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Mall of America expansion to get underway soon

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The Mall of America has closed on the financing for the first phase of its planned $2.5 billion expansion project, the Business Journal reports. Groundbreaking is expected to take place later this month.

This phase of the expansion will be built on the north side of the existing mall. It will include a luxury hotel, an office building, 150,000 square feet of upscale retail, a new dining area and an underground parking ramp, according to the Business Journal. The three-level expansion, called Phase 1C, is estimated to cost $250-$300 million.

The 330-room JW Marriott hotel will be owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which will pay the entire $105 million cost, the Business Journal reports. The mall's ownership group, Triple Five, will pay for the retail and office components of the project, and the city of Bloomington will pay for the parking, according to the Business Journal.

Mall officials hope to open the new addition by fall 2015.

Last March, a luxury hotel opened on the south side of the Mall, the Star Tribune reports. The 500-room Radisson Blu hotel is connected to the Mall via a skyway.

But that's just the beginning of the Mall of America's much larger expansion plans, which would eventually double the size of the complex, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. Over the next decade or so, additional attractions are planned, including a wider variety of hotels, more exhibit space, a hockey rink and a water park hotel.

More than 40 million people visit the Mall of America each year, making it one of the nation's top tourist attractions. According to the mall website, the completed expansion is expected to draw up to an additional 20 million visitors annually, almost doubling the economic impact to the state to an estimated $4.3 billion.

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