CENTURY PLAZA: BIRMINGHAM, AL
Posted March 11, 2007 (off site)
Robert McNeill's Commentary:
Posted November 20, 2006 (user submitted)
As of November 10 2006 Belks and JC Penney have closed down.There was a cheap clothing store occupying one of the vacant anchor stores,from what I saw,it looked as if it was out of business.This leaves only 1 anchor store, Sears, still open.I've heard speculation that Sears was thinking about moving.
I was last in the mall back in August and it seemed to have a alot of shoppers, but my latest visit 11/10/06 shows differently.The mall only had one lit sign on it,that was the sign of Sears.The rest of the front part of the mall was dark.The back of the mall is pretty much lifeless since Belks and JC Penneys moved,the only thing back here are the cars of people who used the Back Entrance.
In Trusville, The Pinnacle has opened, and a Wal-Mart along with a few other big-box retailers are curently under construction at the old Eastwood site.I feel that both of these will cause Century Plaza's life support to run dry.I dont think it will be long until Century turns into a clone of Eastwood.When those anchor stores move out,the other stores are soon to follow.
Kathy Jefferson's Commentary:
Posted April 23, 2004 (user submitted)
Century Plaza is presently on the verge of death. For the moment, it is a second-tier mall. Once the premier shopping center for the eastern Birmingham area (its opening paved the way for Eastwood Mall's demise - see Eastwood Mall entry), it is now swiftly down spiraling toward certain death.
Century Plaza, built in 1975, once was home to four anchor stores - JC Penney, Sears, Pizitz (now McRae's), and Rich's. In its heyday, it contained a McDonald's, Aladdin's Castle (a superb video arcade), Gap, Express, Karmelkorn, Chess King, Ormond's, Baker's Shoes, Butler's Shoes, B. Dalton's, Bookland, Musicland, Camelot Music, 5-7-9, Stuarts/Stuarts Plus, Merry Go Round, Spencers, Radio Shack, Hickory Farms, Pearle Vision, Snow's gifts, Hallmark, very nice pet store, Hello Kitty/Sanrio store (always my favorite, as a pre-adolescent shopper) and much more I can't recall at the moment.
The mall was a prototypical 70s dark wood/dark tile/lots of ferns & ficus type structure. It centered around a circular middle, which was home to the India Shoppe (almost a sort of head shop, one could purchase their reggae/alternative/punk t-shirts, incense, bongs, etc. here - and get pierced) and a jewelry store.
In the late 80's the mall was remodeled to resemble every other mall of the time period - skylights, white paint over the wood finish, lighter tiles, etc. Many of the best tenants began to leave - among them B. Dalton, Bookland, Musicland.
Not much changed at Century until rather recently.
Subtle changes occurred at first - the tobacco shop and Regis Hair Salon closed, making way for a no-name barber shop and generic nail salon.
Other chains started to leave - where Family Christian Bookstore stood, Eden's Gifts now stands, with a wide assortment of cheap home interiors.
Even Frederick's of Hollywood left - its replacement? A storefront where you can have your photograph transferred onto a T-shirt.
Piccadilly's Cafeteria closed up shop, as did Famous Footwear. Both stores are vacant. Deck the Walls closed, making way for some low-rent picture shop, which has since closed.
The final nail in the coffin - Rich's closing.
Rich's-Macy's, once a bustling haven of teens, ladies who lunch, and everyone in between, has closed for good. I believe its final business day was earlier this month. This especially saddens me, as I worked there for a time in the mid 90s. I bought my prom dress there, got my first store credit card there - I was devastated.
Admittedly, the mall does still boast some major chain stores: Radio Shack, Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret, Lane Bryant. And three of the four anchor stores are still going strong. But I can hear the death knell in the distance.