McFarland Mall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
McFarland Mall
McFarland Mall logo
McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa, AL (15433273382).jpg
Interior view of McFarland Mall, March 2014
Location Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.
Coordinates 33°10′14.57″N 87°31′15.08″W / 33.1707139°N 87.5208556°W / 33.1707139; -87.5208556
Address 900 Skyland Boulevard East
Opening date February 19, 1969
Closing date September 1, 2016
Developer Ward Wharton McFarland and James Hinton
Management Ward Morrow McFarland
Owner Stan Pate
No. of stores and services 40 at peak
No. of anchor tenants 4
No. of floors 1
Website Archived official website at the Wayback Machine (archived 05/23/06)

McFarland Mall was a regional 497,000-square-foot (46,200 m2) L-shaped shopping mall on Skyland Boulevard (U.S. Route 11) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Located near the interchange of Interstate 20/59 with McFarland Boulevard (U.S. Route 82), it was in the southern section of the city. Opening on February 19, 1969, the mall replaced Woods Square Shopping Center and Leland Shopping Center as the main commercial retail center in the Tuscaloosa area. Brandon Crawford and Associates of Birmingham was the architect for the mall. General contractor for the project was N.C. Morgan Construction Company of Tuscaloosa. McGiffert and Associates of Tuscaloosa provided the engineering services for the mall.

At its opening in 1969, McFarland Mall had 2 anchor stores, Woolco and Gayfers and 30 stores. At its height, McFarland Mall had 4 anchors, 40 stores, a 12-screen movie theater and a food court. Despite the opening of the larger University Mall in 1977, the mall survived an additional 30 years. However, the mall saw a steady 10 year decline during the 2000s following the closing of two anchors. Redevelopment was slated for 2013.

Grand Opening[edit]

The grand opening of McFarland Mall was at 9:30am on Wednesday, February 19, 1969. Tuscaloosa Mayor George Van Tassel and Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge John Puryear held the ribbon at the mall's main entrance. Mary Katherine Hinton, 7, and Elizabeth Russell Hinton, 5, daughters of co-developer, James "Jimmy" Hinton, cut the ribbon, signaling the opening of the mall.

Stores opening that day included: The ABC (Alabama Beverage Control) Store, Auto-Lec, Bell Shoes, Butler's Shoes, City National Bank, Drapery Shop (Drapes, Inc.), Eleanor Shop, Fair Snacks, Gayfers, Gilberg's Fabrics, Lawson's Gifts, Lorch's Diamond Shop, Mall Barber Shop, Mall Shoe Repair, McArthur Furniture, Munford Do-It-Yourself, Myrl's Boutique, Newsom Record Shop, Northington Laundry, Orange Julius, Paul Brown Hallmark Cards Shop, Pizitz, Postle Appliance Center, Raymon's, Singer Sewing Center, U.S. Post Office, Wagner's Shoes, Webster's Men's Wear, Woolco, and WTBC Radio Station. Winn-Dixie Kwik-Chek grocery store opened in an out parcel.

Store scheduled to open later were: Baskin Robbins, Chuck Collins Studio, Color Corner Photo Service, Jacobs Drug and Cafeteria, Lee Roy Jordan's Flaming Steakhouse, Loft Candy, NGC Twin Theaters, Spiller's Pet Center, and The Swiss Colony.

Ward Morrow McFarland, son of co-developer, Ward W. McFarland, was the appointed mall manager.

History[edit]

The center was originally developed at an estimated $4.5 million by Ward Wharton McFarland and James Hinton. When opened in February 1969, McFarland Mall was the sixth fully enclosed mall constructed in the state of Alabama after Eastwood Mall in Birmingham, Heart of Huntsville Mall and The Mall in Huntsville, Bel Air Mall in Mobile and Southgate Mall in Muscle Shoals.[1] Gayfers, Woolco, and Winn-Dixie (in an out-parcel) anchored the one-story new mall. Gayfers added a second floor to its store in 1975 and remained the only two-story tenant.[2] Woolco closed in 1983 and was replaced by Zayre that same year.[3] Following the demise of Zayre in 1989, the anchor space was divided into several smaller spaces. Jefferson Home Furniture (later Heilig-Meyers), TJ Maxx and Drug Mart moved into the spaces, of which only TJ Maxx opened out into the mall.[4][5]

The mall saw significant renovations in 1980 and again in 1993, with the addition of a 320-seat food court under an enormous atrium and a new anchor space, occupied by Goody's Family Clothing.[6] Winn-Dixie moved away from the mall and book retailer Books-a-Million moved into the out-parcel. Drug Mart became Shoe Station, and a Crafts, Etc. (later Michaels) store opened between Drug Mart and Heilig-Meyers in 1993. Heilig-Meyers became Sticks & Stuff. Gayfers was acquired by Dillard's in 1998.[7] The theaters closed in 2005.

The mall remained under the ownership of the McFarland family through 2009.[1] In May 2009 it was announced the Tuscaloosa developer Stan Pate had purchased the mall from Ward McFarland, Inc. ending the McFarland family association with the facility.[8] The new owners have declared that they will be looking at many options to make the facility more profitable, from future renovations to completely demolishing the structure and building anew.[8] McFarland is the second oldest enclosed mall in the state of Alabama with only Bel Air Mall being constructed earlier.[1][8]

Following the closure of Dillard's and Goody's, the only remaining anchor was TJ Maxx.[9] TJ Maxx left the mall on March 1, 2016. The Dillard's wing has been blocked off to the public since 2010.[10]

Redevelopment[edit]

In December 2012, Pate announced development plans to start sometime in 2013. Under these plans, most of the mall would have been demolished, including the former Dillard's building. Cheddar's Casual Café and Texas Roadhouse were also announced, and Books-A-Million was slated to move from an existing outparcel. Bed Bath & Beyond had also expressed interest in building a store on the property, which was to be renamed Encore Tuscaloosa.[11] Cheddar's opened in April 2013; however, Books-a-Million closed their store in May 2013.

On March 19, 2014, the demolition commenced on the Dillards anchor store. The TJ Maxx wing remained open with 3 indoor tenants and 3 tenants accessible from the exterior. As of June 15, 2015, TJ Maxx, classy Threads and IT'S Fashion remained inside, although IT's Fashion was due to leave at the end of June 2015. Outside retailers currently open are Dollar Tree (housed in the old Piccadilly Cafeteria location), Harry's Barber Shop and one other discount store. On March 1, 2016 TJ Maxx moved out of McFarland Mall to McFarland Plaza in the former OfficeMax location. [12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Staff Reports (May 20, 2009). "McFarland Mall sold". The Northport Gazette. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Morton, Jason (March 27, 2008). "Dillard's to close McFarland Mall store". The Tuscaloosa News. 
  3. ^ Heine, Max (August 21, 1983). "Association recognizes best man". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Harco deep-discount unit opens in its home market. (Harco Drug Inc.)". Chain Drug Review. January 2, 1990. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ Heine, Max (October 29, 1989). "Novel retailer opens today". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ Morton, Jason (February 17, 2007). "McFarland mall goes on market". The Tuscaloosa News. 
  7. ^ Taylor, Stephanie (June 27, 2008). "Dillard's is gone with the wind". The Tuscaloosa News. 
  8. ^ a b c Rupinski, Patrick (May 21, 2009). "Developer Stan Pate to take over McFarland Mall". The Tuscaloosa News. 
  9. ^ Rupinski, Patrick (January 8, 2009). "Goody's clothing store latest retail casualty". The Tuscaloosa News. 
  10. ^ "McFarland Mall". WVUA. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Morton, Jason (27 December 2012). "Changes coming to site of McFarland Mall: Shopping center plans to add restaurants, demolish old stores". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140319/NEWS/140319536/1291/ENTERTAINMENT?Title=McFarland-Mall-demolition-makes-way-for-new-shopping-center