Demolition Begins For Iconic Birmingham Shopping Mall

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

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Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to award more medals to women than men

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the first major multi-sport event to award more medals to women than men, organisers have confirmed.

The introduction of women’s T20 cricket for the first time will contribute to a total of 136 medal events for women, as opposed to 134 for men.

In addition, an integrated para-sports programme will be expanded to include 3×3 wheelchair basketball for the first time, along with additions to the athletics and swimming events.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Dame Louise Martin said: “It is very special that the Commonwealth Games will be the first major multi-sport event in history with more medals for women than men.

“It will also be the largest ever integrated para-sport programme which will ensure that Birmingham 2022 will be a truly historic, inclusive and unforgettable 11 days of sport.”

Eboni Usoro-Brown, who starred in securing England’s memorable netball gold medal on the Gold Coast in 2018, said the news will help provide a platform upon which women’s sport can continue to expand.

England v New Zealand – Vitality Netball International Series – Echo Arena
Eboni Usoro-Brown starred in England’s historic win on the Gold Coast (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Usoro-Brown said: “It just shows the growth of women’s sport, and being championed by Birmingham 2022 shows just how far it has come in the last two years.

“Obviously this has been an unusual year and, after the last few years in which women’s sport has been on an upward trajectory, having it centre-stage in Birmingham will give it that big boost to get restarted and continue to grow.”

The expansion of the para programme, and specifically the inclusion of the women’s T33/34 100 metres category, also means five-times Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft will be able to compete in the Games for the first time.

Cockroft said: “It is something I have wanted to be involved in since I started racing. I have watched half the team go off to a Commonwealth Games and I’ve never had the chance to join them.

“Obviously for para sport to get this kind of coverage is going to be monumental. Things usually fall off a bit in the year after a Paralympics, so this represents a massive opportunity.”

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