In the 21st century, malls are becoming real "cities" with vast amusement parks and entertainment for people of all ages. Here are the top ten elite current and future shopping destinations in the world.
1. Dubai Mall — Dubai, UAE
Dubai is home to the world's largest shopping and entertainment centre, appropriately named the "The Dubai Mall". It's bigger than 50 football fields and houses 1,200 shops, 120 restaurants and a five-star hotel.
There is also a cinema that has the largest screens in Dubai, an aquarium featuring over 33,000 marine creatures, an ice palace and the SEGA Republic theme park. Children will be deeply impressed by the local sweet shop, which is also the world's largest. The Dubai Mall has now been recognised as the most visited tourist attraction in the world for several years running. In 2012 alone, it attracted more tourists than New York City.
2. Mall Of the World — Dubai, UAE
Dubai might have the biggest mall in the world, but that didn't stop architects from designing the future "Mall of the World" that will be even bigger. The construction of this commercial giant will take about ten years and cost almost $7 billion, occupying nearly 4.5 million sq m.
One-fifth of the building will be dedicated to shopping and leisure, the rest to offices and accommodation. The precinct will be connected by 33 roads as well as cycle lanes, footpaths and even waterways for gondolas. The project's authors estimate that it will attract 180 million visitors in its first year.
3. Mall of America — Bloomington, MN, USA
The largest American mall, the "Mall of America" was built in 1992 in Bloomington, Minnesota, and is owned by the Triple Five Group. It cost about $650M to build and it is truly gigantic: if you spent just 10 min in every department of this mall, it would still take you 86 hours to visit the whole thing. About 42 million people visit the Mall of America every year.
The mall annually hosts 350 major events including rock concerts and workshops by renowned chefs. In 2016, a project for the extension of the mall extension was launched and by 2018, it will be twice as large as today. The designers are adding an additional 54,000 sq m of retail space, an aquarium, ice rink, five-star hotel, residential units and office space. The renovation project value is $500M.
4. American Dream Miami — Miami, FL, USA
The "American Dream Mall" is yet another creation of the Triple Five Group, owners of the Mall of America. Located in shopper-friendly Miami-Dade County in Florida, it will measure over 800,000 sq m — more than 20% bigger than the Everglades National Park and 40% bigger than the current largest U.S. shopping centre.
Along with 520 shops and 50 restaurants, there will be an aquarium and an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, a roller-coaster and a ski slope as well as an artificial salt lake with reefs and submarine rides. The project is currently at the approval stage with construction due to begin this year and end in 2019. According to preliminary estimates, the project value is $4 billion.
5. American Dream Meadowlands — Meadowlands, NJ, USA
The "American Dream Meadowland", also by the Triple Five Group, is a new project in New Jersey, which could become the most expensive commercial building in the world, Construction costs are estimated at $5 billion. It will include a 4D cinema as well as a concert hall accommodating 3,000 people, a miniature golf course, bowling alley, ice rink and an aquarium. The designers have also planned to build the largest artificial ski slope in the Western hemisphere that will be sixteen storeys high.
They also plan to build the largest Dreamworks amusement park in North America with a 91-metre high big wheel with a view over Manhattan. However, the story behind the American Dream Meadowlands is not a simple one: the mall has already been under construction for 13 years now and is on its third developer. The current completion date is in 2017.
6. West Edmonton Mall — Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The West Edmonton Mall, built in 1981, is located in the Canadian city of Edmonton. Until 2004, it was the world's largest shopping centre, making it into the Guinness World Records. Nevertheless, it still holds the title of the largest mall in North America, with a total area of 500,000 sq m.
In addition to 800 shops, there is a casino, water park, petting zoo, the world's second largest Galaxyland and the world's biggest indoor wave pool that generates waves of up to two metres high, not to mention cinemas and a concert hall. Each floor is divided into geographically-themed zones like Europa Boulevard, New Orleans, China Town, etc. The construction of the West Edmonton Mall cost about $930 million.
7. Westfield Stratford City — London, UK
The biggest shopping mall in the UK and the whole of Europe is located in the East of London. Westfield Stratford City was opened in 2011 in time for the 2012 Olympics. The shopping centre measures 177,000 sq m and houses 300 shops, 70 restaurants, the largest casino in the UK, as well as three hotels, a cinema, bowling alleys and an organic produce market. Exhibitions are regularly staged in the spacious central hall.
The mall was built in a strategic location at the intersection of major rail and bus transport routes, making it easy to access from anywhere in the city. During the Olympics, it is estimated that nearly 75% of people attending the event visited the mall, which is near the entrance to the Olympic Park. The project cost $2.1 billion to complete.
8. The Hills at Vallco — Cupertino, CA, USA
The Hills at Vallco in Cupertino, which is also home to the forthcoming Apple mega-campus, is envisioned as a mixed-use town centre with a shopping and entertainment centre, offices and residential apartments. The main feature of the project is the world's largest green roof that measures 120,000 sq m, with greenhouses, vineyards, gardens, playgrounds, recreation areas and 6 km of pedestrian and cycle lanes.
However, this development has a tumultuous past. At one point, it had up to 96% vacancy and many of its anchor tenants (major American brands like JC Penney and AMC) abandoned the project. It has also changed names three times. Nevertheless, the future design has attracted previous tenants back thanks to green innovations and the addition of office and residential units. The current redevelopment will cost $3 billion.
9. Persian Gulf Complex — Shiraz, Iran
Surprisingly, Iran has one of the 10 biggest malls in the world. Built in 2011, it is remarkable for the number of shops it holds (about 2,500). The 450,000 sq m complex has a hotel, several swimming pools, a tennis court, two amusement parks over 65,000 sq m, a bowling alley and a three-storey pool hall.
The Persian Gulf Complex is perfectly designed for affluent shoppers who can visit in their helicopters, thanks to the landing pad on the roof. It also has a car park that can accommodate 5,500 cars. The shopping mall cost over $660M to complete.
10. Siam Paragon — Bangkok, Thailand
The best shopping centre in Thailand, Siam Paragon, can be found in the capital, Bangkok. It ranked sixth on the list of the World's Most Talked About Places on Facebook in 2015. Occupying 8.3 hectares, it is one of the largest malls in Asia. There are 300 elite brands from all over the world and a massive automobile dealership selling luxury vehicles.
According to the creators of the project, this is the world's largest chain member and the first one opened in Thailand. It also has the cinema with the biggest screens in Asia and the largest aquarium in this part of the world. Other places to visit include a bowling centre and a karaoke bar, Thai artist exhibitions and a concert hall. The mall opened in 2005 and cost $375 million.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.