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Mall of America Plans Casino

16 February 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota – (PRESS RELEASE) -- At a meeting with City of Bloomington officials this afternoon and at a public forum tonight, the managing partners of Mall of America unveiled conceptual plans for Phase II that included a world class casino, high end department stores, exclusive boutiques and restaurants featuring international cuisine.

"When Phase II at Mall of America is completed, the people of Minnesota, as well as national and international tourists, will have access to high end retail, nationally known multi-cultural exhibits, themed hotel rooms, numerous attractions including an NHL-sized ice skating rink open to the public, Tivoli Gardens, an indoor golf course and an international center for concerts and the performing arts. Combined with world class gaming the Mall will draw even more tourists from around the world," said Nader Ghermezian, of Triple Five of Minnesota, Inc., the managing partner of Mall of America.

Ghermezian continued, "We plan to fulfill our original vision by giving Bloomington and Minnesota the number one tourist destination in the United States."

The conceptual expansion plans, expected to cost over $1 billion, presented to Bloomington city officials and the public proposes to double the size of Mall of America, currently the largest mall in the United States and will be located on an adjacent property once occupied by Met Center, the former home of the NHL's MN North Stars.

Included in the expansion will be a family-oriented hotel with themed rooms that will include an igloo room, a train room and a Hawaiian room, a concert center for the performing arts, dance and family shows, an NHL sized ice rink that will be open for public skating and ice shows, a tram that will transport passengers from the light rail station into the center of Phase II, and an Italian canal with gondolas surrounded by dancing fountains. The expansion will also include restaurants serving food from around the world such as the Left Bank of Paris, Italy and Scandinavia.

"This project," Mr. Ghermezian said, "will attract international conventions and family vacationers alike because there will be enough amenities to spend a week here and, as a result, will be a real boost to the local and regional economy."

For the first time, Mall officials included a world-class casino in a Phase II development plan. Comprising less than 5% of the 4 million square foot expansion, Mr. Ghermezian believes that a casino would help increase the Mall's attractiveness as a major tourist destination bringing new revenue to the state and local economies.

"If the state approves a license for a metro area casino," Mr. Ghermezian said, "we believe Mall of America is the best location. The infrastructure investments are in place, Phase II planning is underway and, combined with the proven national and international draw of Mall of America's Phase I, the site will generate unprecedented annual revenues for the people of Minnesota and Bloomington."

Mr. Ghermezian continued, "After completion of Phase II the number of visitors to Mall of America will increase from 40 million annually to over 60 million annually making it far and away the number one tourist destination in the United States. The annual economic impact will increase from $1.8 billion currently to over $3 billion dollars. Tourist dollars are new dollars to the local and state economy. Today, for every dollar spent at Mall of America, $1.20 is spent outside Mall of America, in Bloomington and elsewhere in Minnesota. No other location can match that potential for generating revenue."

Construction on Phase II is expected to commence within the year and open in late 2007.

Mall of America is the nation's largest retail and entertainment complex. The 4.2 million square foot complex with its high sales per square foot is home to more than 520 world-class shops; Camp Snoopy, the nation's largest indoor family theme park; Underwater Adventures Aquarium, a 1.2 million gallon walk-through aquarium; a 14-screen movie theater and more. The Mall opened in August of 1992 and is located in Bloomington, MN, just minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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