In the past six months, WWD has reported that America’s appetite for building massive malls has weakened, thanks to a heavily saturated market. Instead, a number of existing malls have expanded — or have plans to expand — their square footage, incorporating outdoor space and adding retailers and dining and entertainment complexes. International Council of Shopping Centers has provided the largest malls in North America by gross leasable area (GLA) in square feet. Both Canada and the U.S. know they’ve got some competition from the Eastern Hemisphere: China has been on a mall development streak and has unveiled its massive South China Mall, in Dongguan. ICSC reported late last year that following the final phases of construction this year, the South China Mall will cover 5.2 million square feet of GLA.
- West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta
Total Gross Leasable Area in Square Feet: 3,800,000
Mall opened: 1981
Often called the “8th Wonder of the World,” West Edmonton Mall is considered to be Alberta’s number-one tourist attraction. The mall, which has 58 entrances and 20,000 parking spots, houses over 100 dining options and 800-plus stores, including Forever 21, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and Urban Outfitters. Attractions such as an indoor amusement park, a water park — which boasts a 2.7 million-gallon wave pool — an ice rink and three 18-hole miniature golf courses can be found inside the mall.
- South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Total GLA: 2,800,000
Mall opened: 1967
The addition of 17 new retailers to South Coast Plaza’s space in 2004 helped boost the mall’s position as the largest in the U.S., in terms of GLA. South Coast Plaza classifies itself as one of the most luxurious shopping destinations in California. The mall, which brings in over $1.2 billion in annual sales, houses many upscale boutiques such as Burberry, Chanel and Gucci. A number of tenants, including Oliver Peoples, Penhaligon’s and Barney’s New York Co-op count this as their only Orange County residence.
- Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.
Total GLA: 2,779,242
Mall opened: 1992
It’s a city, really — or an airport: The Mall of America is big enough to hold 32 Boeing 747s. It may rank third in North America in terms of available retail space, but the building area is a whopping 4.2 million square feet. With upcoming plans to expand its walls even further, Mall of America already boasts over 520 stores, 20 sit-down restaurants, 30 fast-food restaurants, eight nightclubs, 14 movie screens and 12,550 on-site parking spaces.
- The Plaza & Court at King of Prussia, King of Prussia, Pa.
Total GLA: 2,620,470
Mall opened: 1963
With stores such as Kate Spade New York, Crate & Barrel and Nautica Kids, dining hot spots like The Cheesecake Factory and Sullivan’s Steakhouse and a whopping eight department stores, The Plaza & Court makes for a welcome pit stop during a family summer vacation to eastern Pennsylvania. All shoppers will like this tidbit: Clothing and shoes are tax-free. Tourists can enjoy nearby attractions like Independence Hall or Valley Forge National Park as well.
- The Galleria, Houston
Total GLA: 2,404,812
Mall opened: 1970
Following a series of expansions — the most recent being a 700,000-square-foot retail addition in 2003 — The Galleria in Houston now stands as one of the largest malls in the country. The architecture alone is a sight to see: A glass atrium encloses the space, and inside are suspended glass balconies and leather seating. The Galleria attracts 24 million visitors per year and houses almost 400 stores and restaurants; other attractions include two Westin hotels and a full-size ice rink.
- Woodfield, Schaumberg, Ill.
Total GLA: 2,224,000
Mall opened: 1971
Located just 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, Illinois’ largest mall boasts an impressive range of retailers. In addition to department stores such as Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom, Woodfield also houses some smaller outfits, including Urban Outfitters, Hanna Andersson and Janeville. And this year, Woodfield plans to enhance its merchant mix even further, bringing in Sony Style, Nikewomen and A|X Armani Exchange, among others.
- Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, N.Y.
Total GLA: 2,189,941
Mall opened: 1956
Originally built as an open-air mall, Roosevelt Field changed the face of retail on Long Island forever when it opened back in 1956. I.M. Pei, the mastermind behind the design, wanted the destination to include more than just shopping. An ice-skating rink and a community theater were both constructed as a result. In the late Sixties, the shopping center was enclosed; since then, numerous expansions have paved the way for Roosevelt Field to remain one of the largest centers in the country. The mall attracts 16.8 million visitors annually.
- Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, Fla.
Total GLA: 2,170,000
Mall opened: 1990
Florida’s largest mall houses not only name-brand stores like Aeropostale and J. Crew, but outlet retailers like Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus Last Call reside here, too. In 2004, the city of Sunrise approved a $38 million expansion plan (see image to the left for a sketch of the plan) to develop those outlets even further into The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass, part of Sawgrass Mills. The expansion is set to be completed just in time for this year’s holiday shopping season.
- Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance, Calif.
Total GLA: 2,095,000
Mall opened: 1961
The mall is in the midst of a major revitalization, as seen in the image to the left: The new, open-air version of the center is scheduled to open next summer, bringing in new specialty stores, restaurants and entertainment, including an AMC movie theater complex. Established tenants in the mall include Macy’s, Gap, Sears and Marshall’s — along with over 300 other stores.
- Lakewood Center Mall, Lakewood, Calif.
Total GLA: 2,093,006
Mall opened: 1952
Lakewood has some popular anchors that surround the perimeter, including J.C. Penney, Robinsons-May, Macy’s, Target and Mervyn’s. Between 2000 and 2001, Lakewood expanded its walls to include more than 300,000 square feet of new stores, a food court and two of those anchors, Macy’s and Mervyn’s. In addition to the enclosed mall, there are over 270 stores, more than 30 restaurants and two movie theaters.
Sources: National Research Bureau and International Council of Shopping Centers, 2005.