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

By the early 1960s, northern Alabama's "Rocket City" was rapidly becoming cosmopolitan. Its first mall-type shopping center, known as 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 MALL 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 & dime.

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 MALL 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, 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 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 Scott McLain. Construction work on Phase One got underway in late 2009. This project comprised the 6-story Springhill Suites Huntsville Downtown Hotel. Its grand opening was held September 14, 2011.

Since this time, further development has been delayed. 12.5 acres of the site remain vacant. News of a potential Phase Two groundbreaking surfaced in February 2017, with work expected to get underway "in the next few months".

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