America’s Race for the Largest Mall Resumes from Miami

The mega-project will be realized after the adjustment of strategic road infrastructures for Florida.

The challenge, or if you prefer, the race for supremacy in every field, has always characterized America and often guides its investment choices. The criterion of “bigger is better” is fully reflected in infrastructure decisions. This philosophy is also applied to constructions dedicated to retail and entertainment, the so-called “big malls,” which are a concentration of shops, restaurants, fast-food corners, hotels, and amusement parks, all within a single complex.

The philosophy of “everything and everyone under one roof” has experienced a significant downturn with the pandemic emergency, which has slowed down, if not halted, projects that were already underway and funded. Among these is the American Dream Miami, whose completion has been pushed back from 2023 to 2026. However, in the developers’ plans, the Triple Five Group, it will have a usable area of ​​6.2 million square feet (over 575 thousand square meters), a size capable of propelling the United States back to the top of the ranking from which it has gradually been displaced by large malls in the Arab and Asian regions.

Lane and others: the giants working on road infrastructure

The American Dream, already dubbed the Alligator Mall, will rise just before the Everglades National Park. For its realization, which will require an investment of $5 billion, various state entities have been mobilized, also in anticipation of increased traffic in a highly congested region like that around Miami. Approval also depends on the expansion of the Florida Turnpike, a project of primary importance for mobility in southern Florida, which has seen some of the best construction companies engaged since 2022 between Orlando and Miami, including Lane Construction of the Webuild Group.

The global race for large malls

The New South China Mall in Dongguan, a colossal infrastructure of 6.46 million square feet (600 thousand square meters), featuring reproductions of international monuments and roller coasters inside, has struggled to fill commercial spaces and attract visitors and employees, remaining for a long time a sort of ghost mall. A fate shared during COVID by other large malls, ranked second to fifth largest in the world in 2023: the Golden Resources in Beijing, the Thai Central World in Bangkok, the SM Mall in Manila, Philippines, and the Dubai Mall, which promotes itself as “Complete Family Entertainment Under One Roof,” with its 1,200 shops, an aquarium and marine zoo, an ice skating rink, and a virtual reality park. Many of these malls have fully resumed their activities and have also regained their role as drivers for the economic development of the areas in which they are located, with increased employment and commercial activities.

Shopping malls, from origins to today

The first fully enclosed and air-conditioned shopping center, the Southdale Center, bears the signature of an architect of Austrian origin, Victor Gruen, and opened in 1956 in Edina, a town in Minnesota, United States. And, precisely in Minnesota, in Bloomington, south of Minneapolis, since 1992, the Mall of America has been located, still the largest in the United States, with 5.6 million square feet (520 thousand square meters), inside which the huge amusement park Nickelodeon Universe has been created with 27 different types of entertainment and roller coasters, an aquarium, and three hotels, as well as 520 shops. In 1960, 4,500 were built in the United States, then came the decline. In the 1980s, their number was reduced to 2,500, while at the end of 2023 – according to the statistics office – there were approximately 700. Despite this, America is constantly seeking an opportunity to grow, and so the American Dream Miami and Theme Park could be the long-awaited answer for supporters of these infrastructures.