The Mall of America, which was the biggest indoor mall in the country when it opened in 1992, plans to expand to more than double its size, according to

The mall, which is currently the third-largest mall by retail square footage, will add a 6000-seat music theater, hotels and an ice rink, as well as new stores. The US$1.78 billion project includes a Bass Pro Shops outdoor retailer, and would connect the mall to the nearby IKEA store.

Mall officials asked state lawmakers to pay for a US$181 million parking structure and for a sales tax exemption for construction materials used in the expansion. The mall is aiming to finish the project by 2011.

According to the Directory of Major Malls, the Eastwood Mall Complex in Ohio is the largest mall in the country with 3.2 million sqft, and the second largest is the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, at slightly less than 2.8 million sqft. The Mall of America has just 25,000 sqft less than the King of Prussia Mall, and the addition would add about 1.1 million leasable sqft.

Mall officials said the expansion would bring in $51.7 million a year in sales taxes for the state. The project already has the approval of the city of Bloomington, the Minneapolis suburb where the mall is located.