Ryan Companies: Mall of America project a unique, but manageable, challenge

The Mall of America remains a top tourist attraction in the Twin Cities area. Now a Midwest developer has earned the opportunity to make the Mall an even bigger draw for both locals and out-of-towners.

Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies beginning in April of next year will develop and build what Mall of America officials are calling Phase 1C of the famous mall. The development will include a high-end luxury hotel, medical office building and retail space. It will cost from $200 million to $250 million to build.

The goal is to have the project completed by the 2014 holiday shopping season. This would represent good timing for two reasons: First, it makes sense to have the new addition ready for the busy Christmas season. Secondly, the lowering of Lindau Lane, the road that snakes around the Mall of America, will also wrap up by that time.

Rick Collins, vice president of development for Ryan Companies, said that his company has the experience necessary to complete this high-profile project on-time and on-budget.

“Ryan has experience with complex mixed-use projects,” Collins said.

In all, the project will include a luxury hotel of about 350 rooms, 150,000 square feet of medical office space and 135,000 square feet of retail space. Ryan Companies will also develop two levels of underground parking that will bring about 700 new parking spaces to the mall.

This project, of course, is known as phase 1C. Phase 1A was the construction of the actual mall itself, while phase 1B was the construction of the Radisson Blu hotel that is now under construction at the southern end of the Bloomington supermall.

Collins said that there is no brand yet attached to the hotel portion of the project. He also said that there are no tenants yet attached to the retail portion.

Collins, though, said that Ryan Companies isn’t worried about finding tenants. The Mall of America remains a prime spot for retailers and hoteliers, he said, even in today’s challenging economy. More than 40 million visitors come to the mall each year, Collins said. It’s why retail and lodging space here ranks as prime space.

The project doesn’t come without challenges, though. Coordinating the work with the construction also taking place on Lindau Lane is one of the biggest, Collins said.

“The schedule of this project is really driven by construction on Lindahl Lane,” Collins said. “We have to make sure that our development and construction activities don’t negatively impact the traffic of guests coming to the mall or the ability of the tenants to do business. We want to make sure that our work doesn’t inconvenience them once the work on Lindau Lane is completed. This means that we have had to accelerate some of our planning and complete the construction faster than it otherwise might have been completed. This is a manageable challenge, but it is a unique one.”

– Dan Rafter

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