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The Twin Cities’ first pan-Asian mall is expected to open this month after logistical issues delayed its summer debut.
The mall plans an informal soft opening for November 10—19, operating between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day. A grand opening is scheduled for November 20, according to Marshall Nguyen, the lead broker and advisor to the team of people developing the mall.
A cleaning crew recently went through the Asia Mall in Eden Prairie, fish tanks have been filled with water, and food freezers are ready for use.
“We’re we’re very close,” said Nguyen, who is vice president of the brokerage firm, Caspian Group. “We’re just waiting for the general managers to come in with food and start stocking the mall.”
Asia Mall’s Facebook page said that capacity for the soft opening will be limited. Nguyen said previous plans for a soft opening in the summer were rushed.
“We wanted to open when we found the right time, but also being able to be mindful with contractors as well, as we can’t rush them—can’t rush the project,” Nguyen said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is construction.”
Several logistical issues arose as developers moved ahead with the construction of the mall at 12160 Technology Drive in Eden Prairie. Nguyen said the mall had bought coolers and freezers for food storage a year in advance, but they were delayed later than expected. The mall also spent the past couple of months obtaining construction permits and other licenses in order to open to the public.
“Sometimes we’d deal with delays from manufacturers and vendors,” Nguyen said. “I understand why there are delays. A lot of times people don’t think and think that there’s so many things that go into it. You can’t just go in and start building. You can’t just do it. You got to get approvals from the government.
Nguyen said the COVID pandemic also delayed the mall’s opening.
“We’re going through a very difficult time with COVID and many people in government also aren’t working,” said Nguyen. “Things are delayed for everyone, but it’s okay. What I tell people is that good things come to those who wait.”
The two-story mall is around 116,000 square feet, making it about 10 times smaller than the Southdale and Rosedale Centers. The mall will include businesses from a variety of Asian cultures including Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean.
Tenants include the grocery store Asia Mart, Vietnamese restaurant Pho Mai, Chinese restaurants Home Taste and Legendary Spice, and CrunChees Korean Hotdog.
The mall will cater to Asian buyers, Nguyen said, and also serve as a cultural hub for Minnesotans who want to experience different cultures.
“Minnesota is such a big melting pot,” Nguyen said. “For us to create a one-stop shop for different Asian ethnicities, it helps everyone share the culture.”
Several community members have vocalized their excitement about the mall on Asia Mall’s Facebook page, some expressing concerns about the mall’s delayed opening date.
Nguyen and the mall’s owners said the attention is a great problem to have.
“You know, we’ve got really good feedback, with those who come to check out the store saying that they’re impressed,” Nguyen said.