America's Largest Mall Might Be Built in Miami Lakes

Apparently Miami has not reached peak shopping mall. Not by a long shot. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced today that developers are planning to build the largest mall in America (possibly even the world) near the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and I-75 in Miami Lakes.

The project is being developed by the Triple Five Group, who is also behind the Mall of America in Minneapolis (the country's largest mall by number of stores) and the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, which is the largest mall in North America.

The Miami project may end up surpassing both of them in size.

Update: Here's new details on the project.

Gimenez relayed the news to the Miami Herald, which claims the project will be spread out over 200 acres. In addition to shopping, the complex would include a Legoland theme park, a ski slope, a submarine ride, and other attractions. Indeed, Triple Five's other properties include amusement park attractions within the malls as well. Proposed names include "Americana World" and "American Dreams Miami." New Times calls to Triple Five have not been returned.

Gimenez estimates that the mall's construction would create 25,000 jobs, and once built the mall would create 25,000 permanent jobs. Of course, mall jobs are not particularly well paying.

But is there that much room in Miami's booming retail market?

The northwest Dade mall would naturally compete with Aventura Mall in the northeast. Aventura is currently the third largest mall in America and has plans to expand even further, becoming the second largest in America. Sawgrass Mills, an outlet mall not far away in western Broward, is currently the seventh largest mall in America as well.

Of course, Lincoln Road has in recent years been redeveloped into what is basically an outdoor suburban shopping mall, complete with H&M, Forever 21, and Zara. The Design District is nearing the end of its completion into a giant luxury retail neighborhood.

Then there are other planned projects. Brickell City Center will feature 500,000 square feet of high-end retail, including a new Saks Fifth Avenue. The Miami Worldcenter project in downtown includes 765,000 square feet of retail, along with a new Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

But apparently Miami's retail scene has room to grow. Retail vacancy rates are at an exceptionally low 3.8 percent and retail rents are going for an eye-popping $45.18 per square foot on average. That means retailers are definitely desperate to be in the Miami market.

Of course, most of that retail demand is being driven by foreign visitors.

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