Plaza Las AméricasEdit profile
Coordinates: 18°25′19″N 66°4′28″W / 18.42194°N 66.07444°W / 18.42194; -66.07444
Plaza Las Américas is a shopping mall in Hato Rey, San Juan, Puerto Rico, located at the intersection of Routes 18 and 23. It is near the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, the Hiram Bithorn Stadium, and the WKAQ-TV's studios. "Plaza", as it is known to many Puerto Ricans, was the first indoor mall built in Puerto Rico. It is the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean and the third largest in Latin America.History
The brothers Jerónimo, Rosa, Gerardo and Jaime Fonalledas acquire 527 acres (2.13 km2) of land previously known as “Las Monjas”. This land was property of Don Pablo Ubarri Capetillo, the Count of Santurce.1920
Little by little cane harvesting was eliminated with the intention of using the land for the creation of Milk Company, eventually known as "Vaquería Tres Monjitas".1950
The metropolitan area of San Juan was growing rapidly. The Planning Board begins to project the ordered development of the lands. It is then, that the Fonalledas brothers come up with the idea of establishing a Regional Shopping Center in the “Las Monjas” property. The Planning Board includes in its development plan a space of 15 land cords for a Shopping Center.1962
The plans for the construction of a Shopping Center and the negotiations with tenants begin.1967
In the month of April the construction of Plaza las Americas begins, under the direction of the engineer Peter Jacobson.1968
Plaza Las Americas holds its grand opening September 12. It is the first enclosed shopping center in Puerto Rico and the largest in Latin America. The project is inaugurated with a total of 79 establishments, a twin cinema and parking for 4,000 vehicles. One hundred percent of the space is rented and nearly 2,000 people are employed in the new Mall.
The primary anchor store is a 3-level (261,500 square foot) J.C. Penney. It is the chain's first location outside the fifty states and its largest operation between 1968 and 1971. The mall also houses two San Juan-based department stores as its second and third anchors. These are a 2-level (76,500 square foot) Gonzales Padin and (22,000 square foot) Velasco. Inline stores include Martha Washington Ice Cream, Gordon's (jewelers), Florsheim Shoes, La Esquina Famosa ('men's clothing), Bakers (shoes), Zales Jewelers, Clubman, Marianne Shops, Singer Sewing Center, Lerner Shops, Thom McAn Shoes, La Favorita and First Federal Savings Bank...along with an F.W. Woolworth's (five and dime), Farmacias Gonzalez (pharmacy), La Cosa (curios), La Tienda Sin Nombre (shoes), Benny's Toys, Pueblo Supermarket, travel agency and a full-sized hardware store. A small section had a second floor where medical and business offices were accessible.1969
The architectonic design of Plaza las Americas wins the URBE Prize for commercial arquitecture.1979
The first expansion of the shopping center is completed. Fifty-five new stores are added in a 3-level North Wing. This is anchored by a 3-level (329,000 square foot) Sears. The “Terraza de Plaza”, the first food court to be established in the island, comprises the third level of the addition, along with two additional movie theaters (Plaza III and IV).1992
The new Development Plan for the second great expansion of Plaza las Americas is published.1994
The expansion of Plaza las Américas and also the remodeling of “La Terraza” are completed. The number of restaurants was increased from 19 to 24, and the movie theaters from 5 to 10. The construction of the “Torre de Plaza” is finished at a cost of $15 million. The Tower added 146,000 square feet (13,600 m2) of profitable space to the shopping Center”1996
Plaza las Americas announces its largest expansion and remodeling at a cost of more than $246 million.1997
The advertising campaign of Plaza las Americas “Menos mal que está Plaza” is awarded the Maxi Award which is granted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).1998
The first phase of the center's three-year-long expansion and renovation is dedicated. This consists of a newly-built, 4-level (350,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. It replaces the 3-level store that had opened at the mall in 1968. The new Penney's at Plaza las Americas is the chain's largest store. The original location is subdivided into new retail spaces.1999
The overpass bridge on the De Diego Expressway is inaugurated, offering better access to the Shopping Center.2000
The remodeling and expansion of the Shopping Center is completed. Now it offers a new facade and a total of 2,100,000 square feet (195,000 m2), occupied by over 300 stores. A 2-level (255,000 square foot) Macy’s opens, as the third anchor of the shopping center, October 25. It is the chain's first location outside the fifty states. A thirteen (13)-screen multiplex is also completed. A concept of “public” art is created in the shopping center, which includes pieces by local artists.2008
Plaza las Americas commemorates its 40th anniversary.Notable attributes
- Considered by many to be the Caribbean's leading shopping center.
- It is the largest shopping center in the Caribbean.
- Plaza's RadioShack and Puma are each company's busiest and highest grossing stores in the world.
- Plaza's Macy's and Borders & Music are each company's highest grossing stores in the world.
- Macy's store inside the mall is also the first one to open outside North America.
- The largest JCPenney store in the world (a full 4 stories) is located at the mall.
- The Forever 21, Sephora and Abercrombie & Fitch stores located in the mall were the first stores that each chain opened in Latin America.
- It holds 2 police station (PRPD and San Juan Police), as well as a small fire department post in the lower parking complex, right next to the police station.
- The mall produces approximately 8,000 local jobs.
- The mall has a local economic impact of approximately $268 million.
- The mall has approximately 11,000 parking spaces.
- JCPenney (350,000 sq ft)
- Sears (329,000 sq ft)
- Macy's (255,000sq. ft)