In 1982, Minnesota's professional baseball and football teams, the Twins and the Vikings, moved from Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. This opened 78 acres of highly accessible prime real estate. The property is located only a mile and a half from the Minneapolis St. Paul international Airport at the intersection of major highways.
Three years later, the Bloomington Port Authority purchased the stadium site and began entertaining proposals for development. There were four major proposals given serious consideration:
The fourth proposal was selected, and in 1986 the Ghermezian brothers signed a historic agreement with the Bloomington Port Authority to develop the nation's largest retail and entertainment complex. The Ghermezian's had just completed building the world's largest retail and entertainment center, West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada.
On June 14, 1989, the Ghermezian's Triple Five Group and local dignitaries broke ground. It was a day to remember. With cold winds gusting up to 35 miles an hour, the headlines read, "Why Minnesota?"
Despite the media detractors, naysayers and ominous groundbreaking conditions, construction continued and on August 11, 1992, when Mall of America® opened its doors, the face of the Minnesota had changed forever. The Mall was 71 percent leased with 330 brand new stores open for business, including four nationally recognized department stores: Macy's, Nordstrom and Sears, together under one roof for the first time. It was also the first day of work for more than 10,000 employees.
The goal was to build a destination attraction, more than just a shopping mall. It was an unprecedented mix of retail and entertainment, offering visitors the chance to shop their favorite stores as well as see a movie, ride a roller coaster or meet their favorite celebrity. Not only did Mall of America work, it has surpassed all expectations and changed the way people shop. First in the industry to mix retail and entertainment, Mall of America has become the model for combining signature retail and attractions to create an outstanding entertainment venue and is now one of the most visited destinations in the United States.
Mall of America has become a “shining star” for the entire state of Minnesota. From planes, trains, and cross-country road trips, Mall of America has become a destination for everything from family vacations, weekend getaways and even honeymoons. The Mall now generates nearly $2 billion each year in economic impact for the state and has put Minnesota on the map as a tourist destination.
Tourists from Canada, England, Sweden, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latin America, France, Germany and throughout the world come to Mall of America to take in the sights and capitalize on no sales tax on clothing. Once known mainly as a vacation destination for outdoor activities, tourists now flock to the state for shopping. In fact, tourism accounts for four out of every ten visits to the Mall. Each year there are 40 million visitors to Mall of America which is more than the combined populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa…and Canada!