HEART OF HUNTSVILLE MALL
South Memorial Parkway / US 231 & 431 and Clinton Avenue West
Huntsville, Alabama

By late 1961, northern Alabama's "Rocket City" was rapidly becoming cosmopolitan. Its first mall-type shopping center, known as HEART OF HUNTSVILLE, had been built on an 18.8 acre parcel, located on the southwestern edge of the downtown area.

The 250,000 square foot center debuted as a single-level, open-air structure. It was anchored by a 1-level (48,000 square foot) Sears, an M & J supermarket and F.W. Woolworth. There were a Sears Auto Center and Henderson National Bank as its outparcels and twenty-seven stores and services within the mall proper. The complex was fully-enclosed in late 1966, with the original water feature in its north court replaced by a falling glycerine, "Wonderfall" fountain.

Subsequent shopping hubs built in the rapidly-expanding Huntsville metropolis were DUNNAVANT'S MALL (1965) {.3 mile southeast, in Huntsville}, THE MALL (1966) {1 mile northwest, in Huntsville} and PARKWAY CITY MALL (1976) {1 mile southeast, also in Huntsville}.

HEART OF HUNTSVILLE fared well for over 20 years, but began to decline in 1984, when its Sears moved to the new MADISON SQUARE MALL {3.9 miles northwest, in Huntsville}. In the late 1990s, HEART OF HUNTSVILLE MALL was renamed MARKET SQUARE; its major tenants being Burlington Coat Factory and Gold's Gym.

By the 21st century, the shopping center had run its course. It was demolished in early 2007 to make way for a new, 415,000 square foot, mixed-use development. Known as CONSTELLATION, it was to include 63,300 square feet of retail, three freestanding restaurants, 187,000 square feet of office space, ninety-seven residential units, two hotels and two parking structures.

The project was spearheaded by Huntsville's Scott McLain. Construction work on Phase One got underway in late 2009. This consisted of the 6-story Springhill Suites Huntsville Downtown Hotel, whose official grand opening was held September 14, 2011.

At present, 12.5 acres of the old mall site remain vacant. Construction on Phase Two of the project has not been initiated.

Sources:

"Huntsville, Alabama" article on Wikipedia
www.citydata.com / "Things You Don't See In Huntsville Anymore" / Comment post by "CorNutt"
http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/Heart_of_Huntsville_Mall::sub::History
http://huntsvilledevelopment.blogspot.com