lifestyle-format complex, SHOPPES AT EASTCHASE {7.5 miles northeast, in Montgomery}, welcomed its first shoppers in 2002. Such an upscale shopping venue posed no threat to NORMANDALE, as the mid-century center was long past its prime.

By this time, NORMANDALE CENTRE was 40 percent occupied, with only the original, circa-1954, strip center in use. Tenants included Calhoun Superfoods (in the Winn-Dixie space), Compass Bank, Dollar General, H & R Block and Hall & Smith Shoe Repair.

In 2009, it was reported that a potential buyer, Kansas City's Joseph G. Arnone, was trying to work out a deal to finance an acquisition of the retail hub. He planned a large-scale renovation of the historic property.

Unfortunately, the purchase deal fell through. In 2014, a new owner, Jim Shirian of California, performed much-needed repairs to the property and spoke of finding a tenant for the abandoned Loveman's building.

Sources:

preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
Malls of America Blogspot / Keith Milford webmaster / Posts by "Amy", "Anonymous", "Sonya" and "s7v7n"
www.sabharwalproperties.com
www.loopnet.com
www.montgomeryadvertiser.com
www.waka.com
www.wfsa.com


FAIR USE OF NORMANDALE IMAGES:

The photos from ADAH Digital Collections illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.