The Pantheon of American Consumerism, Reborn! Mall of America to Double in Size

The Mall of America, once the largest mall in the USA, and already chock full of retail with its 520 stores, will be doubling in size, in an effort to reclaim the title.

More shopping, of course, but also hotels, a theater, and a skating rink. The amusement park in the center will remain.

I first walked through the mall back in 1996. There were three different Gaps. Apparently that’s insufficient. Clearly, we need six in the same mall. MARK ASHLEY

Mall of America to double in size [Chicago Sun-Times]
(Photo: pianoforte)

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  1. mopar_man says:

    I’ve gone to this place a couple times. There isn’t too much there that appeals to me.

  2. robrob says:

    that’s pretty cool how they are asking the state/taxpayers to help pick up the tab.

    i wish i could get taxpayer support next time i rehab my apartment.

  3. bluebuilder says:

    Maybe this where the number Starbucks per square mile will reach critical mass and go nuclear

  4. B says:

    The John Hodgman article about the Mall of America is one of the funniest things I have ever read. Also, will this make it the largest mall in the country or the continent?

  5. Hexum2600 says:

    Wait… HOTELS? As in plural? What a shoddy way to increase your “retail” area for a title.

  6. kerry says:

    I went there several years ago and my favorite place by far was the General Mills Cereal Adventure store. I bought a Boo Berry tshirt that I’ve never worn. Also, that John Hodgman article is pretty great, yes.

  7. esqdork says:

    Camp Snoopy (the amusement park) rocks, otherwise, it’s a miserable collection of chain stores and small businesses selling tchotkes. The last time I was there was 1999 and there were a lot of stores being rented by people selling Beanie Babies (TM). It was kind of sad.

  8. MeOhMy says:

    @robrob: If you can turn your apartment into a major tourism center, you might be able to pull it off :-)

    As someone who lives in the shadow of another giant mall, MoA didn’t impress me much.

  9. Jigen says:

    Mall near me has been trying to increase its size for a few years now, in an effort to make it the largest mall in the country. Thankfully there has been lot of resistance.

  10. ElizabethD says:

    That’s not a mall, that’s a small city.

    Next: condos at Mall of America. Am I right?

  11. Pelagius says:

    It will have the same number of stores, but everything will be twice as large in order to keep pace with the size of its patrons.

  12. ajn007 says:

    @bluebuilder: They’ve only got two right now. Interestingly, this is significantly less than the number of Starbucks we have here in Austin in a comparable amount of space.

  13. FDrebin says:

    What is with all the complaints about it having nothing but chain stores? It is a MALL!! What did you expect?

    What that made you think the MOA would be something beyond Planet Hollywood, Gap, and a collection other chain brands, but in one large area?

    We are all very impressed at how you have noticed that Starbucks has a lot of stores, and chains are everywhere, and how you probably don’t own a television, but get over yourselves already!

  14. grkgus says:

    That is nothing compared to what is going on by me. They are building a mall with condos, hotels, movie theater, ice skating and they are also going to be making a path train to it. Its in east rutherford, nj currently where the Giants Stadium is located. They are trying to rebuild the stadium further back. HUGE project.

    http://www.meadowlandsxanadu.com/static/node1304.jsp;jsess

  15. holocron says:

    I live in Minneapolis, which is NOT where the Mall of America resides. It resides in Bloomington, MN. That said, here are a couple of related comments.

    1. It isn’t all that impressive, if you ask me.
    2. I wager that they’re going to end up building a new Twins Ballpark near here as well.
    3. New construction is set to include several performance spaces, including a 4000 seat auditorium.
    4. Camp Snoopy is NO MORE. The rights to use Snoopy were not renewed by the company that owns the rights. The amusement park is now known as “The Park at MOA”.
    5. My wife used to work at a store there, for a brief period of time when we first moved here. Friggin’ chaos.
    6. We like to go there on Black Friday and just sit and watch the chaos (drinking our overpriced coffee, of course.)
    7. Oh, and there are more Caribou Coffee shops than Starbucks. It is a local company, after all.

  16. jesseraub says:

    I grew up about fifteen minutes from the Mall of America, thus causing me to frequent the place whenever bored. The place is pretty ridiculous. However, the draw of high-end stores (aka, an Apple store which most malls don’t normally have) can pay off.

    The thought of the mall expanding makes me cringe. The place is overpopulated, most chains have two to three stores inside the mall. With the recent addition of an IKEA just across the street, the whole area is just going to become a conglomerate of the mall.

  17. Meh. My wife and I walked through the mall a couple of years ago and there was nothing spectacular about it except for the amusement park. We don’t give a crap about any of the clothing stores because unless you live in the area who goes to MOA for clothes? Just about everything else was the norm for a mall or uninteresting. Given that we had a map it was easy to pick out where we wanted to go and get out.

  18. crosenblum says:

    Just a very noisy place, I’ve visited there, worked there, even was there on it’s first day.

    Just not very convenient to find shops you look for, nor better ways to travel through it.

    It is convenient that there is a LightRail station in the basement, for easy access to Downtown Minneapolis.

    I would love to meet some fellow consumerists there someday, share some tips, support each other…etc.

  19. brooklynbs says:

    I went to The Mall of America once during a long layover at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. What struck me was the fact that I was in a REALLY BIG mall. I mean, this mall is REALLY BIG — bigger than any mall I’ve ever been to.

    Anyway, I went to the A&W in the food court, got a root beer float, and then went back to the airport and got faced in a bar.

  20. minneapolisite says:

    I worked at Nordstrom at the MOA for quite awhile. While some of the comments here have a ring of truth, much of them are typical over-the-top criticism. Taxpayers are willing to contribute to expanding the MOA because it does bring in the tourists who enjoy shopping here because of the (1) wide selection in (2) a single space (3) with no sales tax on clothing.

    solareclipse asks “unless you live in the area who goes to MOA for clothes?” The answer? A LOT more tourists shop at the MOA for clothes than locals. Locals prefer smaller “dale” malls (Rosedale, Ridgedale, Southdale, etc.) Retail historical tidbit: the first indoor shopping mall is Southdale in Edina, MN.

    Yes, the majority of the stores are the usual retail chain stores, but those of you who don’t own a TV and boycott Starbucks just because they’re Starbucks might be surprised to learn that chain stores are popular among middle-class Americans. That is why they became chains. The MOA actually has two Starbucks (and three Caribous) and no Planet Hollywoods.

    After having several retail jobs, I was grateful for the MOA’s dining selections (and mall employee discount!) It’s hard to pack a lunch for a mall job and a person gets sick of eating at Pretzelmaker every single day.

    I personally only shop at the MOA for certain stores that aren’t available elsewhere in the cities (such as Nordstrom), but I am still grateful to this retail village for the dollars it brings into the state from both American and foreign tourists.

  21. royal72 says:

    if they add a blues brothers roller coaster, like the mall scene from the movie, i’m all for it.

  22. minn-eh-sota says:

    God, as a local, I can’t stand the MOA.
    It feels like half the stores sell tourist merch, either for MN or the mall itself.
    There are so many tourists who tend to stop in the middle of the walkways just to admire how big the place is, which blocks the people who know what they want, and want to get the hell out.
    There are plenty of malls within half an hour of MOA that are much more preferable – Eden Prairie, Southdale (first enclosed mall ever!), and Ridgedale – and two of those have Apple Stores.
    Nickelodeon just won the bid for the Park… if they have a Legends of the Hidden Temple attraction, I’ll take back every negative comment about MOA.
    I’m pretty sure Cereal Adventures is gone, too.

  23. jiffysquid says:

    “The John Hodgman article about the Mall of America is one of the funniest things I have ever read.”

    Where can I find this article? Is it available online? (I did a google search and found many references to a chapter in his book “The Areas of My Expertise.” but nothing about an article version.)

  24. Edidid says:

    I live under 20 minutes for MOA (Mall of Aerica) and I can’t understand why they would expand it at this point. There are quite a few empty store fronts and repeated stores. If you can’t fill up your current space why would you invest in more space to lose money on?

  25. CaptainRoin says:

    @Edidid: because then they might have to change the name to “mall of east-central-minnesota” if they weren’t the biggest ;)

    Been there, nothing special. I do heart the Ikea tho.

  26. weave says:

    It’s now only third largest? So that begs the question, which mall is the largest?

  27. B says:

    King of Prussia is the largest mall in America. West Edmonton Mall is the largest on the continent, and CityStars Mall in Egypt is the world’s largest. If MoA doubles in size, it will still be smaller than the West Edmonton Mall.

  28. BRBBQ says:

    I’m a local and I go to the MOA all the time – I can get tons of shit done at once. It has MN’s only H&M (admittedly the worst one I’ve been to besides the one outside Chicago), Nordstrom Rack has good deals, and the people watching is great. It’s not like we’re BFF but it’s convenient as hell and there are bars there.

  29. M3wThr33 says:

    I’ve been to the West Edmonton mall twice on visits to Canada. It was quite big. Lots of theme parks and arcades. Plural. It rocked.

  30. weave says:

    @B: King of Prussia? I live close to there and go there quite a bit. It doesn’t seem THAT large. Some of that is also a little bogus because it’s really two malls that aren’t connected. To walk from one to the other requires going outside across a parking lot (via a covered walkway at least) and then walk through a Macy’s store.

    Also a bit bizarre is that many stores are duplicated in each “mall.” (The Court and The Plaza)

  31. ZonzoMaster says:

    Does the MOA at least have a book store?

  32. djyox says:

    Hot tip for consumerists… Take it from a local, if your going to check out this mall, don’t even bother stepping inside on a weekend if your not willing to give up a few hours to push yourself though piles of people.

    Go durring mid week if you want to get any shopping done. Its just crazy to go on the weekend. Use the parking ramp, and park on florda or above if you use the east side ramp. You want to shoot for the 3rd or even better the 4th floor. The 4th is mostly empty last time I was there other than a hooters and other shops you pass on your way to hooters, but never much of a crowd up there.


    And yes lest time I was there there was a book store… I forget which one, but one of the bigger chains, or maybe they were moving?.. Ehh goes to show how much I stop into a book store..

  33. MeOhMy says:

    @weave: KOP is often considered the largest in terms of actual shopping space. While other malls may be larger in terms of overall square footage, KOP doesn’t have an empty atrium, an amusement park, a skating rink, or a bowling alley. It’s all shops.

  34. billhelm says:

    I live about 10 mins from the place and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been there in the last 10 years.

    Tourist Trap adequately describes it. But it’s a tourist machine, no doubt.

  35. minneapolisite says:

    The MOA has several bookstores (most notably a nice Barnes and Noble).

    For visitors: time your visit. Come Tuesday or Wednesday mornings for the best parking, best service, and fewest other shoppers.

    For locals: The MOA stores are open one hour later than any other mall stores in the cities, so if you need a last-minute item after other stores are closed, (maybe a gift on a way to a party, or shoes on your way for a date), try the MOA.

  36. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    From a marketing point of view this place is a tourist destination as much as a retail outlet. It’s like Disney or any other destination and they are right to ask for favorable tax terms if they can get them. They are after all, bringing a lot of jobs and tax dollars into the local economy so they should bargain for a break on those things as incentive to expand and make such a huge investment and risk.

    Also there’s a lot of marketing clout when it comes to being the “biggest” in America. It’s the same thing with cars with the most horsepower, if you’re not the “biggest and best” less people will see you as a destination unto itself. That’s their draw and marketing power, is to be the biggest, best mall you can ever go to. It’s why people fly in from all over the country to go there.

    I just don’t see them being a problem asking for tax breaks when the local politicians will see benefits for years to come from the thousands of jobs and tax dollars that will come in from it.

    Jason Ryan Isaksen