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

By the early 1960s, Alabama's "Rocket City" was rapidly becoming cosmopolitan. Its first mall-type shopping center, HEART OF HUNTSVILLE, was built on an 18.8 acre parcel, located on the southwestern edge of the downtown area. Developed by the Engert Corporation and Engel Realty Company, the open-air complex was officially dedicated November 1, 1961.

HEART OF HUNTSVILLE was designed by Atlanta's Stevens & Wilkinson firm. The facility encompassed 195,000 leasable square feet on a single retail level. It was anchored by a 1-level (48,000 square foot) Sears, a Mulkey & Jackson ("M & J") supermarket and F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

There were a freestanding Sears Auto Center and Henderson National Bank in the periphery of the mall. The retail hub housed twenty-seven stores and services. HEART OF HUNTSVILLE was fully-enclosed in late 1966, with the original water feature in its north court being replaced by a falling glycerine, "Wonderfall" fountain.

Subsequent shopping hubs in the Rocket City 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. The facility 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 was renamed MARKET SQUARE, with 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 mixed-use development. Known as CONSTELLATION, it was to include 63,300 square feet of retail, seven restaurants, 187,000 square feet of office space, one hundred and fifty residential units, two hotels and two parking structures.

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

Further progress on the CONSTELLATION project was delayed by an economic recession and the death of one of its developers. After several false starts, work commenced on a second construction phase in October 2017. Chicago's Equibase Capital Group had signed on as a developing partner.

When completed, the 180 million dollar CONSTELLATION will feature a second hotel, over two hundred residential units, 72,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 347,000 square feet of office space and a multi-level parking garage. 

Sources:

The Huntsville Times
"Huntsville, Alabama" article on Wikipedia
http://www.cbcworldwide.com
www.citydata.com / "Things You Don't See In Huntsville Anymore" / Comment post by "CorNutt"
http://www.servinghistory.com
http://huntsvilledevelopment.blogspot.com
http://www.al.com  / Alabama Business