A long-delayed proposal to nearly double the size of the Mall of America has resurfaced at the Capitol, the Pioneer Press reports. The $1.5 billion expansion plan would add hundreds of new stores, office towers, hotels, a waterpark and a performing arts center.
Officials at the Bloomington mall want the Minnesota Legislature to sign off on $250 million in taxpayer money for new roads, parking ramps and other improvements to jump start the project that was first unveiled in 2006.
"If we're successful, it will be a good thing for the city and the state and the region, so we're hoping it gets done this year," Schane Rudlang, administrator of the Bloomington Port Authority -- the city's economic development agency that is working with Mall of America, told the newspaper.
Both the House and Senate have given initial approval, however, giving the privately owned megamall millions of dollars in tax breaks is drawing plenty of criticism and concerns among commercial real estate leaders.
Preliminary work is already underway on a new $225 million structure on the Mall of America's north side, which will feature a 347-room luxury hotel, a three-floor retail expansion, a “dining terrace” to replace the mall’s third-floor food court and an underground parking ramp.
In March, a newly-constructed 500-room Radisson Blu hotel opened on the mall's south side.
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