Does the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota need to get bigger? It’s only the biggest mall in the country, so of course it does! The mall just broke ground on a $250 million addition that adds 50 stores, an atrium, an office tower, a luxury hotel, and a massive and fancy “food hall” to replace the current food court. The owners ultimately plan $2.5 billion in additions in the coming decade, adding one new thing per year.
Once the planned expansions are done, the mall will also have 300 more shops, an ice rink, a water park (not to be confused with the amusement park it already has) office space, medical office space, and more underground parking.
By doubling in space, the Mall of America might be able to take the top spot for largest mall in the world. The current title holder is the New South China Mall in Dongguan, China. It has 5 million square feet of space for stores, more than twice as much as the Mall of America, but is almost entirely empty. People really only visit its IMAX theater and fast-food restaurants.
The Mall of America certainly doesn’t have that problem. It brings 42 million visitors per year, many of whom are tourists from other countries. But they have to keep it fresh. “The overarching goal is to always keep the attraction fresh and continue to enhance it,” a mall exec told Pioneer Press. “That’s what Disney and all the great attractions do. You never keep it the same.”
I have never been to the Mall of America, so all of my impressions of it come from John Hodgman’s story about it for the radio program “This American Life” eight years ago, which has almost nothing to do with the Mall of America whatsoever. You should listen to it anyway.
Mall of America set for super-sizing [Pioneer Press]