By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
SAN JUAN — As if having the Caribbean’s largest mall at Plaza Las Americas wasn’t enough, today Puerto Rico has welcomed a new addition to its retail landscape with the opening of the Mall of San Juan.
Operated by Bloomfield, Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc., it is “the most beautiful center we’ve built during our 65 years in business,” said chairman, president and CEO Robert Taubman, who led reporters on a tour of the 650,000-square-foot enclosed mall, which he said was inspired by the island’s natural beauty.
“This is a first-rate, world-class shopping experience,” Taubman said of the project, which provided 2,000 construction jobs and is projected to create 3,000 permanent positions.
Just five minutes’ drive from San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, the mall will eventually feature more than 100 stores, 60 percent of which will be making their debut in the Caribbean market, including Bulgari, Herve Leger, Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, Lululemon, and Kate Spade New York, as well as anchor stores Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Taubman anticipates that 80 percent of the mall’s retail outlets will be open by the end of the year, with full occupancy by mid 2016 – good news for fans of CH Carolina Herrera, BCBG Maz Azria, Zara, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, all coming soon.
Public spaces incorporate curved stone, marble and wood features designed to evoke the island’s beaches, punctuated with seating in bold Caribbean colors. A skylight that spans the three-block-long mall concourse allows natural light to permeate the interior.
Mall management has partnered with Jet Blue to provide monthly live entertainment on the Grand Court stage; Royal Caribbean and Hospital Auxilio Mutuo on a children’s play area; and Visa, which has been designated the mall’s official credit card and will offer exclusive cardholder events and promotions.
The Mall of San Juan opens from 9am until 9pm Monday through Saturday, and from 11am to 7pm on Sundays. Visitors traveling from more than 50 miles away can take advantage of special offers and discounts with a Passport To Shopping, available at the mall’s customer service desk. Approximate taxi fare from the airport to the mall is $13.