And the No. 1 retail center experience in America is...

Al Urbanski
MOA's next Saturday Night Nitro wrestling event is a sell-out.

Being bigger isn’t always better, but in Mall of America’s case, it is.

Size is just one of the reasons that MOA is CSA’s No. 1 Retail Center Experience for 2023.The 5.6 million-sq.-ft. mega-mall covers 129 acres in Bloomington, Minn., enough space to accommodate 11 Target Field baseball stadiums (Target Field is home of the local Minnesota Twins).  The Minneapolis Metro Blue and D lines stop inside the center. That not only gives residents and visitors to the Twin Cities easy access to MOA, but also travelers burdened with long layovers at the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. They can hop a 10-minute ride to America’s largest mall and kill a few hours in a place that houses more than 500 stores and 60 restaurants — they can even ride the Avatar Airbender at Nickelodeon Universe to prepare for their next flight.

“Mall of America benefits from a unique infrastructure. Even in the cold Minnesota winters we’re packed because can you get here and have a great time here without ever having to go outside,” said MOA's chief business development & marketing Officer Jill Renslow.

While year-round event staging has become a rather recent undertaking at retail centers, Renslow started doing it at the Triple Five property after graduating college 26 years ago and has helped plan more than 10,000 events—many of them packed-house presentations like Mariah Carey concerts and Minnesota Vikings cheerleader auditions.

This September, MOA will host Saturday Night Nitro in the mall’s Huntington Bank Rotunda, a World Championship Wrestling event that harks back to the night in 1996 when Hulk Hogan, Sting, and Ric Flair battled it out in the mall.

Over the 31 years that America’s largest mall has been in business, its events team has ardently kept pace with current societal trends.  

“In the Nineties, it was all about the pop stars,” Renslow recalled. “Then home design became big and we did a lot with HGTV. Now influencers have taken off and we bring in a lot of YouTube sensations. Recently, we jumped on the Taylor Swift tour with interactive events for Swifties.”

But the No. 1 form of entertainment that 2023’s No. 1 Retail Center Experience provides for its 40 million annual visitors (five times Magic Kingdom’s draw) is shopping.

The property constantly tweaks its tenant list, having added 70 new brands over the past five years. Many are experiential--such as ClimbZone and the Museum of Illusions—but most are national retail names with stores that can’t be found anywhere else.

Lululemon opened a flagship with a studio for classes and a fuel-up bar dispensing coffee, tea, and fresh smoothies. The M&M store cut the ribbon on a 24,000-sq.-ft. location. And Nike Rise’s flagship is set to open there later this year.

“The vast majority of mall tenants are top-end chains, and it’s not uncommon for them to be the No. 1 stores in their chains,” said MOA’s SVP of leasing Heather Swilley. “It’s a mall for everybody. There’s a huge diversity of brands. We have everything from Five Below to Burberry. We’ve added kid’s concepts. We brought in Rowan, which does ear piercings performed by licensed nurses.”

Mall of America, Swilley proclaims, lives up to its name. 

“It’s a national mall,” she said.

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