In an era of shuttered shopping malls, the biggest one in America is set to be built. Officials in Florida's Miami-Dade County last month approved zoning changes for a 6.2-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment center on a 174-acre site off the Florida Turnpike, complete with an indoor water park, lake, ski slope, ice-climbing wall, 2,000 hotel rooms, and up to 1,200 stores, reports the Wall Street Journal. American Dream Miami—to be "twice the size of the nation's current largest mall" at an estimated cost of $4 billion, per Business Insider—is the somewhat outdated brainchild of Canada's Triple Five Worldwide Group, run by the Ghermezian family. They know a thing or two about shopping malls, having built Canada's West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in the world when it opened 35 years ago, as well as Minnesota's Mall of America.
"But c'mon, Ghermezians. America is over-stored, over-shopped and over-bought … And does anybody really need to go snow skiing in Florida?" Warren Shoulberg writes at Forbes. "I don't see it competing with Disney World," adds a VP of Miami-based Continental Real Estate Companies. Their complaints join those of residents worried about traffic and the environment, and of critics who watched Triple Five struggle to fund New Jersey's as-yet-unopened American Dream Meadowlands mall after taking over the site in 2011, per NJ.com. Critics are also wary of the public subsidies that might be used to open the mall, slated to be the most expensive ever built, but American Dream Miami plans to "be built by private dollars," a lawyer for Triple Five says. Countering what he calls "a campaign of disinformation" by local mall owners, he adds the mall will create 25,000 jobs and attract 30 million tourists annually. (Read more shopping mall stories.)