August 2012 – Bloomington, Minn. – On August 11, 1992, Mall of America opened as the largest and hottest retail and entertainment complex in the country. Fast forward 20 years – nearly half of which Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates has spent side-by-side with MOA – and it is still a premier destination for Minnesotans and visitors from across the country and around the world.MOA celebrated its 20-year anniversary last week and it did so in spectacular style, offering free movies from 1992 all week (A Few Good Men, anyone?), giving deep discounts and bringing in “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro to create an eight-foot birthday cake (which yielded 2,000 pieces of cake). “They did it right,” said Brady Mueller, AIA, Principal Architect at KOMA. “We’ve worked with the mall a long time, and they know how to celebrate. And this – 20 years – is definitely something worth celebrating.”
KOMA has worked with MOA and its tenants for nearly seven years, providing design and engineering expertise on projects ranging from retail stores (American Girl, Bettie Paige) to entertainment venues (Nickelodeon Universe, House of Comedy) to restaurants (A&W, QDoba Grill). “We’ve kind of done it all,” said Mueller with a smile. “And I can honestly say we’ve enjoyed each and every project, and each and every challenge.”
KOMA works with MOA in a variety of ways. In some instances, KOMA will provide complete design and engineering services for a project – structural engineering, architecture and interior design. In other instances, only one or two of the company’s services will be needed. “With MOA – as with all our clients – we bring to the table what is needed,” said KOMA Principal Engineer Jim Krech, PE. “From the beginning, we’ve worked to build a culture and an approach that is highly collaborative. So when other entities – designers, other architects, planners – are involved, our goal is to work seamlessly alongside them, regardless of the nature of our role.”
Mueller continued, “The people we’ve worked with at MOA are all highly competent, highly organized individuals. We’ve appreciated that they bring quality, professional partners to the table… companies and individuals who share our values and commitment to creating intentional, meaningful spaces. And I think MOA has appreciated our flexibility and strength at working as a collaborative team. This has truly been a win-win relationship.”
Krech added, “One of the most impressive things about the leadership team at the mall is their vision. They’re always looking forward, always planning. And it shows. I’ve no doubt that the next 20 years will be as exciting as these past 20 years.”
Evidence of this can currently be found on the mall’s south side where construction on a 500-room Radisson Blu hotel is underway. New tenants are also expected to move into the former Bloomingdale’s location in the near future. And plans are in place for late 2013 expansion toward American Boulevard to the north where an additional 200,000 square feet of retail space, a second hotel and a medical wellness center will be added.
Mueller went on, “We’re really proud of our work at MOA. We’re proud to be a partner of theirs and feel we’ve been able to play a role in their continued success. Our hope is to be able to continue working with them long into the future.”