Riverchase Galleria; Hoover, Alabama

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL

Hoover, Alabama is a suburban community with a unique distinction.  While Hoover existed as a hamlet for many decades, only upon the opening of the Riverchase Galleria shopping mall in 1986 did the community begin to really thrive.  And thrive it has.  Today, Hoover is not only one of the major retailing centers for the Birmingham metro area, it is a thriving business center as well.  In this article we’ll take a look at what made Hoover blast off, from a tiny village to a metropolitan commerce leader and boomtown, almost overnight.

In 1984, the logistical framework was set for Hoover to blossom.  Interstate 459 opened that year, allowing thru traffic to bypass downtown Birmingham on Interstates 59, 65, and 20.  At the same time, the heavy manufacturing industry in Birmingham was shifting focus away from the city and abandoning the core which provided most of Birmingham’s economic base for decades previous.  As a result, Birmingham, along with the rest of the country, diversified its economy and allowed service sector businesses to supplement the manufacturing core, but many of these new businesses would not locate in the industrial areas which already existed, or even downtown.  Most of them preferred to locate in new, suburban office parks, with convenient access for commuters who would live nearby.

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, ALIn 1986, one of the largest shopping malls in the southeast, Riverchase Galleria, opened in Hoover near the intersection of I-459 and I-65.  This location was not only convenient to interstates, but also centrally located for the entire metropolitan area, which has over 1 million residents.  As soon as the mall opened, developers couldn’t keep up with the demands for big box, housing developments, hotels, and office parks.  Almost overnight, Hoover grew into a huge, wealthy sprawlburg; today Hoover has over 65,000 residents and is still growing. 

Riverchase Galleria is directly modeled after the Galleria Mall in Houston, and by extension the original Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.  Its design features an extremely wide concourse in places, with very high ceilings and glass throughout.  When it opened, Riverchase featured 1.4 million square feet and anchor stores included Birmingham-based Pizitz and Parisian, JCPenney, and Atlanta-based Rich’s.  In addition to the stores are two features which are rather unique to large malls in the United States – a 15-story hotel and a 17-story office tower at center court.  The Wynfrey Hotel, a very upscale establishment with 330 rooms, is positioned at the mall as an anchor would be, at the end of a short corridor of store.  Pizitz was only open a year before being acquired by McRae’s of Jackson, Mississippi, in 1987, and that same year Macy’s opened its first store in the market at the mall.  1996 saw Sears added a store plus a large wing, bringing the mall to 1.9 million square feet.      

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, ALIn 2003, the beginnings of consolidations in the mall’s anchors repositioned many of them.  The first shift was when the original 1987 Macy’s closed and Rich’s was converted to Rich’s-Macy’s as a result of Macy’s eating Rich’s.  The former Macy’s was sold to Saks Incorporated which opened a store under its Proffitt’s division in 2004.  In 2005, Macy’s dropped the Rich’s name and simply became Macy’s, and Saks sold its Proffitt’s and most of the McRae’s division to Belk.  Belk closed the McRae’s store and converted the Proffitt’s store to a Belk in 2006. 

As if that wasn’t already kind of confusing, it gets even more convoluted after this.  In 2006, Belk also acquired Parisian from Saks, and of course they didn’t want to operate two full sized stores, so they swapped the Belk they had opened with the Parisian location.  In addition, they converted a portion of the former McRae’s location, which sat empty because it was still owned by the Pizitz family (see above) and they threatened a lawsuit against Saks Incorporated to obligate their McRae’s lease, to a Belk Home Store in late 2007.  And, if that weren’t enough, Nordstrom is opening its first Alabama store at the mall in the still-vacant 1987 Macy’s location. 

Got all that?

Riverchase Galleria has been one of Birmingham’s major tourist attractions as well, bringing in shoppers from around  Alabama and many neighboring states.  We visited Riverchase Galleria in March 2008 and took the following pictures.   

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL

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Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria Belk in Hoover, AL

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL

Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL

39 Responses to “Riverchase Galleria; Hoover, Alabama”

  1. Once again, great stuff!

    And this brings me to my question…there have been many opportunities in the past, when I was able to take pictures of malls like the Cambridgeside Galleria in Cambridge, MA, and the Square One Mall in Saugus, MA. However I don’t know the history of these malls like I do, say, the Meadow Glen Mall in Medford, MA. Would you guys still want pix of these malls, anyway, if I can get the chance again to take them? And where would I send them?


  2. Thanks for the posting on Riverchase Galleria, been waiting for this one! Malls that were built in the mid 80’s like this are my favorites, especially the 2 level galleria design, and Riverchase is one of my favorites. The lattice work on the glass covering is the most beautiful design in the mall.

    It is good to see Alabama getting a Nordstrom’s. I am pleasantly surprised, as well as, applaud Nordstrom’s for choosing to locate at Riverchase, and not the The Summit lifestyle center in Birmingham, where Saks Fifth Avenue located. This will breathe some much needed new life into Riverchase by filling the empty Macy’s anchor.


  3. Thanks for the posting on Riverchase Galleria, been waiting for this one! Malls that were built in the mid 80’s like this are my favorites, especially the 2 level galleria design, and Riverchase is one of my favorites. The lattice work on the glass covering is the most beautiful design in the mall.

    It is good to see Alabama getting a Nordstrom’s. I am pleasantly surprised, as well as, applaud Nordstrom’s for choosing to locate at Riverchase, and not the The Summit lifestyle center in Birmingham, where Saks Fifth Avenue located. This will breathe some much needed new life into Riverchase by filling the empty Macy’s anchor.


  4. pandacookie: We would be grateful for any submission of pictures. We often receive pictures from readers and have frequently incorporated them into our posts. You can submit them by emailing one of us at ross.schendel at gmail dot com or jason.damas at gmail dot com. Thanks a lot!


  5. Thanks for posting about the Galleria in Birmingham! I’ve been to that mall many times and it seems to have much more positive energy than many other malls these days, during the past few years of “mall slump”. I first discovered that mall in 1988 and before gas got so expensive this year, I’d drive off to Birmingham or Nashville and shop around in malls quite often (at least once a month). In Birmingham, I’d frequently go to the Galleria, Century Plaza, Eastwood, and Brookwood malls. All of them were doing pretty well in the early 1990s. By the late 1990s, I could tell that Century Plaza wasn’t doing very well and was in decline. Despite the Summit being built, the Galleria seems to be hanging on and doing great, even with all of the new things that have been built next to the mall (which starts a decline of many malls once that adjacent development starts). The number of people and the positive atmosphere at the Galleria is far superior to, say, our local Madison Square Mall in Huntsville, which I fear may go into a serious decline if an anchor isn’t found to fill the empty Pizitz/McRaes/old-Belk store. Madison Square is losing the Disney Store as I write this (it’s closing soon) and several merchants have moved out due to other strip shopping centers, and Bridge Street being built nearby.


  6. YES! I have been to this mall! I can’t find my mall directory, and I don’t have any pictures (I was there in ’06). This mall seems a bit “Belk-y” nowadays. I enjoyed the sheer variety, I loved the planter-filled food court. There was also a small game shop where I played “Donkey Kong”! Didn’t remember the skylights, though…

    Did this mall really help kill off Eastwood Mall?


    Chris Reply:

    @Jonah Norason, I used to work at Century Plaza in 1998, and to my understanding, Eastwood Mall was bought out by the same property management company as the The Galleria. They did a great face lift on the mall but due to the decline in the area, the mall did not survive and has now been torn down and turned into a lifestyle shopping center. ( it happens to have a Wal-Mart in it!)


  7. What is the oregin of the name Riverchase?

    I like the idea of a mall with mix usage, with high gas prices malls on the whole will need to add other types of functions than just retail to keep people comeing & remaining viable. Like the Galleria in Houston, Riverchase performs this nicely, All of the different parts feed off each other.


  8. Very nice pictures, Prange Way.


  9. Hours:
    Monday-Thursday 10:00AM-9:00PM
    Friday-Saturday 10:00AM-9:00PM
    Sunday 12:AM-6:00PM Oops! I think somebody didn’t spell check.


  10. Wow, this mall is absolutely stunning. It looks like they plopped a roof on city blocks. Definitely one of the prettiest malls I’ve ever seen.


  11. Wow, the anchors have interessting designs.

    Notably Sears, which reminds me of the OLD SCHOOL Sears from the 50’s.

    Also Profitt’s looks interesting, as does the old Parisian location.

    Was Parisian split at one time or was it always connected?


  12. This mall is glitzy and ’80s in all the best ways. I’ve never been, but I’ve always been a fan. There’s something about the center court, the soaring neon-lined skylights and the integration of the hotel and offices into the complex that just worked.


  13. The Parisian has always been connected, although it was once expanded. The drawing on the directory in the mall is not very accurate as far as building size. The website drawing is much better: http://www.riverchasegalleria.com/html/storedirectory.asp


  14. I happened to stop here on a trip a couple years after it opened. It was very impressive in size and design , esp. when compared with run of the mill 80s malls like Rivergate and Hickory Hollow in Nashville (where I lived at the time).It looks like it has aged well. It will be interesting to see how super-regionals like this fare as gas prices climb.


  15. Rich: Rivergate opened in 1971, Hickory Hollow in 1978. They were both 70s malls. Rivergate seems to be weathering the mall slumps better than Hickory Hollow, which is losing its Dillards soon.

    I agree that the Galleria has aged well. When I’ve been in it recently, it doesn’t seem to have lost any of it’s “positive energy” over the years as many malls have. It’s a very cheerful, fun place to be. I don’t remember any part of the Galleria having a negative feel except for the old Macy’s after it originally closed and the empty McRaes store. Any empty anchor store in a mall is not a good thing.

    If gas prices climb high enough, there will be no point in building super-regional centers. The focus will need to be more on community-oriented centers. However, the Galleria is in a great location since it isn’t far from any part of Birmingham and isn’t far from all of the growth to the south. I think it will continue to do well, unless more shopping centers keep being built near the mall. I was originally afraid that all of the new development behind the mall would hurt it, but so far, it doesn’t seem to have negatively affected it. What the new developments took away, the new exit off I-459 brought in more to replace the losses.


  16. I’m very surprised that Nordstrom is choosing not to raze the former Macy’s building. (Usually, Nordstrom insists on building its stores from scratch.) Also, as this example shows, Nordstrom is far more aggressive compared to Bloomingdale’s when it comes to expansion. For some reason unknown to me, Bloomingdale’s is way too cautious when it comes to entering new markets, especially markets located in red states.

    According to Wikipedia, the size of each of the mall’s anchors is as follows:

    Macy’s: 220,000 sq. ft.
    Belk: 203,500 sq. ft.
    Sears: 150,000 sq. ft.
    Future Nordstrom: 144,000 sq. ft.
    JCPenney: 135,163 sq. ft.
    Belk Home and Children’s Store: 65,500 sq. ft.

    Wikipedia also states that (1) Taylor Hicks (of “American Idol” fame) once worked as this mall’s Easter Bunny, (2) the Riverchase Galleria’s 200 foot skylight is the world’s longest, and (3) Nordstrom is not set to open until Spring 2012.

    In closing, I’d like to say that I am very thankful that Labelscar profilied another one of the country’s twenty largest shopping malls.


  17. I’ve always found it odd that Nordstrom insists on completely razing buildings when their own stores aren’t all that memorable (not that they’re bad.)

    Parisian- man, what a great store. Anyone know if the Bon*Ton has kept the name around?


  18. Actually, Nordstrom is tearing down the old Macy’s/Proffitt’s/Belk, which is why it will b so long before it opens. The mall is also building a streetscape around where it will be.

    By the way, the “For lease” building pictured is not the aforementioned Macy’s/{roffitt’s/Belk, it is the former McRae’s. The building houses Belk kids and home upstairs, but the mall is actively trying to lease the lower level.

    I really miss Parisian. I miss Proffitt’s and Rich’s as well. But I also miss Macy’s. Yes, it still exists, and continues to spread like the bubonic plague, but it isn’t Macy’s. It is some sort of awful low-class store that sells mostly private label crap and cheap brands that Belk also carries. There was a time that you went to Macy’s for the very best. No so much anymore.


  19. I’ve seen a Parisian store here in Michigan (Laurel Park Place in Livonia, MI) over a year ago but I don’t know if it’s still named Parisian or renamed to Belk.


  20. Alpha: From what I know about the Parisian stores being sold to Belk, they did later in turn sell a few of those stores(believe it was 4 locations, but at the least it was the few locations outside of Belk’s traditional Southern operating area) on to Bon-Ton. The one at Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis was converted into a Carson Pirie Scott, and the other 3 in the Detroit area sold to them(Laurel Park Place, Mall at Partridge Creek, and Village of Rochester Hills) continue to operate as Parisian stores.

    Explaining the Parisian sale(from what I know) aside, I really love the look of this mall. There’s no doubt in my mind that the builders of this mall were obviously inspired by the construction of the Houston Galleria, minus(at least the only thing I presume Riverchase may lack, correct me if I’m wrong though) having an ice rick. Also, can anyone identify if it was an office building or hotel that was built above this mall?

    Finally, I also agree with one of the very first posters who said it was a great call for Nordstrom to locate at Riverchase, over the Summit lifestyle center. Also like that they chose to reuse an anchor space, and not demolish the original Macy’s store.


  21. Part of the deal with select Parisian stores being sold to Bon-Ton was that Bon-Ton does not have licensing rights to the Parisian name and can only operate those locations under the Parisian nameplate. Bon-Ton may not open any new Parisian stores.

    I used to work for P.A. Bergner in the advertising department in the late 80’s when they bought the Boston Store from Federated Department Stores, as well as a few Joeseph Speiss stores. I remember it was always a pain in the neck for them to run seperate logos, so they at least changed to a uniform typestyle and that red logo with six connecting hexagons (representing six German brothers that once owned the chain at one point in history; Moss I believe, or something like that). Then Bergner’s went on to purchase Donaldson’s in MN, and retired the name; very foolish. Following that, Bergner’s acquired Carson Pirie Scott and changed the corporate name to Carson Pirie Scott. To make it more confusing, Profitt’s bought Younkers. Carson Pirie Scott attempted to buy Younkers, but in the end Profitt’s bought Carson Pirie Scott in a hostile takeover. Then Saks bought Profitt’s and changed the corporate name to Saks Inc. Saks Inc, went on to buy Herberger’s. So all under the Saks umbrella, you had Boston Store, Bergner’s, Herberger’s, Carson Piries Scott, and Younker’s…all sporting the same typestyle eventually, as well as the red logo. Then Bon-Ton comes along, and buys Saks midwest division, as and also buys Elder-Beerman and Three Parisian stores in the Detroit Michigan area.. So now all of these nameplates operate under the Bon-Ton Banner, and all have a uniform logo, except for Bon-Ton itself which retained the diamond logo, and Parisian. Some of the original culture of each chain was amalgamated into the mix somehow. For instance, the “Come to the right place” slogan has its origin in the once Milwaukee, WI based Boston Store chain.

    I loved my job at P.A. Bergner in the advertising deparment, but it was the only job for which I was fired. I was 20 years old, and it was my job to take a small ad and blow it up into a larger copy called a Violox, and then ship the ads via pony express to the various markets in which they ran. When you blow the ads up, there is almost a dot matrix or “pixel” pattern to the background. One day I was trying to impress this girl, so I blew up this Eva Gabor wig ad and pasted some of the pixel background around the model’s head to make it appear that she was bald. The caption read, “Isn’t it about time for a new Eva Gabor wig”. Someone thougt it would be funny to stuff the ad in an outgoing tube, and it was shipped to a store in one of the Chicago markets, and it did not get proofed and ran as is!!! The next morning I walked into work and you could hear a pin drop. People were lined up and my boss was tapping her foot. I was, of course, fired on the spot. The things we do when we’re young!


  22. Thanks for explaining that about Parisian, CoryTJ. I guess then maybe my understanding of what occurred with the Circle Centre Mall Parisian is off, and that maybe it closed right before the Parisian conversions into Belk stores occurred. So since Bon-Ton doesn’t have a licensing agreement to the Parisian name, does Belk still have the rights to the name then(the 3 stores in suburban Detroit aside, as part of Belk’s sale of those stores to Bon-Ton)? I’m trying to get my understanding straight with what occurred with the 3-4 Parisian stores that were outside of Belk’s operating area.

    I also appreciate you explaining the history behind Bergner’s, and its sister stores(including Carson’s). Only thing that I’ve kept wondering about(and slightly confused me) was how Elder-Beerman ended up as a sister store within the Bon-Ton company. Did E-B used to be an independent dept. store chain on their own, or did another company own them before Bon-Ton?


  23. Before being acquired by Bon-Ton in 2003, Elder-Beerman was an Ohio based retailer with a rather rich history, dating back to 1883….the Elder-Johnson Company. Elder-Beerman was formed when Elder-Johnson merged with Beerman stores in 1962. In the late 1990’s Elder-Beerman acquired two chains, Meis and Stone & Thomas, and the chain grew. But the stores as we know them really didn’t exist in their current format until about 1998 or so. Then they filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and were acquired by Bon-Ton.

    Now, the Parisian story is a bit more confusing. Parisian operated as its own chain, based in Birmingham, AL. It was bought and sold many time in its history, most of the mergers and acquisitions of any significance taking place in the 80’s when they were bought by Saks, Inc. Saks sold Parisian stores to Belk…EXCEPT the for four locations which were sold to Bon-Ton. Bon-Ton converted one of the Parisian stores to its Carson Pirie Scott nameplate (which they bought from Saks at or around the same time), and was allowed as a term of the sale to keep operating the other three locations in the Detroit area under the Parisian banner. Why, I have no idea. Bon-Ton cannot open any more Parisian locations per the terms of the sale. So, what did Belk do with the remaining Parisian stores that they acuired? Convert them to the Belk nameplate, of course. This is sad, because I always liked the Parisian logo and the general feel of their stores.

    Back to Elder-Beerman for a moment. When they opened, they were more like a Kohl’s Department Store to me. They had kind of a value oriented “discount” store feel to them. Then when they were blended into the Bon-Ton chain (which also had this kind of second-tier characteristic) the Elder-Beerman and Bon-Ton nameplates began to look more like the Boston Stores (which by the way is where Bon-Ton’s corporate headquarters is…in Milwaukee, WI at the same location I told you about in a previous post today in this same section…where I worked in the advertising department for P.A. Bergner, who had purchased Boston Store and many other chains at the time).

    Interesting fact: The Boston Store in downtown Milwaukee has only been really kept open as a “favor”. The city has begged them to keep it open for fear that if it closes it will be the last straw for Milwaukee’s troubled Grand Avenue Mall. It’s a shame, because it is a gorgeous mall, where no businesses seem to have been able to flourish since 1999. You can look up Grand Avenue Mall on this site as well. ;-)


  24. Just to clarify, CoryTJ, Proffitt’s actually purchased Saks Fifth Avenue, but adopted the Saks name for the parent company. Years later, the former Proffitt’s company ended up selling itself off, keeping only the Saks stores they had origionally purchased.


  25. Riverchase Galleria is too much of a fortress mall to be done in by surrounding developments. Nearby shopping centers like the Patton Creek power center simply complement the retail offerings of this regional shopping destination.


  26. i also worked for boston store at the regency mall store in the housewares department i was ther for nine years some of the best people i ever worked with were there it all seemed to fall apart after carsons came into the mix i loved working the warehouse sales at the old service bulilding on milwaukes north side new all types of people from other stores corprate and buyers that you realy could talk to now i work for wal mart and on many days its like we are floting solo in a big box and no one cares oh how i miss the old boston store
    i started my own blog on retail i call it stores forever come take a look and prange way feel free to use any of my stuff if you need it and i did link your site on mine


  27. Great feature! I live in Atlanta and travel home to Mississippi a few times a year, so I see this mall quite a bit (great pit stop too). It has held up very well in spite of The Summit only being a few miles up the road. It is the archetype 1980’s megamall, matter of fact, the largest between Atlanta and Dallas. I will say that they have lost a lot of the more upscale and trendy stores that decided to relocate to The Summit instead…I think The Apple Store and The Cheesecake Factory are a couple of stores that could just as easily fit in at the Galleria. I think that getting Nordstrom was a stroke of genius in this situation. H&M would be a great add to the Galleria too.

    Does anyone know about how the owners of The Summit threatened to try and kick Belk off from the center because they didn’t feel that Belk was ‘upscale’ enough for their center? I guess that battle was lost.


  28. The Summit tries to position itself as an upscale lifestyle center, yet it features merchants like Gap, Bed Bath and Beyond, Old Navy, Bruno’s Supermarket and a multiplex theater.


  29. Huh, it’s interesting they’re still operating the few Parisian stores, though I noticed they’re all in upscale malls where a Bon*Ton might seem a little out of place. (The irony is that Parisian always seemed to have its super-nice stores in a lot of failing malls like Eastwood in Birmingham and Beechmont and Forest Fair in Ohio) At least the name isn’t quite dead yet- Always seemed like the ‘right’ mix of chic upscale without being ridiculous (Nordstrom, Saks).

    Belk is also a really chameleon type store, with some of their worse locations looking like a JCPenney to some of their stores (like in Haywood Mall) going upscale with a (better-than-Nordstrom) coffee bar.


  30. Interestingly, this mall has what is the bane of other malls…mixed demographics. The mall has lots of white and African-American shoppers, but it doesn’t get a lot of flack because they are adults actually shopping instead of “ghetto” teenagers “hanging out”.


  31. Having been employed by a major retailer at both The Summit and Riverchase Galleria, I can offer some local insight:

    – Bayer Propeties, which owns The Summit, did try to block the conversion of the center’s Parisian to Belk due to it’s merchandise mix. There was rumored to be language in the Parisian lease that said the space would be occupied by an upscale retailer. After Belk assured Bayer it would make the Summit location a flagship store, Bayer backed down. It was rumored Nordstrom would take over the Parisian building at Summit.

    – Bayer Properties was successful in blocking Office Max from buying the lease of defunct retailer Organized Living. Bayer had to outbid Office Max for the lease of Organized Living’s Summit location. Bayer was able to place Urban Outfitters in part of the former Organized Living space, and American Eagle in the remainder.

    – Brooks Brothers will move to the new phase of The Summit from Riverchase Galleria. American Apparel will also open in the new phase, Fall 09.

    – There are many empty spaces at The Summit. Less so at Riverchase, if you do not count the anchors.

    – General Growth was able to muscle a Nordstrom into Riverchase Galleria. It is a kind of a coup for the mall according to this site: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=514861

    – Summit may have a Bruno’s Grocery (above Kroger/Ralph’s, on par with Publix, below Whole Foods), BB&B, Old Navy… It also has Sak’s, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, BCBG/Max… all higher price-point stores Riverchase lacks. Out of the two centers, Summit is the more upscale. Also, the breadth of merchandise carried at most stores at The Summit outpaces the same brands at Riverchase (J. Crew is an example).


  32. The company that owns this mall has filed for bankruptcy. Nordstrom has cancelled plans for this project. Why were they going to wait till 2012 to open?


  33. Just to make things clear… these photos were probably taken on a sunday. The mall is always filled to the top with people and is at almost full occupancy so IT IS NOT A DEAD MALL!


  34. Growing up in Birmingham, the Galleria was always THE place to go, for everybody. And thankfully, for many people, it still is. I worked at the American Eagle at this mall for nearly three years, and I will say just from an observation standpoint, mall traffic has seen a decrease in the last two years or so. When I first started, it always seemed so crowded on the weekends, but right before I left AE, it seemed like it just wasn’t as busy as it used to be. I will say though that I think GGP is trying to keep the mall in the right direction. Like several people mentioned above, The Galleria is one of the largest shopping destinations in the southeast, so I think if GGP can not be idiots and keep it completive with The Summit, then it will be fine. It’s simply too large to die. I think a big blow was Nordstrom’s not coming. The Galleria has GOT to remain competitive and gain new stores that aren’t already in our market. A thing that really baffled me when I worked there was the number of storefronts that needed to be updated. There was rumor amongst several stores when I worked there that GGP was going to mandate stores to remodel that hadn’t done so in the past 10 years. I’m not sure if they ever enforced this, but several stores moved/remodeled recently. Thank god the Disney Store is gone. It needed a major update, I don’t know why they left it like that for so long. I think one of the biggest problems the Galleria has is its food court SUCKS! there’s nothing to choose from! they’re all asian restaurants. Like we seriously need a Subway in there. And so sad Boardwalk Fries closed! That was a while ago though. I think if GGP can find a dang tenant to occupy the old Proffit’s (Belk) spot, they’ll be fine. The really weird thing also about that is Belk had JUST redone that entire store right before it closed, and it was reallyyy nice. Then they just closed it up. blah. I’ve also never understood why we don’t have a Dillard’s in the Birmingham market. Is it because Belk is in Birmingham? does anybody know? just wondering. Either way, GGP needs to think of something quick to add a little punch to the Galleria. I don’t think it’s in danger of becoming a “dead mall” any time in the near future, but with “The Grove” just opening recently and I’m sure other centers down the road (it seems like Hoover just can’t get enough) the Galleria has got to find a way to make people want to come in. The Galleria has been open for so long that I fear if GGP doesn’t do some sprucing up and get something rolling, tenants might start moving out. And goodness knows we don’t want that.


  35. Oh, and does anybody know why they started leaving the carousel year round? I SOOO miss the waterfall during the regular time of the year. It was HUGE! and so pretty!! :(


  36. why did the Disney store close?

    I wish Nordstrom would reinstate its plans to come to the mall


  37. I see the misunderstanding about Nordstrom and the Galleria (General Growth Properties and co-owner and developer Jim Wilson and Associate) quite a lot.

    GGP, not Jim WIlson was filing for bankruptcy due to many underperforming properties and debt. The Galleria was NEVER PART OF THE BK.

    GGP was going to spend fifty million dollars on the mall as part of the expansion for Norstrom. The BK judge would not allow them to spend that sum and………..this is important,,,,,,,GGP CANCELED THE NORDSTROM PLAN. Nordstrom did not backout. It just moved us down the list. They are negotiating with locations here now but it will be a minimum of two years.

    As most will know, VON MAUR is now taking the old Macy location with one of it’s largest stores. GGP is spending one hundred million dollars on a total mall revamp that includes everything, even some of the bones of the building.

    I went to VON MAUR’S opening in Atlanta a couple weeks ago and removed all doubt that this is the upscale store I was reading about. It is going to add a whole new dimension to the Galleria, far higher than even Parisian held. New reastaurants and the area around the mall are being redone also. So we will have two for the price of two (lol) when Nordstrom opens. But I really do like Von Maur; it will be interesting to see how the upscale end works out as that seems to be the focus in Birmingham right now.


  38. Von Maur Department Store to Open First Location in Alabama

    High-end Retailer Will Anchor Riverchase Galleria Mall in Suburban Birmingham; Move Continues Company’s Strategic National Expansion to the Southeast

    DAVENPORT, Iowa, Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Von Maur Department Stores is pleased to announce that it will open its 29th store at Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, Ala., on November 2, 2013. Located just outside of Birmingham, Ala., the three-level, 185,000 square foot store will be the Company’s first location in Alabama and will become one of Von Maur’s largest stores in the country.

    Known for its outstanding selection of brand name and specialty apparel, shoes, cosmetics, accessories and gifts, the store will feature products from leading brands such as Brooks Brothers, Nic & Zoe, Donald J Pliner, Coach, Joe’s Jeans, Hugo Boss, and Tommy Bahama, among many others. The new store will eventually employ more than 200 associates, the majority of which will be full-time.

    Located at the mall’s former Macy’s location, the store underwent a full reconstruction and now the exterior boasts Von Maur’s signature exterior brick facade with arching entryways. Inside, open expansive floor plans accentuate Von Maur’s residential ambiance, complete with antiques, original artwork and music from the store’s grand piano. New department design in Shoes, Juniors, Handbags and Lingerie add to the shopping experience. An interactive, life-sized tree in children’s is designed to entertain Von Maur’s youngest shoppers while an antique pub, motorcycle and multiple televisions will offer enjoyment in the Men’s areas.

    Thriving in Alabama’s largest metro area with more than one million residents, Riverchase Galleria Mall is surrounded by a highly affluent five-county area. Ideally located at the hub of three major highways – Interstate 65, Interstate 459 and U.S. Highway 31 – the mall attracts more than 15 million visitors annually and is one of the top tourist destinations in the Birmingham area.

    “We’re excited to continue growing the Von Maur brand throughout the Southeast and to open our first Alabama location at the number one shopping location in the state,” said Jim von Maur, president of Von Maur. “Riverchase Galleria Mall’s excellent mix of retailers, hotel accommodations and business offices is a great draw within the region, and we look forward to introducing shoppers to the style, service and experience our loyal customers across the country have come to know and love.”

    Today’s announcement is another milestone in the family-owned Company’s national growth strategy. Founded as a dry goods store in Davenport, Iowa in the late 1800s, Von Maur today operates 27 stores and an 119,000 square foot E-Commerce Center, and is committed to expanding one to two stores each year. In the past two years, the Company has opened two stores in Georgia, and plans to open in upstate New York this October. New stores in Oklahoma City and suburban Milwaukee are planned for 2014 and 2015, respectively.

    Von Maur is widely-regarded for its superior customer service, including an interest-free charge card, liberal return policy, free gift wrapping and shipping services. The Company also offers its associates above-market wages, excellent benefits and a positive, professional work environment.

    About Von Maur
    Von Maur was founded more than 140 years ago in downtown Davenport, Iowa. The Company currently operates 27 stores in 11 states. The Company also runs a successful online business at vonmaur.com. For more information, please visit http://www.vonmaur.com.


    Brendan Griffith


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