Mall of America's mega-expansion to take it upscale
The humongous shopping mecca is set to double in size, starting with an addition targeting customers with income of $100,000 or more.
Got an annual income of at least $100,000? Then the Mall of America is planning an expansion just for you.
The gigantic shopping destination is planning a hugely ambitious $2.5 billion project that will about double its size. The already cavernous facility will add as many as 300 stores, a water park and an NHL-size skating rink, the Pioneer Press reports.
But the first step in the plan is a $250 million addition geared to what the mall calls "upscale" customers: people with annual household incomes in the six figures, as well as families with "older children," according to the mall's website.
That would mean a significantly wealthier clientele for Mall of America, where 38% of shoppers earn less than $75,000 annually, according to the mall's published statistics. Retailers there now include Coach (COH), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Nordstrom (JWN).
The ambitious expansion for Mall of America, already a top destination for visitors to nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul, highlights the growing importance of shopping tourism. The mall's growth plan was helped by a $250 million tax break from Minnesota, whose lawmakers were drawn in by the potential to lure even more tourists and create more jobs, the Pioneer Press notes.
The high-end addition will bring in 50 new shops and a tony food hall. One victim of the overhaul will be an existing food court, which isn't too surprising, given that most don't scream out "luxury."
"Nobody has food courts anymore. They have food halls, and you want interesting partners with fresh bread and cheeses and wines," Maureen Bausch, Mall of America's executive vice president, told the Pioneer Press.
The first phase will also include a new luxury hotel and an office tower. The mall is also overhauling its existing space, adding skylights to bring in more natural light and removing carpeting and other fussy elements.
Much of the new look results from changes in mall design in the decades since Mall of America's 1992 debut. As Bausch told the Press: "In 1990, it was all about 'theming,' so people knew where they were. . . . Now the school of thought is you give them a white palate, a canvas, and you let the retailers provide the color."
One thing that hasn't changed is Americans' love for ginormous malls.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
We have household income of over 100,000 and still can't afford "luxury" items. Let's see between mortgage, school loans, one car pymt, utilities, insurance, gas, food and setting what we can in savings there is no room for “upscale shopping”.
Hmmm.....planning a $250 million upscale expansion, after receiving a $250 million tax break from the state.
(Who's really paying for this?)
More people spending money they don't have. It's sad we have changed from an industrial economy to a retail economy. Story after story about people unprepared for retirement financially and yet the retail economy wants you to spend more on stuff you'll throw out in two years. Have discipline people and save for retirement. Do not whine when I am retired and you are still working.
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