Largest mall in the world is a Chinese ghost town

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While China recently announced 45 new airports due to booming travel growth, several of their development projects have been enormous duds. The New South China Mall is twice the size of Minnesota’s Mall of America, but hovers at around a 1% occupancy. The rows of empty shops are piped with serene elevator music, and guards police the empty halls with echoing footsteps.

Announced in 2005, the mall is located in Dongguan in the Guangdong province of southern China. The location is between Guangzhou and Shenzen in an area that may one day be considered the world’s largest mega city, estimated to have a population near 50 million. Today, the mall has yet to live up to any distinction associated with mega cities, and is a sobering example of what happens when idea implementation precedes growth. Separated into seven districts modeled after international cities, the mall boasts an Arc de Triomphe, Venice canals, and even a mini Egypt. Of the 2,350 leasable store spaces, around 50 are actually in use. Check out this award-winning video directed by Sam Green and Carrie Lozano for PBS that showcases this bizarre mall.

Mall of America gets luxury hotel on the Fed’s dime

Good news for mall junkies: Bloomington, Minnesota’s vaunted Mall of America will get a luxury hotel in the near future — thanks in part to federal stimulus funds.

Plans for the hotel have been in the works for several years, but had to be quashed two years ago due to lack of funding, says USA Today.

Now, Hennepin County officials have granted the Bloomington Port Authority the ability to issue $40.3 million in tax-free bonds to help fund the $130 million venture. The hotel is set to be 12 stories, and connected to the MOA via a skyway. And though it’s not yet clear who will manage the property, Starwood, Radisson and Marriott are all up for the gig.

The federal stimulus funds were made available to projects that were “significant and shovel ready” and located in economically depressed areas. Proponents of the hotel say it will bring much-needed jobs to the area, and will pay for itself in revenue. But critics argue that building a luxury property probably isn’t the best use of federal funds. What do you think, Gadling readers?

[photo by Flickr user cliff1066]