Shopping malls and the "American Dream" are two things that are often said to be dead or dying, but one developer sees it a little differently.
Part shopping outlet and part theme park, American Dream Miami is slated to become the largest mall in North America when it opens in Miami-Dade County, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Indeed, "mall" might not be the best word for this mega-complex. In addition to retail outlets, plans are in the works for an aquarium, water park, ski slope, live performing arts center, Ferris wheel, submarine ride, skating rink, and 2000 hotel rooms.
The project is being developed by Triple Five Group, which operates the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada—currently the two largest shopping and entertainment centers on the continent. It also owns the American Dream Meadowlands in New Jersey.
This announcement comes at a time when shopping malls are being shuttered across the country. More than 6400 stores closed last year, and another 3600 are expected to go out of business this year, according to Business Insider.
American Dream Miami will cost $4 billion and cover 6.2 million square feet. Developers hope it will attract tourists as well as local thrill seekers who want a closer entertainment option than Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Developer Eskandar Ghermezian was reportedly inspired by a comment made by his daughter, who complained there was nothing to do in the area when it rained.
Critics of the project, however, called it "American Nightmare," arguing it would harm the environment and cause traffic congestion. The developer still needs to obtain several permits before construction can begin.