BIRMINGHAM, AL — One of Birmingham’s iconic shopping malls will, by the end of the week, be reduced to a pile of bricks as demolition began Wednesday on Century Plaza, located at the corner of Crestwood Blvd. and Oporto-Madrid Blvd.
The 743,000-square-foot mall was considered state-of-the-art when it was built in 1975, but the building has been empty since 2009. A new Amazon fulfillment center will take its place, and is slated to open in the summer of 2021.
The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously in July of this year to rezone the property from CB-2 (Contingency General Business District) to Q-1 (Qualified Light Manufacturing District), paving the way for the Amazon center, which the council said in a statement would provide more than 300 jobs for the area.
According to the statement from the council, the proposed facility is designed for Amazon package delivery service. Packages arriving at this facility are prepackaged in cardboard boxes and labeled for shipping within local neighborhoods and areas surrounding the facility. The packages are brought into the facility via semi trucks, using designated loading dock positions. The model limits the number of large trucks that would arrive at the facility in order to mitigate traffic concerns.
Pelham-based Lumpkin Development purchased the mall in January of 2018 and announced “big plans” for the property, but those plans did not materialize.
In its heyday, Century Plaza included anchor stores such as Sears, Rich’s, Loveman’s and JC Penny, and later Pizitz, McRae’s and Macy’s. When it closed in March of 2009, fewer than 40 stores remained open.
The demolition of Century Plaza continues a trend in the Birmingham area that mirrors that of many cities in the country, wherein the enclosed shopping mall concept seems no longer viable.
Within a couple of years in the 2000s, Eastwood Mall and Century Plaza — both at one time busy retail centers within a block of one another — closed or changed functions.
Eastwood Mall, which was the first enclosed shopping mall in the south when it was built in 1960, was razed in 2007 and the property was used to build a Walmart and surrounding shopping center.
In October, plans were announced to re-purpose Brookwood Village, once a thriving shopping mall in Mountain Brook and Homewood.
Colliers International of Alabama and Arlington Properties submitted plans to the Homewood City Council Oct. 27 that include revamping all of the property east of Target, excluding Target, the office building, and Macy’s. The deal includes Fresh Market and the former Belk location.
The development team plans to transform the site with a mixed-use project that could include retail, restaurants, office buildings, hotels and a mix of residential options both for sale and rent, including 350 high-end apartments. The development would be anchored by an active public green space.
“Growing up in Birmingham, I’ve seen the community and its cities evolve over time, leaving the need for an inward-facing shopping mall like the one at Brookwood Village almost nonexistent,” Joe Sandner of