The Early Days and Development
Riverchase Galleria, fondly known as The Galleria, is a sprawling super-regional shopping mall and mixed-use development in Hoover, Alabama.
Opened in February 1986 by developer Jim Wilson & Associates, it initially spanned 1,200,000 square feet and housed four anchor stores: Parisian, Pizitz, Rich’s, and JCPenney.
During its prime, the Galleria was recognized as the most expansive mixed-use project in the Southeastern United States and among the top 10 in the nation.
Presently, it holds the 43rd position among the largest shopping malls in the United States and remains the biggest enclosed shopping center in Alabama.
Prime Location and Offerings
Located where U.S. Highway 31 (Montgomery Highway) and Interstate 459 intersect, the Riverchase Galleria complex has been a magnet for various businesses and establishments. The complex includes:
- The region’s only Costco
- Anchor stores such as Belk, Macy’s, JCPenney, Dave & Buster’s, and Von Maur
- The 17-story, 285,000-square-foot Galleria Tower office building houses the headquarters of Walter Energy, Inc.
- The 15-story, 1,700,000-square-foot Hyatt Regency
Several restaurants and other businesses, such as Stix, J. Alexander’s, Bonefish Grill, and Olive Garden, are on the property’s out-parcels.
Costco, FedEx Office, and Home Depot have also found their homes on other out-parcels. Until 2006, the Galleria was home to a 10-screen Regal Entertainment Group movie theater. The space has since been transformed into an Aveda Salon and Cosmetology school.
Evolution and Expansion
The Galleria has experienced numerous changes in its anchor stores over the years. In March 1987, it added its first Macy’s store, acquiring and renaming the Pizitz chain to McRae’s later that year.
Throughout the 1990s, the Galleria saw further expansions, including the addition of Sears and a new wing, making the shopping center a whopping 2,400,000 square feet.
In the early 2000s, the Galleria underwent various consolidations, rebrandings, and a $60 million renovation completed in 2013. This renovation plan introduced the first Von Maur store in Alabama and rebranded the Wynfrey Hotel as the Hyatt Regency Birmingham—The Wynfrey Hotel.
In recent years, the Riverchase Galleria saw the closure of several stores and anchors, including Sears in October 2019 and Belk Home and Children in May 2021. However, the Galleria remains the only mall in Alabama with a Macy’s, a testament to its lasting retail appeal.
Riverchase Galleria Timeline
|Healthcare facility plans halted; new experiential retail space announced for former Sears location
|First Macy’s store in Alabama opens at the Galleria
|Sears and a new wing are added, making it the largest mixed-use project in the Southeastern United States
|Macy’s anchor store closes, and Rich’s location is renamed Rich’s-Macy’s
|Belk acquires the Parisian store chain from Saks, Inc.
|LEGO opens the first LEGO Brand Retail store in Alabama at the mall
|$60 million renovation is completed
|Dave & Buster’s and True Religion open at the mall
|Sears closes its location at the Galleria
|LEGO store closes its location at the Galleria
|Belk closes its Home and Children location
|Potential redevelopment plans being drawn up for the Riverchase Galleria and Patton Creek shopping centers
|Health care facility plans halted; new experiential retail space announced for former Sears location
Recent Events and Future Plans
The Riverchase Galleria has experienced its share of challenges, including two shootings in 2018 and 2020. Nevertheless, the Galleria continues to persevere and evolve.
Recent news indicates potential redevelopment plans for the Riverchase Galleria and Patton Creek shopping centers. The Galleria campus could transform into a mixed-use center, including residential use.
However, plans for a healthcare facility at the Galleria have been halted as another retail option has emerged. In March 2023, it was announced that a new experiential retail space would be taking over the former Sears location.
This innovative concept aims to attract customers with its unique blend of immersive shopping experiences, dining, and entertainment options. As a result, the Galleria is once again poised to redefine itself and adapt to the ever-changing retail landscape.
Community Impact and Legacy
Over the years, the Riverchase Galleria has served as a hub for the Hoover community and the surrounding region. It has provided countless jobs and contributed to the local economy, serving as a gathering place for families, friends, and visitors.
The Galleria has played a significant role in Hoover’s growth, with the city’s population increasing by more than 66% between 1986 and 2020.
As the retail industry continues to evolve and adapt to new consumer preferences and shopping habits, the Riverchase Galleria remains an iconic symbol of Hoover’s resilience and a testament to the city’s ability to attract and sustain businesses.
With its ongoing redevelopment plans and commitment to offering a diverse range of retail, dining, and entertainment options, the Galleria is set to remain a beloved destination for generations to come.