Plaza Las Américas
||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (August 2012)|
|Location||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Opening date||September 12, 1968|
|Developer||Empresas Fonalledas, Inc.|
|Owner||Plaza Las Américas, Inc
Empresas Fonalledas, Inc.
|No. of stores and services||300+ (approx.)|
|No. of anchor tenants||3|
|Total retail floor area||2.173 million ft² (2.319 million ft² including office building)|
|No. of floors||3 of shopping mall
12 of office bldg. ("La Torre")
Plaza Las Américas is a shopping mall in Hato Rey, San Juan, Puerto Rico, located at the intersection of Routes 18 and 22. It is near the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, the Hiram Bithorn Stadium, and the WKAQ-TV's studios. "Plaza", as it is known to many Puerto Ricans, was the first indoor mall built in Puerto Rico. It is the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean and the second largest in Latin America.
In 1918, brothers Jerónimo, Rosa, Gerardo and Jaime Fonalledas acquire 527 acres (2.133 km2) of land previously known as "Las Monjas". This land was property of Don Pablo Ubarri Capetillo, the Count of Santurce. By 1920, little by little cane harvesting was eliminated with the intention of using the land for the creation of a milk company, eventually known as "Vaquería Tres Monjitas". In 1950, the metropolitan area of San Juan was growing rapidly. The planning board begins to project the ordered development of the lands. It is then that the Fonalledas brothers come up with the idea of establishing a regional shopping center in the "Las Monjas" property. The planning board includes a space of 15 land cords for a shopping center in its development plan. In 1962, the plans for the construction of a shopping center and the negotiations with tenants begin. In April 1967, construction of Plaza Las Americas begins, under the direction of engineer Peter Jacobson. On September 12, 1968, Plaza Las Americas holds its grand opening. It is the first enclosed shopping center in Puerto Rico and the largest in Latin America. The project is inaugurated with a total of 79 establishments, a twin cinema and parking for 4,000 vehicles. One hundred percent of the space is rented and nearly 2,000 people are employed in the new mall. The primary anchor store is a three-level (261,500 square foot) J. C. Penney. It is the chain's first location outside the fifty states and its largest operation between 1968 and 1971. The mall also houses two San Juan-based department stores as its second and third anchors. These are a two-level (76,500 square foot) Gonzales Padin and (22,000 square foot) Velasco. Inline stores include Martha Washington Ice Cream, Gordon's Jewelers, Florsheim Shoes, La Esquina Famosa (men's clothing), Bakers (shoes), Zales, Clubman, Marianne Shops, Singer Sewing Center, Lerner Shops, Thom McAn, La Favorita and First Federal Savings Bank, along with an F. W. Woolworth Company, Farmacias Gonzalez (pharmacy), La Cosa (curios), La Tienda Sin Nombre (shoes), Benny's Toys, Pueblo Supermarket, travel agency and a full-sized hardware store. A small section had a second floor where medical and business offices were accessible. The following year, the architectural design of Plaza las Americas wins the URBE Award for Best Commercial Architecture
In 1979, the first expansion of the shopping center is completed. Fifty five new stores are added in a three-level North Wing. This is anchored by a 3-level (329,000 square foot) Sears. The "Terraza de Plaza", the first food court to be established in the island, comprises the third level of the addition, along with two additional movie theater halls, nicknamed Plaza III and Plaza IV. In 1992, the new development plan for the second great expansion of Plaza Las Americas is published. In 1994, the expansion of Plaza Las Américas and also the remodeling of "La Terraza" are completed. The number of restaurants was increased from 19 to 24 and the movie theater halls from 5 to 10. The construction of the "Torre de Plaza" is finished at a cost of $15 million. The Tower added 146,000 square feet (13,600 m2) of profitable space to the shopping center. In 1996, Plaza Las Americas announces its largest expansion and remodeling at a cost of more than $246 million. In 1997, the advertising campaign of Plaza Las Americas ("Menos mal que está Plaza") is awarded the Maxi Award which is granted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The following year, the first phase of the center's three-year-long expansion and renovation is dedicated. This consists of a newly built four-level (350,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, replacing the three-level store that had opened at the mall in 1968. The new Penney's at Plaza Las Americas is the chain's largest store. The original location is subdivided into new retail spaces. In 1999, the overpass bridge on the De Diego Expressway is inaugurated, offering better access to the shopping center.
In 2000, the remodeling and expansion of the shopping center was completed, offering a new facade and a total of 2,100,000 square feet (200,000 m2), occupied by over 300 stores. A three-level (255,000 square foot) Macy’s opened as the third anchor of the shopping center on October 25, making it the chain's first location outside the fifty states. Local movie theater chain Caribbean Cinemas opened a thirteen-screen movie theater and is the busiest and highest-grossing of the entire chain. A concept of "public" art was created in the shopping center, which includes pieces by local artists. In 2012, Plaza Las Américas invested $12 million in remodeling the mall's north entrance facade. The remodeling work began on May 23, 2012 and were completed by mid November 2012, just before the holiday season. In addition, between July–August 2012, expansion began on the multistory parking, located in the southern area of the mall. The expansion extended the five floors of multistory to add over 300 parking spaces. All parking areas of the mall were also repaved while new landscape gardens designs where developed in front of the main entrance. On August 28, 2013, Plaza opened the first ever Cheesecake Factory in Puerto Rico.
- Plaza Las Americas is considered by many to be the Caribbean's leading shopping center.
- It is the largest shopping center in the Caribbean.
- Plaza's RadioShack and Puma are each the busiest and highest grossing in the world.
- Plaza's Macy's is the highest grossing in the world and also the first one to open outside North America and in the Caribbean.
- Plaza's Chili's is the highest grossing in the world.
- The defunct Borders Books & Music store was the highest grossing store in its entire worldwide chain.
- Plaza bears the largest JCPenney store in the world at a full 4 stories.
- The Forever 21, Sephora and Abercrombie & Fitch stores located in the mall were the first stores that each chain opened in Latin America, along with Victoria's Secret and CH Carolina Herrera.
- It holds 2 police stations (PRPD and SJPD), as well as a small fire department post in the lower parking complex, right next to the police station.
- The mall produces approximately 8,000 local jobs.
- The mall has a local economic impact of approximately $268 million.
- The mall has approximately 11,000 parking spaces.
- Plaza has the Caribbean Cinemas largest, most busiest and highest-grossing movie theater of the entire local movie theater chain, with 13 screens. The Plaza Caribbean Cinemas is also the first one in Puerto Rico to screen 3D films with Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience on February 27, 2009.
- It has the world's largest Romano's Macaroni Grill restaurant.
- It houses the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant in the Caribbean, officially opened on August 28, 2013.
- The mall's 1979 expansion added a water fountain from where water rise to the mall's roof and a number of electrical stairs that cross over it. 
- Marian Díaz (2012-05-23). "Plaza Las Américas remodelará su fachada". GFR Media Group. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- Preguntas Frecuentes - Plaza Las Americas
- "Our History". Empresas Fonalledas, Inc. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- "Un Imperio Llamado Fonalledas". GFR Media Group. 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- "Leasing Space at PLAZA- The Stores". Empresas Fonalledas, Inc. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- Brenda Vázquez (2012-06-19). "El éxito detrás de Chilis y Macaroni Grill". YastaPR. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- Llega a Ponce Romano’s Macaroni Grill - NotiCel.com.
- "Romano's Macaroni Grill en Plaza Las Americas". GFR Media Group. 2004-11-23. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- The Cheesecake Factory abrirá en Plaza Las Américas en el 2013 - Plaza Las Americas.com
- The Cheesecake Factory abre antes de lo previsto - El nuevo Día.com