Mall of America (MOA) is a 2.5 million sq ft super-regional shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Opened in 1992, the Mall of America is the largest shopping mall in the United States, and has the largest leasable retail space. Over 520 stores fill four levels. At the four corners of the mall's rectangular shape are 8 anchor stores, and in the center is Nickelodeon Universe, an indoor amusement park. Two nearly identical seven story parking ramps on east and west sides provide 12,550 parking spaces. Parking lots on the north and south of the building, along with nearby overflow parking, bring the total number of spaces up to approximately 20,000.
The mall is managed by the Triple Five Group (which in turn is owned by Canada's Ghermezian family, along with the West Edmonton Mall and American Dream Meadowlands). Eighty percent of visitors that go to the Mall of America are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Illinois, Ohio, and Canada.
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, with 2,500,000 sq ft (230,000 m2) available as retail space. 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 major 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.
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.
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 (a.k.a. TIAA) 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 Area: Rosedale, Southdale, Ridgedale, and the now-defunct Brookdale.
The aquarium at the Mall of America was opened in 1996 under the name Underwater World. The aquarium took 18 months to build. In 2000, the re-opening of the aquarium changed its name to Underwater Adventures Aquarium. In 2008, the aquarium became a part of British-based Merlin Entertainments group of attractions, and was rebranded as a Sea Life Centres in March 2011.
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 Minnesota State Legislature passed a bill granting the city of Bloomington the right to raise property and sales taxes to pay for a "Phase II" expansion of the Mall of America that is expected to double the mall's size. The expansion will connect the MoA with an IKEA store to the north property, as well as add on to the existing mall. MoA's "Phase II" included a Bass Pro Shops, Great Wolf Resorts, Kimpton Hotel, an NHL-sized arena for hockey and skating, and two upscale department stores. 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 amusement park, with a cost between $150 to $200 million for the project.
The Theatres at Mall of America (Initially run by General Cinemas, bought out then rebranded by AMC Theatres, and eventually operated by mall management) occupied the south side of the fourth floor through December 2016, when it closed permanently. It was replaced by Cinemex subsidiary CMX Cinemas in fall 2017.
On May 25, 2018, it was announced that Best Buy would close its location. The store closed in August 2018.
On December 28, 2018, it was announced that Sears would be closing as part of a plan to close 80 stores nationwide. The store closed in March 2019.
On March 20, 2019, American Girl closed down their Mall Of America Location, after 11 years of service.
On September 22, 2019, it was announced that SMAAASH, a go-kart attraction, would close permanently only after three years in business.
On January 23, 2020, it was announced that M&M's would open a store that would replace the former American Girl store. It open later in the year.
Level One is the location of Nickelodeon Universe amusement park (formerly Camp Snoopy), and first level of general retail which includes Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe, Lego Store, Apple Store, Barnes & Noble, Fabletics, Nordstrom, Macy's, and Microsoft Store.
Level Two features restaurants, shopping, MOA® Moments and the first Verizon Wireless Destination Store.
Level Three has two food courts with more than 20 fast food and full service restaurants, mini-golf, shopping and Crayola Experience.