One of the world's largest shopping malls covers an area of 15 million square feet—and it's still set to grow.
The Iran Mall is a vast shopping and entertainment complex in northwest Tehran. The first phase of the mall opened in 2018, at which point the mall became the largest in the world. And with the second phase still in progress, the Iran Mall will only continue to grow.
Prior to the construction of the Iran Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world was the South China Mall in Dongguan, China. With a gross leasable area (GLA) of 7.1 million square feet, it was‚—and still is—a real whopper of a mall.
But when the first stage of the Iran Mall was opened in 2018, it more than doubled the GLA of the South China Mall, becoming the uncontested king of commercial complexes. With a total area of 15 million square feet, the Iran Mall is about five times larger than the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania, currently the largest mall in the United States. Or, to use a non-mall comparison, the Iran Mall covers more than twice the area of the Pentagon.
So what exactly is going on at the Iran Mall to justify such a vast space? Well, in terms of zoning, 24 percent of the mall is occupied by commercial spaces, 18 percent is allocated to cultural facilities, 31 percent to public and recreational areas, 19 percent to parking, and 5 percent for the hotel.
The first phase of the mall is home to a range of retail outlets that will have even the most world-weary of shopaholics drooling. Not all of the shops are open yet, but there is currently room for around 700 stores (set to expand to 1,000), selling everything from international designer brands to traditional Iranian-made products, and a 215,000-square-feet hypermarket. You’ll also find a vast car showroom.
For the style-conscious, meanwhile, there’s a fashion avenue, a diamond atrium, and a crystal atrium. And for the more cerebral shopper, there’s a book garden with several bookstores containing around 67,000 volumes, as well as an on-site museum, art galleries, and a state-of-the-art 2,000-seat theater.
Beyond the shopping, there’s also a cinema complex with 12 IMAX cinemas, an amusement park, a hotel, a conference hall, and a convention center. And to introduce a bit of healthiness into the mall, there’s a sports complex with cycling and hiking routes, numerous sports fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, and a large ice rink.
If all this sounds like a commercialized nightmare of Dawn of the Dead proportions, visitors can always run and hide in the Bagh-Didar, or Meeting Garden. Based on the Mahan Garden, a historical Persian garden in Iran, the Bagh-Didar is a cool green space located right in the heart of the mall, where people can escape from the incessant shopping.
As for phase two of the Iran Mall, that’s supposed to be completed in 2020. And once that’s finished, it will cover a total area of 20 million square feet. Which just sounds exhausting.
Know Before You Go
Iran Mall is located just off the Kharrazi Expressway in northwest Tehran, not far from Chitgar Lake and Tehran West Airport.
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