Dubai Unveils Plans for World's Largest Mall

It will include 100 hotels, a theme park, and a climate-controlled network of streets

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2014 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Being home to one of the world's largest malls is apparently not enough for the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, even just five years after Dubai was crippled by a massive debt crisis. The nation’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, says his planned Mall of the World will, at 8 million square feet, be twice as large as Minnesota's Mall of America, and include a theme park covered in the summer, 100 hotels and apartments, and yes, an entire street network that is climate-controlled. This is, after all, the desert.

Dubai is expecting a surge in visitors when it hosts the World Expo in 2020, reports Al Jazeera, which authorities say will cost $8.4 billion to organize but generate $23 billion. The mall should accommodate 180 million visitors a year—more than four times the current record-holder, the Las Vegas Strip, which pulls in 40 million visitors a year. The project is the world’s first “temperature-controlled (pedestrian) city," covering 48 million square feet, according to Gulf News. Though the announcement indicated that construction is imminent, it didn't include a timeline or cost, adds Reuters. (Click to read about China's plans for the world's tallest tower, rising a kilometer into the sky.)

This image provided by Dubai Holding on Saturday July 5, 2014, shows an artist rendition of their planned Mall of the World project that will include an 8 million square foot (743,224 square meter) mall,...   (AP Photo/Dubai Holding)
In this Saturday July 5, 2014 photo released by the Dubai Government Media Office, UAE Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, left, listens to Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi,...   (AP Photo/Dubai Media Office)
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