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McFarland Mall: See what’s left of the demolished Tuscaloosa Mall

Driving along Skyland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa you will see what looks like an ancient ruin. A skeletal structure resting on rows of beams hovering over piles of scrap steel, or what remains of the McFarland Mall.

Demolition of the mall resumed this spring after crews began leveling the property in early 2021 when multiple excavators lined the front of the mall – which once housed stores like Dillard’s (formerly Gayfers), Goody’s, TJ Maxx, Piccadilly Restaurant and the Fox 12 cinema hall – as diggers then ripped up old shop windows at Shoe Station and Sticks N Stuff.

Now, there are a few excavators and other construction equipment visible from the mall parking lot, along with piles of rubble sealed off with chain-link fencing and signs that read “No Construction Zone.” The only thing left standing will be the Dollar Tree, still operational – and quite busy – despite ongoing demolition.

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

McFarland Mall Tuscaloosa 2022

The Dollar Tree store is the only business operating on the McFarland Mall property. Demolition of the McFarland Mall at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969. Pictured May 3, 2022. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)

LILY: Alabama’s Dead and Dying Malls

Local owner and businessman Stan Pate told The Tuscaloosa News that completion of the demolition of the 38.6-acre site was “overdue” and said he hoped it would become a “legacy project” .

Pate said last year that the plan was to redevelop the property into “a regional sports complex” beginning with the 2021 demolition. Pate and Amason Associates announced via press release that they had engaged Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA ), LLC, to begin market research to determine specific aspects of the future mixed-use, multi-sport and event facility.

Tuscaloosa District 7 Councilmember Cassius Lanier shared some ideas for future plans with WVUA 7 in April 2022.

“I have dreams for Top Golf, Buc-ee’s… Bass Pro Shops,” Lanier said. “He is very open to suggestions. I think we have a lot of opportunities. We spoke with many different developers. Once we take it apart and clean it up, I think the possibilities are endless.

A restaurant building on the property has already been razed ahead of the February 2021 demolition, which marked the destruction of the original building, the 100,000 square foot property at 900 Skyland Blvd East which opened in February 1969 Construction workers destroyed about 2.5 acres. under roof and, in the coming weeks, will move on to another phase where they will demolish another three acres.

The mall was built in 1968 and opened in 1969. Over the years it has housed the Gayfers department store (later Dillard’s), as well as the Fox 12 cinema (later a Regal franchise), a food court and other companies like Woolco, TJ Maxx, Mall Shoe Repair, Orange Julius, Zayre, Drug Mart, Lee’s Big and Tall, Aladdin’s Castle arcade, Diamond Jim’s arcade, Goody’s, Piccadilly Restaurant, Bookland, The Athlete’s Foot, Vieux Carre Sports Bar and many others.

Businessmen Ward Wharton McFarland and James Hinton originally developed the mall for its first phase, with Woolco and Gayfers serving as flagship stores with 30 stores in total at opening.

LILY: The Fox 12 Cinema at McFarland Mall guided my cinematic journey