Monday, December 21, 2015

Miami is about to get one of the craziest malls ever conceived

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 at 6:44 AM

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While here in Orlando we’ve been focused on the so-called "megamall" coming to the corner of I-Drive and Kirkman down in Miami a true megamall is being planned.

The American Dream Miami is currently going through the approval process now. The new mall from the retail and real estate group Triple Five will be located on a 194.5-acre plot near the intersection of I-75 and the Turnpike. It would trump any other malls in the nation and would be the largest mall in the Western Hemisphere.

Current estimates have the new American Dream Miami mall clocking in at 6.2 million sq. ft., or just over three times the size of Florida Mall. For comparison, Mall of America is 4.9 million sq. ft. while the current largest mall in the Western Hemisphere, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, is 5.3 million sq. ft.

The new Miami mall, like its smaller counterpart currently under construction in New Jersey, will be much more than a retail destination. Developers estimate at least 7,500 jobs will be created with the new mall.

2,000 luxury hotel rooms are planned for the mall. Helping celebrate its’ South Florida location, the mall will feature an art deco themed indoor shopping street. An indoor water park (similar to the Great Wolf Lodge water park now in the works for Orlando), a live sea lion show and a 3,000 seat movie theater are also planned.

A submarine ride through a shark-filled tank, an aquarium, an observation wheel, and an indoor water park are all planned for the mall. A theme park attached to an internationally recognizable brand is also rumored for the mall. DreamWorks and Merlin (who owns Legoland and the majority of the attractions at I-Drive 360) are the two strongest rumors for the amusement park, but other international brands are also likely candidates. 

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The mall still has a number of hurdles before it’s realized. Currently, part of the funding for the New Jersey sister project is delayed (the development itself is not) which doesn’t bode well for the Miami funding. Miami has a long history of failed projects causing the community to be very leery of any public financing of private projects, a difficult reality that David Beckham is currently dealing with.

The American Dream Miami mall, if approved, would open around 2019. The approval process involves a tedious process that will likely take the majority of next year. By September of 2016, we should know more details on if South Florida will accept the new mall and any restrictions they place upon it.  


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