Bham considers plan to demolish vacant Century Plaza, to transform it into logistics center

According to a Birmingham City Council news release, a plan has been announced to redevelop the vacant Century Plaza Mall into a 200,000 square-foot logistics center that could bring over 300 jobs to the Eastwood neighborhood.

Closed in 2009, Century Plaza was one of the largest malls in Alabama, when it opened its doors in 1975. In its heyday, more than 100 stores occupied the mall with Sears and Pizitz as anchor stores. And who can ever forget Jingles the Bear. 

 

Since its closing, over the past decade, re-development proposals for the massive facility have varied from building a regional jail to establishing a mega-church on the site.

Presently, most of the property’s parking area has been used to store Mercedes- Benz automobiles.

On Friday, the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) reported that the Atlanta-based Stonemont Financial Group has the Century Plaza property under contract and is proposing to demolish the 743,795-square-foot former shopping mall and build a new delivery center. Plans for the build-to-suit project – dubbed Project Magic – were presented to the Eastwood Neighborhood Association on May 7. Stonemont and the city of Birmingham declined to name the potential tenant, but BBJ has learned Amazon is the tenant being pitched for the site.

Here are details about the proposed project from the City Council:

Rendering provided by Birmingham City Council in news release
  • The facility will be a state-of-the-art class-A single-story building with concrete walls and glass features at the entry.
  • The facility will provide significant jobs with over 1,400 delivery drivers operating to and from the property and over 320 associates and managers working within the premises.
  • The proposed facility is designed for a 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.

On Thursday, the Eastwood Neighborhood Association voted 5–4 against rezoning for the new logistics center. Despite the vote, the councilman where the mall resides, Hunter Williams, favors the project.

“One thing residents on the eastern side of Birmingham have been asking for is the repurposing of the old Century Plaza Mall,” Williams said. “While many options have been considered over the years, unfortunately, none of those options materialized due to the immense cost associated with rehabbing or demolishing the shuttered mall. This new facility, along with the VA Center that is currently being developed just down the street, will bring hundreds of jobs to Birmingham creating a huge synergy to the Crestwood Blvd corridor.”

2nd New Project in Area

Rendering of Arbor Terrace, former on the Trinity Medical Center off Montclair Road. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Metro LLC

The re-purposing of the Century Plaza Mall property is the 2nd big project announced in the area this spring. Last March, plans for the redevelopment of the abandoned Trinity Medical Center into a multi-use campus called Arbor Terrace were unveiled. 

To make the new logistics center a reality, the Birmingham City council will need to rezone the property before construction can proceed.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.