Asia Mall bustled with customers during its first weekend open to the public.
Apparently, as one city official quipped, too many people were excited about it. The long awaited opening of the mall caused weekend traffic jams in and out of its parking lot along Technology Drive.
The 100,000-square-foot project, an Asian-themed mix of grocery, restaurant, retail, and office uses in the former Gander Mountain building at 12160 Technology Drive, east of Costco, opened its doors on Nov. 10. With 75% of the space leased, owners described Nov. 10-19 as a “soft opening” for the mall, which limits occupancy.
“It’s been crazy busy,” said co-owner Amor Zhao on Monday.
In a Monday statement, the Eden Prairie Police Department said it assigned extra resources and worked with Asia Mall management over the weekend to help with parking and traffic challenges on Technology Drive due to a larger-than-expected response to the mall’s opening.
The department is partnering with mall management to “develop a better plan for how they can best accommodate parking going forward to ensure the safety of the public,” the statement added.
In a Facebook post, the mall announced that it had extended its soft opening phase, though it does not say for how long. The post thanked patrons for the “immense support of Asia Mall” through the soft opening.
Approved in August 2021 by the City of Eden Prairie, it’s been a long and tough process to open the mall. Zhao has said that supply-chain problems slowed down the project.
“We want to reiterate that through our soft opening phase, just like any new establishment — we are learning to navigate through any arising issues and identify where we can make improvements,” the post stated.
Mall officials acknowledged that “we’ve been extremely overwhelmed with visitors.” The support, the post stated, has exceeded their expectations and “we appreciate your patience” while tenants work through staffing issues and other operational details.
“As an organization we have made the decision to extend our soft opening phase until we feel better prepared for the grand opening,” the posting stated. “This will be beneficial to improve our process for your future visit to the Asia Mall. We are diligently working with the city officials of Eden Prairie to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience.”
Eden Prairie resident, dad and foodie Rob Barrett was at Asia Mall this weekend. Barrett is host and producer of Cooking for Dads, a longstanding series of how-to-cook videos on his YouTube channel.
He posted about his experience (including the traffic) on Twitter.
“We’re so excited to have an Asian grocery store in Eden Prairie,” Barrett said. “A lot of the restaurants look really promising but we’ll have to wait for things to settle down to check them out.”
Pat MulQueeny, president of the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, praised the mall. He and other local officials got a sneak peak at the mall during a ribbon-cutting ceremony there on Nov. 9.
The mall is anchored by nearly 40,000-square-feet of grocery space, the Asian Mart, on the main floor. But the enclosed mall includes full-service restaurants, small-scale retail, a food court, and more – some of it on a greatly expanded mezzanine. The mall features foods from throughout Asia, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and Taiwan.
“It has been a while for us to see this much excitement about a business opening in Eden Prairie,” he said last week. “The stores and restaurants in the Asia Mall have already generated a huge following and fan base and we expect that this will draw many more shoppers to Eden Prairie.”
In a Facebook post, Mayor Ron Case said being part of the ribbon-cutting grand opening had to be one of the highlights of his 26 years on the Eden Prairie City Council. “Eden Prairie welcomes with open arms our newest addition to our retail lineup: Minnesota’s one and only, Asia Mall!,” Case wrote.
Those planning a visit to Asia Mall during the soft opening phase are asked to register beforehand. Information can be found in this Facebook message posted Tuesday (below) by Asia Mall.
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