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Mall of America turns 20

The MOA is 20! Time flies when you're shopping. In two decades, the Mall of America has weathered criticism, economic downturns and occasional bad publicity, but officials with the Megamall say the international tourist draw has a bright future.
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Happy birthday, Mall of America.

The international shopping mecca opened with 150,000 visitors as the nation's largest retail and entertainment complex on Aug. 11, 1992, and it never looked back. It took three years to construct the Megamall, and there were plenty of doubters.

Since then, it has survived a bad economy, bad press (one survey called it one of the ugliest buildings in the nation), security lapses, a teen melee, and recently, a parking lot fatality.

Here's how the Mall itself modestly puts it: "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."

As Time magazine says, the death of the shopping mall has been greatly exaggerated.

In two decades, the mall has been one of Minnesota's greatest business stories, the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal says.

The Journal notes that the 96-acre mall with more than 500 stores serves more than 40 million shoppers a year, selling more than $1 billion in products annually, and generating nearly $2 billion a year in economic activity in the state, according to the MOA.

Did you know seven Yankee Stadiums could fit inside the mall? Here are some fast facts. The mall has been counting down 20 great moments in its history.

And here's a look back at 20 years from the MOA:

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The magazine says the entire timeline of mall development can be carved into two eras: Before MoA and After MoA. The Bloomington mall gets about 40 million visitors a year, according to the magazine, which puts it well ahead of anyone else.