Mall of America
|Mall of America|
The entrance to Mall of America
|Address||60 East Broadway, Bloomington, Minnesota, United States 55425|
|Opening||August 11, 1992|
|Owner||Triple Five Group|
|Floor count||4 on East and South Wings|
3 on North and West Wings
|Floor area||2,869,000 sq ft (266,500 m2) + 5,400,000 sq ft (500,000 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||HGA, KKE Architects, Inc., Jerde Partnership|
|Main contractor||Melvin Simon & Associates|
Triple Five Group
|Number of stores||520|
|Number of anchors||3 (2 open, 1 vacant)|
(Two 7-story ramps and two overflow surface lots)
The Mall of America (abbreviated MOA) is a shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, United States. It lies southeast of the junction of Interstate 494 and Minnesota State Highway 77, north of the Minnesota River, and across the Interstate from the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. It opened in 1992, and is one of the largest shopping malls in the world.
The mall is managed by the Triple Five Group (which in turn is owned by the Ghermezian family, along with the West Edmonton Mall and the American Dream). Eighty percent of visitors to the Mall of America are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Illinois, Ohio and Canada.
The mall's concept was designed by the Triple Five Group, owned by the Ghermezian brothers, who also own the largest shopping mall in North America, the West Edmonton Mall. The Mall of America is located on the site of the former Metropolitan Stadium, where the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins played until the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome opened in 1982. A plaque in the mall's amusement park commemorates the former location of home plate and one seat from Met Stadium was placed in Mall of America at the exact location it occupied in the stadium, commemorating a 520-foot (160 m) home run hit by hall-of-famer Harmon Killebrew on June 3, 1967.
In 1986, the Bloomington Port Authority signed an agreement with the Ghermezian organization. Groundbreaking for the mall took place on June 14, 1989. Organizations involved include Melvin Simon and Associates, Teachers Insurance and Annuity, and the office of architect Jon Jerde.
Mall of America opened its doors to the public on August 11, 1992. Its anchors were Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Sears. Even before opening, the mall had earned several nicknames, including "The Megamall", "Sprawl of America", "Hugedale" in reference to the four major "dale" shopping malls within the Twin Cities: Rosedale, Southdale, Ridgedale and the now-defunct Brookdale.
Mall of America became the largest shopping mall in total area and largest in total store vendors in the United States when it opened. The Mall of America's 42 million annual visitors equal roughly eight times the population of the state of Minnesota. As of 2015[update], the mall employed over 11,000 workers year-round and 13,000 during peak seasons.
In spring 2020, Mall of America closed for a period of twelve weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, closing on March 17, and reopening on June 10 with only 150 tenants open for business. The mall was originally scheduled to reopen on June 1, but civil unrest in the Twin Cities around this time caused the mall to postpone the reopen.
In 2003, after a protracted six-year legal battle between Simon Property Group, the managing general partner of the property, and the Ghermezian brothers/Triple Five Group, over majority ownership of the site, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the Ghermezians, effectively transferring control and planning authority of the mall back to the creator of the concept. The dispute stemmed from a 1999 purchase of Teacher's Insurance's 27.5% equity stake by Simon Properties, giving them majority ownership. The Ghermezians claimed they were never told of the deal and sued Simon, citing fiduciary responsibility. On November 3, 2006, the Ghermezians gained full control of Mall of America by spending US$1 billion.
On May 18, 2008, the Mall of America received a tax break for a proposed $2 billion expansion. The bill gave the city of Bloomington the ability to increase taxes on sales, lodging and food and beverages to finance a parking ramp at the mall. On March 24, 2012, the Triple Five Group announced the start of a $200 million expansion that would build into the north parking lot of the mall. The plans called for an additional hotel and an additional 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of retail space. The project broke ground in the fall of 2013 and began opening in stages in the summer of 2015. In March 2014, ground was broken on the mall's north side for the $104 million, 14-story JW Marriott hotel, owned and financed by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. In 2018, it was announced that MOA had proposed to build an indoor water park, with a cost between $150 to $200 million for the project.
The Mall of America has a gross area of 4,870,000 sq ft (452,000 m2) or 96.4 acres (390,000 m2), enough to fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside. The mall is nearly symmetric, with a roughly rectangular floor plan. More than 530 stores are arranged along three levels of pedestrian walkways on the sides of the rectangle, with a fourth level on the east side. Four anchor department stores are located at the corners. The mall is organized into four different zones. Each of those zones had its own decorative style until a series of renovations from 2010 to 2015 led to a unified and more luxurious style, as well as to coincide with the mall's first major expansion. The mall's food court is on the third floor.
Despite Minnesota's cold winters, only the mall's entrances and some below ground areas are heated. Heat is allowed in through skylights above the central amusement park area. The majority of the heat is produced by lighting fixtures, other electric devices and people in the mall. In fact, even during the winter, air conditioning systems may still be in use during peak hours to ensure a comfortable shopping environment. Although the common areas are unheated, the individual stores do have heating systems.
Two nearly identical seven-story parking ramps on the east and west sides of the mall provide 12,287 parking spaces. Overflow parking north of the building provides an additional 1,200–1,500 spaces and 1,407 spaces are provided by IKEA, which opened in July 2004.
During its run as an all-encompassing entertainment and retail venue, certain aspects, particularly its bars, have come under scrutiny. In early-2000 a Mardi Gras-themed bar, Fat Tuesday, shut its doors due to indecent exposure and alcohol-related offenses. On November 29, 2011, Google announced indoor maps for Mall of America along with several other places like airports, parks and public spaces. On January 3, 2012, Macy's Inc. announced it would close its Bloomingdale's location at the Mall of America after nearly 2 decades.
The Theatres at Mall of America opened three days after the grand opening of the mall. Initially, the cinema was run by General Cinemas, but it was bought out then rebranded by AMC Theatres, and eventually operated by mall management. The cinema occupied the south side of the fourth floor through December 2016, when it closed permanently. It was replaced by Cinemex subsidiary CMX Cinemas in late 2017.
On December 28, 2018, it was announced that Sears (which has been at the Mall of America since its opening in 1992) would be closing as part of a plan to close 80 stores nationwide.
Nickelodeon Universe is an indoor theme park in the center of the mall. The park features roller coasters, among numerous other rides and attractions, including many not related to Nickelodeon, and is the largest indoor theme park in the United States. Unlike many indoor amusement parks, Nickelodeon Universe has a great deal of natural foliage in and about the park, and its floor has a wide variance in height – the highest ground level in the park is 15 feet (4.6 m) above the lowest. The rides include the roller coasters SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge, Fairly Odd Coaster, Back at the Barnyard Hayride and Avatar Airbender, and a thrill ride called BrainSurge. The latter attraction bills itself as a "rather peculiar" ride. It also has a miniature golfing section called Moose Mountain. This miniature golf course features eighteen holes and a relatively fast astroturf surface.
At the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, guests travel through a 300-foot-long (91 m) curved tunnel through 14 feet (4.3 m) of water to view over 4,500 sea creatures including sharks, turtles, stingrays and many more. Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium offers special events such as sleepovers, scuba diving, snorkeling and birthday parties.[third-party source needed]
The Harmon Killebrew chair
The band organ, formerly at the carousel entrance
The mural painted in the style of Seurat; formerly near the food court
Nostalgic artifacts and memorials
- A stadium seat commemorating the longest home run at Metropolitan Stadium, hit by Minnesota Twins player Harmon Killebrew on June 3, 1967. The seat is painted red and bolted to a wall to mark the exact height and position at which the ball landed in the upper-deck seats.
- A plaque embedded in the floor of Nickelodeon Universe, marking the exact spot of home plate at Metropolitan Stadium. 
- A plaque embedded in the floor of Nickelodeon Universe, marking the spot of the 50 yard line at Metropolitan Stadium was added in 2018.
- The United Airlines Flight 93 memorial, for those who died aboard during the September 11, 2001 attacks. The bust of Tom Burnett (who was born and raised in Bloomington) is on the west side of the first floor, next to the fountain in front of Nordstrom.
In the lower level of the eastern parking ramp is the Mall of America station, the busiest transit hub in Minnesota with services to and from many destinations in the Minneapolis – St. Paul metropolitan area. The Transit Station contains two stops on the Metro Transit network: the southern terminus of the METRO Blue Line (light rail) to Downtown Minneapolis via MSP Airport and Hiawatha Avenue (operated by Metro Transit), and the northern terminus of the METRO Red Line (BRT) to Apple Valley (operated by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority). Both agencies also operate many local bus services to the Transit Station and many area hotels along with the Mystic Lake Casino offer free shuttles to their establishments.
The mall is not a park and ride facility, and overnight parking is banned to prevent passengers taking the train to the airport. Commuters are required to use the nearby 28th Avenue station's parking ramp. The station underwent a $25 million upgrade which was completed in October 2019.
The Mall of America's security program is unique and in many ways the first of its kind. Michael Rozin, who used to be employed as the mall's Special Operations Security Captain, developed and implemented a behavior detection unit specifically focused on mitigating the threat of terrorism and enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities. Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs) are trained extensively in Israel, each one going through at least 500 hours of training that includes communication techniques, first aid, defensive tactics, crisis intervention, terrorism awareness and rapid response. As Doug Reynolds, the former Security Director at the mall noted in a congressional testimony in 2008, BDOs are taught to "look for intent, rather than means. The objective is to focus on suspicious indicators in three categories: People, vehicles and unattended items like backpacks, shopping bags, suitcases." This methodology has prepared the mall for a variety of threats, both from terrorists and everyday criminals.
In 2010, it was noted that mall security officials were instructed to question or detain individuals exhibiting what they deemed "suspicious behavior". Signs of suspicious behavior included photographing air-conditioning ducts, or signs that a shopper was hiding something. At the time, some officials within the Bloomington Police Department worried that the mall's security methods may infringe on rights.
In 2011, NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition and PBS's Newshour both aired programs documenting security abuses by the mall's security personnel. On December 31, 2013, members from the First Nations protest movement Idle No More attempted to repeat a successful Native-American round dance held at the mall in 2012, but failed after being stopped by mall security. Organizers of the dance, Patricia Shepard and Reyna Crow from Duluth were arrested on site for trespassing.
In February 2015, the al-Shabaab militant group also released a propaganda video calling for attacks on the Mall of America and other Western shopping centers. Although the group had never launched attacks in North America, security at the mall was tightened in response and Homeland Security issued a one-day alert to shoppers to remain vigilant.
MOA as a protest site
On December 21, 2014, thousands of protesters attended an unauthorized demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter in the mall's rotunda. The demonstration was in response to the Michael Brown fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and the then recent jury decision not to prosecute the white officer in that case, as well as the death of Eric Garner of New York. In response to the demonstration, the Mall of America closed the areas of the mall around the rotunda. Police arrested 25 demonstrators. The Bloomington City Attorney, Sandra Johnson, pursued charges against the organizers, and the city is sought compensatory damages from some of the organizers for out-of-pocket costs the city incurred while paying overtime for additional security. In response to these charges, demonstrators have called for a boycott of the mall.
Plans for another Black Lives Matter demonstration at the Mall of America on December 23, 2015 prompted mall officials to file a restraining order against the movement's activists. Eight individual activists were sued in Hennepin County District Court. The mall's lawsuit would prohibit the defendants from demonstrating and require them to delete all of their posts to social media pertaining to the demonstration. The lawsuit additionally asked that the court jail Black Lives Matter activists unless they publicly announce that the demonstration is cancelled on their social media accounts. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota called the mall's lawsuit an "improper prior restraint on speech" and an unconstitutional overreach.
In 2019 a five-year-old was thrown from a third story balcony in a random attack. He recovered and the assailant was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
The Mall of America was used as a filming location for various movies and television shows, including:
- D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)
- D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)
- The first episode of WCW Monday Nitro
- Jingle All the Way (1996)
- You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's Mall Party (1997)
- Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
- The premiere of Digimon: The Movie (2000)
- Mall Masters (2001)
- Mall Cops: Mall of America (2010)
- The End of the Tour (2015)
- American Dream Meadowlands, a similarly large shopping mall in New Jersey
- List of the world's largest shopping malls
- List of largest shopping malls in the United States
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- Rietmulder, Michael (December 22, 2015). "Mall of America wants restraining order against Black Lives Matter protest". City Pages.
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- WCW Monday Nitro#First episode
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