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Mall of America Tourist Attractions

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The world’s great nations still cherish their ancestors’ past contributions or the nations themselves build history by adding outstanding production to national dignity. Great Wall of China, German castles and Egyptian pyramids are such references to cite. The idea of scheduled worldwide shopping malls to collect all market operations at one location with expansive parking facilities was first introduced in the mid-1930s (Spellmeyer 1993). The United States is now recognised internationally for its state-of-the-art shopping centres. At the end of 1992, America had over 39,000 shopping centres nationwide.

The Mall of America is a retail complex with all the colourful characteristics of a mall. In the United States, it is situated in the twin cities of Bloomington and Minnesota (Mall of America (b) 2011). Thanks to its shopping space, the Mall is the third biggest in North America and second largest in America. For parking purposes, the Mall of America holds more than 13,000 vehicles on seven separate floors of the structure (Mall of America (b) 2011). (Mall of America (b) 2011) The Mall is spread over an area of 95 acres.

Mall of America Tourist Attraction

The expansion of the Grand Mall is under way. The extension would serve to almost twice the scale of the Mall of America. It is estimated that the expansion work would consume approximately 2.1 billion (Mall of America (b) 2011). The project’s extension would draw more visitors. For the fields of schooling and wellness, Step II would be able to produce enormous volumes.

Any bugs are also caused by the Mall of America. The danger that needs extensive preparation and knowledge of terrorist acts is terrorism. To improve the current monitoring and protection infrastructure, such remedial steps are also required.

The Mall of America is a hybrid of a conventional structure and a wide range of amenities under one roof. An indoor amusement park, aquatic sea monster aquarium, magic store, flight simulators, Lego shop, cinema, mountain golf adventure and American girl shop are the main facilities worth noting. Both these qualities of the Mall of America shall be discussed in depth in the following paragraphs.

The paper shall follow the under mentioned sequence:-

  • History of the Mall of America.
  • Services offered by the Mall and tourist interests.
  • Expansion and future prospects.
  • Vulnerabilities to different threats and their Remedial Measures

History of the Mall of America

The idea of the ‘Mall of America’ was first proposed by the Ghermezian brothers of Canada. “The brilliant idea of the same brothers was also the “West Edmonton Shopping Centre of North America (Farrell 2007). The Mall of America is built at the former Bloomington, Minnesota, metropolitan stadium location (Crawford 1992). For building, the levelling off the field began in 1989. The mall was built in 1992 and opened to the public the following year (Mall of America (c) 2011).

Thanks to its immense scale, central management and flexible architecture, the Mall of America has the attributes of all international malls. Mall tourists will get an equal impression of both the western business and American urban terms (Crawford 1992). The Mall reflects the gallery’s past. The idea of the Cleveland Gallery became popular in America in the nineteenth century (Jackson 1996). By positioning home plate on the first floor, the Mall also pays homage to the old location of the metropolitan city (Mall of America (c) 2011).

In the Mall, one seat has been put, which catches the interest of the tourist because of its historical significance (Farrell 2007). The seat was precisely positioned in the original position it occupied in the stadium until the Mall of America was built. Seat is expected to pay tribute to Harmon Killebrew for hitting a home run in 1967 (Crawford 1992).

Mall was given few nicknames prior to its inauguration in 1992 (Spellmeyer 1993). Fewer of the nicknames given to Mall are sprawl of America, the mega mess, the megaMall and in the end simply “the Mall” (Farrell 2007). The Mall attracts more than 40 million visitors annually. Therefore, it is the most visited Mall now in the world.

The Mall has the capability to recycle 60% waste, thus contributing towards pollution free environment (Mall of America (c) 2011). Mall also recycles 2400 ton of food every year. Large quantity of biodiesel fuel is generated by converting fat used in meals in different hotels. 1.5 million gallons of water is preserved monthly by using water efficient bathrooms (Farrell 2007). These recycling activities help in controlling pollution on one side and saves precious resources on the other.

The Mall saw a bad time from 2000 onwards, certain indecent exposures and extensive alcohol usage gave birth to immoral activities. Resultantly, almost all the bars came under scrutiny by police (Farrell 2007). Fourth floor of the Mall witnessed closure of many entertainment points in 2000.

Planned expansion work of Mall could not be materialized so far due to legal battle between Simon property group and Ghermezian brothers over the issue of ownership (Mall of America (c) 2011). Finally, the control was handed over to Ghermezian brothers for being the real owner of the site and the Mall.

The Ghermezians spent about 1 billion US$ to regain the control of the Mall (Spellmeyer 1993). In 2006, the Germezian brothers decided to start with phase 2 of the project, which was expansion of the Mall (Mall of America (c) 2011). Global recession and economic downturns again prevented the uplift of the Mall of America (Jackson 1996).

Services Offered by the Mall and Tourist Interests

The Mall of America equally caters for the shopping interests of locals and foreign tourists. The Mall houses more than 500 world-class shopping stores (Mall of America (a) 2011). Variety of jewelry outlets, garments, interior designing gadgetry etcetera fascinates the visitors of all ages to pay a trip to world’s most fabulous shopping Mall. The Mall provides about 50 quality restaurants for food and celebration of birthday parties (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Shopping at Mall of America is offered at very moderate rates. Controlled price rates plays vital role in making the Mall more attractive then any other shopping places in the near vicinity. Free parking and free shuttle service from the outskirts of the city adds taste in attracting people (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Retrieved from http://www.retail-merchandiser.com/retail-reports/592-Mall-of-america-realizing-a-vision.html

Underwater adventure aquarium takes the people towards dream world. It offers a very close observation of complete sea life. The underwater aquarium of Mall of America is the world largest aquarium with fascinating scenes of sea life (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Aquarium offers a submarine tour and live shark view from 300 meters. Certified swimmers can have the opportunity to swim with shark.  Jellyfish is also known as most deadly creature of universe, can also be seen floating beautifully underwater (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Retrieved from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/attractions/view/underwater-adventures

Lego stores offer biggest collection of Lego sets. One can see a lot of sets that are built and displayed. The Lego store also offers to learn about the Lego building techniques. Lego birthday parties and Lego club meetings can also be arranged at the Mall (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Mountain golf adventure is wonderful activity to do at Mall of America. It is a mini golf course of 18 holes, capable of providing great entertainment to the group of 8 to 10 people at a time (Mall of America (a) 2011). Complete accessories placed for golf adventure are user friendly to help the players to get optimum adventure out of the site. 18 holes add joy to golfing specially when competing in a group of people (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Flight simulators are a great attraction for the youth. They give the real feelings of flying an aircraft. The simulators are those, which were previously used to trail the military pilots of US military (Mall of America (a) 2011). Simulators give an opportunity to fly the modern high tech fighter aircraft of US air force. Takeoff and landing give the impression of real flight with onboard weapon system. Reservations for flight can also be placed on the day of flight. Landing at aircraft carrier and air battle with friends are the marvelous properties of flight simulators (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Retrieved from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/attractions/view/aces-flight-simulator

Theaters at Mall of America are versatile in nature. These theaters offer D-box motion code. D-box motion seats bring complete thrill in life for movie viewers while specially watching action movies (Mall of America (a) 2011). VIP theaters are provided with the push back seats to watch movie in a more relaxed mood. One needs to get up from his chair for snacks or stand in a row and wait (Mall of America (a) 2011). VIP theaters are able to provide all the services on demand during movie including wine and beer service. STAR BAR offers wide variety of wine and beer during the movie for the customers. Four big theaters offer a lot to drama lovers (Mall of America (a) 2011).

American girl is another worth mentioning place at Mall that attracts the sMall kids like a magnate (Mall of America (a) 2011). Popular American girl dolls and variety of books can be found at this site. Site also offers dinning, Colorful birthday and other parties be celebrated at the separate space spared for such occasions at the Mall. For American girls, doll hair salons are often available to sell doll lovers a range of hairstyles. Small children will learn to offer the doll’s hair a new look by training lessons (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Mall of America Tourist Attraction

Retrieved from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/attractions/view/american-girl

The House of Humor presents comedy fans with the latest comedy entertainment. Best performers display magical works to capture spectators’ hearts and minds (Mall of America (a) 2011). The great names for comedic acting are Macdonald and Kevin Nealon. They are also seen at the Mall entertaining individuals. Comedians behave so respectfully that even on a very serious person’s face they will disperse humour (Mall of America (a) 2011).

For advance booking of favourite shows, online ticketing may be included. Online ticketing of shows also offers big discounts on various timings. There are numerous options available to the comedy lovers for selection of theatre and comedy serials of their choice (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Mall of America is graded as the nation’s premier shopping centre that offers a lot of adventure and thrill for the kids (Mall of America (a) 2011). Nickelodeon universe in consent with other factors creates a theme park in the Mall. The theme park is located in the centre of the Mall of America. The park was previously known as the Knott’s camp snoopy (Mall of America (a) 2011). Admission is free of charge to the park.

For enjoying the facilities of park, it is important to purchase points individually or collectively as a group (Mall of America (a) 2011). Three coasters in the park make it one of the best parks of the world. One out of the coasters is giant Ferris wheel and other kiddy rides. Although the coasters do not travel at a record-breaking speed but it still offers a lot of fun and thrill (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Retrieved from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/attractions/view/nickelodeon-universe

There is a complete magic store in Mall of America. The magic shop offers magic of beginner and higher level. Demonstrators continuously perform tricks to attract people towards the shop (Mall of America (a) 2011). Owner of the shop always directs demonstrators to avoid stealing of the trick by any visitors. If the tricks are stolen than magic shop may face decline in its business as it will no more be able to attract tourists or even the local people (Mall of America (a) 2011).

Despite all the recession in the country’s economy, Mall still managed to progress continuously with a moderate speed (Mall of America (a) 2011). Global finance crisis could not create much of the hurdles in the way of Mall of America. Mall spent about 30 million to change old sofas and painting of the walls. Restaurants were allowed for terrace seating at third floor of the Mall. Locals call this area “terrace on three” (Mall of America (a) 2011). Aim of all the advancements done to the Mall was to make it more than just a Mall. Mall is such a wonderful place, which has got some attraction for people of any age. It’s not just a shopping place, it’s a world that values the human needs and provides what is required. There should not be any doubt in calling this pace as the place of great fun.

Expansion and Future Prospects

The Mall of America is known as number one tourist destination worldwide. Causes of its attraction have already been mentioned in above paragraphs. 40 million visitors travel long distances to shop and have fun at the Mall (Mall of America (d) 2011). This makes it one of the most-visited destinations in the country. Amount of dollars spent by visitors for one visit is 55%.

Phase 2 of the Mall is aimed at enhancing existing facilities as well as enhancing space for parking in the Mall. Extension would help in developing large piece of land, lying empty in the near vicinity of the Mall (Retail Merchandiser 2011). Extension of the existing facility would be in collaboration with “United states green building council” (Mall of America (d) 2011). This joint collaboration would lead to meeting industrial designs. Phase 2 is aimed at achieving high standards in energy and environmental design (Mall of America, Phase II a 2011).

Extension of the project is planned to convert constructions waste to recycling facilities. Construction material would be purchased from near areas to cater for cost effectiveness. Usage of water efficient plants will conserve precious water from wastage. Recycle material will again be useable after getting it through the process of recycling (Mall of America, Phase II a 2011).

2.2 billion US dollars is the estimate for extension. Governor Tim Pawlenty presented the extension bill in 2007, which was not accepted as huge monetary assistance was asked (Retail Merchandiser 2011). Expansion includes construction of a new vehicle ramp that would enhance the parking facility from present 12000 to 20000 vehicles. Two big departmental stores shall enhance the variety of goods available in the Mall (Mall of America (d) 2011). Construction of a hotel in the near vicinity of the Mall comprising 500 rooms. An arena for public skating and for private practice. Construction of a four level complex on the lines of phase 1 of the Mall (Mall of America, Phase II a 2011).

Finally, a bill was passed by Minnesota state legislature and decision was taken in 2008 to generate funds for phase 2 (Mall of America, Phase II b 2011). According to the bill, city of Bloomington was vested the responsibility to raise property rates and raise the sales tax to accumulate financial resources for the extension phase (Mall of America (d) 2011). Extension was scheduled to start in 2007 and completion was expected in 2012. Global recession and inflation in the economy of the country prevented the realization of the plan (Retail Merchandiser 2011). Now again the work is started slowly towards extension phase that may take few years to complete.

Extension phase of the Mall will create 7000 additional construction jobs for the people (Mall of America, Phase II a 2011). Building phase of phase 2 will generate about 100 million dollars through income tax and labor sales tax (Retail Merchandiser 2011). On completion of the phase and opening of the facility to public, almost 7000 new jobs will be created for the people on permanent basis. Expansion of Mall is going to be the largest investment in the business of real estates in the history of Minnesota. State of Minnesota will see a fast economic growth as more than 2 billion dollars will be spent on the construction of phase 2 (Mall of America (d) 2011).

The Mall has always contributed to economy of country by paying huge taxes. Mall has almost paid 800 million dollars in terms of taxes since its opening in 1992. At present Mall of America pays taxes of about 50 million dollars per year (Retail Merchandiser 2011). This amount is going to rise with inclusion of phase 2. Phase 2 alone would pay more than 80 million dollars in terms of taxes (Retail Merchandiser 2011). Phase one and two will pay taxes in billions by 2015 Therefore, amount generated for taxes would be around 3.5 billion.

Educations and transportation get the major share in taxes paid by Mall of America. Completions of phase 2 will double the amount paid for education and transportation (Mall of America, Phase II b 2011). Transportation is likely to get 712 million dollars and education is also expected to get 225 million dollars (Mall of America (d) 2011).

Mall of America is also a major contributor in the field of youth development programs. Mall annually invests about 350000 dollars in youth scholarship programs (Mall of America, Phase II a 2011). The Mall also extends support to more than 300 nonprofit organizations annually Nonprofit organizations also get about 125 million annually. This amount will see rise after the completion of extension phase (Retail Merchandiser 2011).

Construction of phase II will include construction of a entertainment program for the visitors. Keeping in view the availability of land for phase II, construction of a sporting area may get due attention (Mall of America, Phase II a 2011). Demography of the surrounding areas is also ideal for number of sports. Construction of a golf site is under consideration. Mall does not have a golf course now. A store will also be made in the Mall for making necessary kit available for golfers (Mall of America, Phase II b 2011). Golf course will attract players from all over the world to participate in different championships at the Mall (Mall of America (d) 2011). This plan is part of the design for extension that may change with the passage of time.

Vulnerabilities to Different Threats and Their Remedial Measures

Shopping Malls are always vulnerable to different threats. These threats can frequently get converted in devastation of people and material. Major threats to any shopping Mall, which are equally applicable to Mall of America, are terrorist threats, short circuit, shoplifting, robbery, accidents, and scuffles between people or group of people. Therefore, comprehensive security arrangements and strong management are the solutions to these problems. These threats depend upon number of other factors, which is also discussed in detail in succeeding paragraphs.

Location of Mall is a deciding factor in identifying various threats to Mall. Old shopping Malls were less attractive for criminal activities as these were less in number and were only available in the centre of the city. Areas with high crime rates are normally not suitable for mega shopping Malls.

Retrieved from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/guests/services

Design of the Mall of America is such, which attracts a lot of people. Therefore, it attracts those people also which are not the buyers. Being a busy shopping Mall there have been incidents of theft. Management and workers of the Mall lack enough of the security especially when they are on the move from residence to Mall and back. Local or community police stations in the Mall are a lacking area (O’ Dougherty 2006). Effective lighting arrangements are wanting areas to detect the threatening elements from a long distance.

Escape routes are not available to a satisfactory extent in the Mall of America. Escape routes are very essential to save precious lives in case of any emergency. Terrorism is the main threat to big public places. America being major ally on war against terrorism is prone to such attacks.  Sufficient arrangements are not available in Mall of America to prevent a suicidal or raid by the terrorist organizations.

Restrooms and conference rooms are neglected areas from security point of view. Most of the bars are on the top floor. There have been a lot many cases of sexual assault and illegal activities in these bars. Mall of America owns a huge car park with parking facility available for more than 12000 vehicles. There have been incidents of different nature in the car park.

Shoplifting training for the employees is a wanting area. Despite certain measures, authorities are not fully able to stop shoplifting. Adequate fire fighting staff with all the accessories in not available in the Mall building, although, that is available in the near vicinity of the Mall. Data available on internet as well as on intranet is highly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Computers are prone to hacker attacks (Solar Powered Mobility Networks 2008).

Design of phase II should be such that it is spacious enough to accommodate people without congestion (O’ Dougherty 2006). Corridor should be made spacious enough to avoid congestion of space. Security should be provided to patrons and workers in route to their accommodation through mobile escorts. Vehicles of officials need to be protected whenever they move from one place to another. There should be establishment of police posts and police station in the Mall of America to handle the cases of robbery and shop lifting.

Security lights should be used to detect the threatening elements from a long distance. Personnel should be deputed for round the clock observation over the sensitive areas leading to the Mall of America (Solar Powered Mobility Networks 2008). More lights should be installed at places, which can be used for illegal activities.

Construction of escape routes to save precious life in case of any emergency should be there. Rehearsals to be carried out frequently to achieve efficiency in dealing with the emergency situation. Proper guiding arrangements for visitors towards the safe places must be considered. Guiding arrangements can be made by the use of lighting the escape route as we see in commercial air lines.

Terrorist attacks are the major threat nowadays. America being the front line ally on war against terror is more prone to such threats. Use of CCTV and other surveillance means should be enhanced to counter suicide attack at the Mall. Extensive use of barriers and metal detectors should be made for safety of Mall. Visitors should be thoroughly searched physically for any explosive. Establish check posts at the distance of at least 200 meters from the entrance of the Mall. Parameter patrolling be given due consideration during the dark hours (O’ Dougherty 2006). Anti terrorist training be imparted to police and other security agencies to effectively tackle terrorist activities.

Sexual assault cases are on the rise in the separated places like conference rooms etcetera. CCTVs should be used to monitor the activities in conference rooms. A duty officer should be detailed to frequently visit the isolated places to avoid any incident occurrence. Separate log should be placed in the rooms for entries of duty officer. Every time a duty officer visiting a room must endorse the comments (Solar Powered Mobility Networks 2008).

Bars on top of the Mall need to be kept under observation. Frequent cases of sexual assault were reported few years ago. CCTVs should be used for close observation of all the activities. Car park of the Mall of America has the capacity to accommodate more than 12000 cars. This place needs special security arrangement to stop happening of any mishap. By cycle and motorcycle patrols, CCTV cameras, security guards and alarm system needs to be coordinated to detect any breech in the security system.

Shoplifting training should be imparted to staff of the Mall to minimize the quantity of goods being lifted. CCTVs are very helpful aid in this regard. Additional staff must be considered to monitor the activities of visitors during shopping.  Checking of items against the purchase list at the exit be incorporated in daily routine to curb the tendency of shoplifting.

Complete infrastructure of the Mall should be thoroughly analyzed for any risk of fire outbreak. This must include following:

  • All the hazards for fire outbreak must be analyzed.
  • Identification of people who can be affected with fire.
  • Above assessment must be thoroughly updated after every six months.

Effective alarm system should be used in the Mall to inform any outbreak of fire. Automatic fire fighting extinguishers need to be installed in the Mall, which can automatically functions on a large front. No gap should exist between the doors and windows from where fire can speedily travel from one room to another (Fire Safety Engineering 1995). All such gaps should be properly sealed beforehand. Automatic and computerized sprinkles should be installed at the Mall of America to control the spreading of fire in the building.

Smoke detectors of different kinds should be used in the Mall for detection of fire. Call point should also be used as warning sign in case of outbreak of fire. Heat detectors must be made available for giving warning to people in case of outbreak of fire (Fire Safety Engineering 1995). Mall of America should develop strong computer security system against any cyber attack. Date should be inaccessible to the hackers. Only those individuals who are supposed to handle the data must know security passwords.

Conclusion

Mall of America is one of the wonderful destinations of the world. It’s not about a retail area; it is a complete world for everyone. With the passage of time, it is turning to be a big entertainment place for the people of every age and every financial background. Great care has been taken by the triple five to make it the most amazing shopping Mall on American soil. Mall is place, which provides fun to everyone. Parks, aquarium, coaster ride, flight simulators and departmental stores contribute towards making a dynamic picnic spot.

Extension of existing structure will make it even more attractive in the days to come. Besides earning colossal amount of profit for the twin cities, taxes will also be generated to rescue the needy areas of a human life. Certain vulnerabilities need to be properly addressed to make the Mall a dream place for everyone. Sense of security can be given to visitors if comprehensive Remedial measures are taken to make it a terror free place in future.

References:
  • Crawford, M. (1992). The World in a Shopping Mall, pp. 3-30 in Sorkin, M., Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and The End of Public Space. New York: Noonday.
  • Farrell, James J. (2007). The Mall of America. Retrieved on 14th February 2011 from http://www.oah.org/pubs/nl/2007feb/farrell.html
  • FSE (Fire Safety Engineering). (1995). A Research for the Fire Safety Engineering Design of Buildings. BRE Publications, Watford.
  • Jackson, Kenneth T. (1996). All the World’s a Mall: Reflections on the Social and Economic Consequences of the American Shopping Center. The American Historical Review, Vol. 101, Issue 4, 1111-1121.
  • Mall of America, Phase II a. (2011). Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.Mallofamericaphase2.com/?#/27922/
  • Mall of America, Phase II b. (2011). Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.Mallofamericaphase2.com/
  • Mall of America (a). (2011). Attractions. Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/attractions/
  • Mall of America (b). (2011). Overview. Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/about/moa
  • Mall of America (c). (2011).History. Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/about/moa/history
  • Mall of America (d). (2011). Future. Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.Mallofamerica.com/about/moa/future
  • O’ Dougherty, M. 2006, “Public relations, private security: managing youth and race at the Mall of America” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24 (1) 131 – 154.
  • Retail Merchandiser. (2011). Mall of America: Realizing a Vision. Retrieved on 15th February 2011 from http://www.retail-merchandiser.com/retail-reports/592-Mall-of-america-realizing-a-vision.html
  • Solar Powered Mobility Networks. (2008). Retrieved on 13th February 2011 from http://www.jpods.com/SolarPowerity NetworkSummary.html
  • Spellmeyer, A. W. (1993). Mall of America: Confounding the Skeptics. Urban Land, 52, 43-56, 81-83.

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