Minnesota’s Mall of America is expanding to include – you betcha – a casino
Minnesota’s Mall of America is expanding
Apparently 4.2 million square feet, 520 world-class shops, an aquarium and an indoor family theme park wasn’t enough. Now the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN is planning a second phase that will include a casino.
Phase II is zoned for up to 5.7 million sq.ft. of new development and will be situated on a land area of 42 acres of adjacent property to the north of Mall of America on the old site of the Met Center, the former home of the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars. A bridge will also be constructed to link Phase I and Phase II. The first element of the Phase II expansion occurred when IKEA broke ground in the summer of 2003. The 306,000 sq.ft. store is situated on a land area of 15 acres of the Met Center lot. The home furnishings retailer features approximately 75 different room settings, three model homes, a supervised children’s play area, as well as a 320-seat IKEA Restaurant serving Swedish specialties.
Also planned for Phase II is an NHL-sized ice skating rink; Tivoli Gardens, an indoor golf course and an international center for concerts and performing arts. Also included in the expansion will be a family-oriented hotel with themed rooms that will include an igloo room, a train room and a Hawaiian room, a concert center for performing arts, dance and family shows, a tram that will transport passengers from the light rail station into the center of Phase II and an Italian canal with gondolas surrounded by dancing fountains. The expansion also will include restaurants serving food from around the world, such as Paris, France, Italy and Scandinavia. The most interesting aspect of Phase II would be the addition of a casino, which would comprise less than five percent of the four million sq.ft. expansion. The proposed 220,000-square-foot Indian casino would sit atop the expanded complex.
The expansion would make the mall the world’s largest, surpassing the West Edmonton Mall in Canada.
If the proposed casino falls through, the Mall of America intends to alter the plans. The entire new wing will be themed around Europe with districts modeled after Rome, Versailles, Little Italy, Tivoli Gardens, Venice and Champs Elysees. The retail in the new district will consist of European fashion boutiques and two as-yet-unnamed “high fashion” department stores. On the proposed expansion’s upper levels will sit a 220,000-sq.ft. cinema, a 6,000-seat concert hall, a casino and four hotel towers ranging between 12 and 14 stories and containing 1,500 rooms.
The Mall opened in August of 1992 and is located in Bloomington, MN, just minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. It cost $650 million to build the mall, which has more than 520 stores, 20 sit-down restaurants, 30 fast food restaurants, 36 specialty food stores, eight nightclubs, 14 movie screens and 12,550 parking spaces. Some of the mall’s attractions include Camp Snoopy, Underwater Adventures, LEGO Imaginations Center, Jillian’s Hi Life Lanes, NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Sears.
The mall also includes an office complex/business center with conference facilities and recreational/fitness and spa facilities. More than 35 hotels located within five miles of Mall of America offer courtesy shuttle service to the mall and the airport. The average consumer spends 2.7 hours in the Mall of America, which attracts 35 million to 42 million visitors a year.The mall hosts more than 300 events annually.
For more information, contact Simon Property Group, Inc., 115 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204; 317-636-1600; Web site: www.simon.com.