Updated: 03/18/2014 5:06 PM
Created: 03/11/2014 9:17 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
The Mega Mall is getting even bigger. The groundbreaking for a massive expansion project for Mall of America took place Tuesday.
The $325 million development will add a luxury hotel, underground parking spaces and a new mixed-use complex. Construction crews have already been put to work, and MOA visitors should start seeing the structure go up later this summer. MOA Spokesperson Dan Jasper says it's expected to be completed in August of 2015.
The Tuesday groundbreaking was a celebration in the rotunda, and rather than moving dirt they moved confetti.
MOA spokesperson Sarah Schmidt said the project, called Phase 1C, will include office and retail space, along with the MOA Crossing office building.
Mall officials hope to attract between 50 and 75 higher-end stores and entice upscale shoppers to have a more experiential shopping experience. A larger rotunda called the Atrium will have a large skylight to let in sunlight.
According to the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, MOA Crossing will be a 10-story complex constructed atop a new multi-level parking garage on the north side of the mall property and Lindau Lane.
A new five-star hotel will also be built on the north side of the mall, and a curtain was dropped Tuesday to reveal it as the luxury JW Marriott hotel, which will offer 340 rooms for tourists who come to town.
Additionally, the city will pay for a two-level underground parking garage that will add 562 spaces, according to city documents.
The Mall of America has development rights for up to an additional 5.6 million square feet of mixed-use space. The mall sees more than 40 million visitors annually, and all of this will bring in more dollars and jobs to Minnesota: an estimated $1 billion each year for the area's economy, and an additional 2,500 jobs at the mall.
Last spring, the project was pushed along by a $250 million tax break approved by the legislature. The mall's ownership group, Triple Five Worldwide, has plans for nearly doubling the current square footage of the mall.