Most U.S. consumers would automatically say "Mall of America" when asked to name the "largest" or "biggest" retail shopping mall in the U.S. That answer became completely correct in the fall of 2015 when the largest mall in the U.S. and the biggest mall in the U.S. became one and the same.
King of Prussia Mall
Before the fall of 2015, the largest mall in the U.S. was the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The reason the King of Prussia Mall was able to lay claim to the largest title was because of its square footage. The total leasable square footage of the King of Prussia Mall is 2,793,200 square feet, which was 13,958 square feet more than the second-largest U.S. mall, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
Before fall 2015, Mall of America, on the other hand, could be correctly referred to as the biggest shopping mall in the U.S. based on the number of stores that were located there. The King of Prussia Mall, with more square footage, has only about 400 retailers operating inside of it. Comparatively, Mall of America was home to about 522 retail stores as of August 2015, so in that way, it was the biggest.
Mall of America Expansion
In the fall of 2015, Mall of America's Phase II expansion opened, increasing its leasable retail space to 2,869,000 square feet, which definitively dethroned King of Prussia Mall from its largest record-holding position. With its Phase II expansion, Mall of America also added more than 50 new retail and restaurant tenants, strengthening its claim on the biggest U.S. shopping mall title.
Mall of America is one of the most popular American tourist destinations, attracting 40 million visitors each year, which is almost twice as many as Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom amusement park hosts annually.
American Dream Miami
Unfortunately, Mall of America will only be able to bask in the glory of its largest and biggest record-holding statuses for a few years. If everything goes as planned, the American Dream Miami, proposed to be built in Northwest Miami-Dade County, Fla., with completion expected sometime in 2023, will offer 3.5 million square feet of retail space. (A smaller, similarly named retail complex, American Dream Meadowlands, from the same developer is being constructed in East Rutherford, N.J.)
Since the same parent company, Triple Five Group, will own both American Dream Miami and Mall of America, if there is any competition between the largest U.S. shopping mall and the second largest, it should be friendly.
Many of the largest U.S. retail chains like Saks Fifth Avenue, The Gap, Lord & Taylor, and Victoria's Secret are hoping that some retail shopping will get done at American Dream Miami—in between visits to the Cirque du Soleil theater, water park, theme park, aquarium, movie theater, and concert hall, which will all be competing for the attention and discretionary income of American Dream visitors.
A New Mall Experience
With its integration of entertainment venues, hotels, offices, and retail space, Triple Five has redefined the U.S. shopping mall experience. While some might argue that a complex with so many non-retail tenants shouldn't really be classified as a shopping mall, it doesn't matter. Mall of America has continued to thrive while retail-only shopping mall traffic is dropping off and traditional shopping centers are losing stores.