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Plaza Las Américas

Plaza Las Américas is a shopping mall in Hato Rey, San Juan, Puerto Rico, located at the intersection of Routes 18 and 22. "Plaza", as it is known to many Puerto Ricans, was the first indoor shopping mall built in Puerto Rico.[3] It is the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean and the second largest in Latin America.[3]. Anchor stores are JCPenney, Macy's, Sears, Sears Brand Central, Forever 21, Old Navy, Caribbean Cinemas and Marshalls.

Plaza Las Américas
Plaza Las Américas logo
Plaza Las Américas (01).jpg
LocationSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Coordinates18°25′19″N 66°4′28″W / 18.42194°N 66.07444°W / 18.42194; -66.07444Coordinates: 18°25′19″N 66°4′28″W / 18.42194°N 66.07444°W / 18.42194; -66.07444
Opening dateSeptember 3, 1968
DeveloperEmpresas Fonalledas, Inc.
ManagementFranklin Domenech[1]
OwnerPlaza Las Américas, Inc[2]
Empresas Fonalledas, Inc.
No. of stores and services300+
No. of anchor tenants7
Total retail floor area2.228 million ft² (2.374 million ft² including office building)
No. of floors3 of shopping mall
12 of office bldg. ("La Torre")
Parking11,300+ (approx.)


In 1918, brothers Jerónimo, Rosa, Gerardo and Jaime Fonalledas acquired 527 acres (2.13 km2) of land previously known as "Las Monjas". This land was property of Don Pablo Ubarri Capetillo, the Count of Santurce.[4] By 1920, little by little cane harvesting was eliminated with the intention of using the land for the creation of a milk company, eventually known as "Vaquería Tres Monjitas".[4] In 1950, the metropolitan area of San Juan was growing rapidly. The planning board began to build the project and ordered the development of the lands. It is then that the Fonalledas brothers came up with the idea of establishing a regional shopping center in the "Las Monjas" property.[4] The planning board included a space of 15 acres of land for a shopping center in its development plan.[4] In 1962, the plans for the construction of a shopping center and the negotiations with tenants began.[4] In April 1967, construction of Plaza Las Américas began under the direction of engineer Peter Jacobson.[4] On September 3, 1968, Plaza Las Américas held its grand opening. It was the first enclosed shopping center in Puerto Rico and the largest in Latin America at the time.[3] The project was inaugurated with a total of 79 establishments, a twin cinema and parking for 4,000 vehicles.[3] One hundred percent of the space was rented and nearly 2,000 people were employed in the new mall.[3] The primary anchor store was a three-level (261,500 square foot) J. C. Penney. It was the chain's first location outside the fifty states and its largest operation between 1968 and 1971.[5] The mall also housed two San Juan-based department stores as its second and third anchors: a two-level (76,500 square foot) González Padín and (22,000 square foot) Velasco. Inline stores included Martha Washington Ice Cream, Gordon's Jewelers, Florsheim Shoes, La Esquina Famosa (men's clothing), Bakers (shoes), Zales, Clubman, Marianne Shops, Singer Sewing Center, Lerner Shops, Thom McAn, La Favorita and First Federal Savings Bank, along with an F. W. Woolworth Company, Farmacias González (pharmacy), La Cosa (curios), La Tienda Sin Nombre (shoes), Benny's Toys, Pueblo Supermarket, a barbershop, a travel agency and a full-sized hardware store. A small section had a second floor where medical and business offices were accessible. The following year, the architectural design of Plaza Las Américas won the URBE Award for Best Commercial Architecture[6]

In 1979, the first expansion of the shopping center was completed. Fifty-five new stores were added in a three-level North Wing. This was anchored by a 3-level (329,000 square foot) Sears. The "Terraza de Plaza", the first food court to be established in the island, comprises the third level of the addition, along with three additional movie theater halls, nicknamed Plaza III, Plaza IV, and Plaza V. In 1992, the new development plan for the second great expansion of Plaza Las Americas is published. In 1994, the expansion of Plaza Las Américas and also the remodeling of "La Terraza" were completed. The number of restaurants was increased from 19 to 24 and the movie theater halls from 5 to 10. The construction of the "Torre de Plaza" is finished at a cost of $15 million.[4] The Tower added 146,000 square feet (13,600 m2) of profitable space to the shopping center. In 1996, Plaza Las Americas announced its largest expansion and remodeling at a cost of more than $246 million. In 1997, the advertising campaign of Plaza Las Américas ("Menos mal que está Plaza") is awarded the Maxi Award which is granted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The following year, the first phase of the center's three-year-long expansion and renovation is dedicated. This consists of a newly built four-level (350,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, replacing the three-level store that had opened at the mall in 1968. The new Penney's at Plaza Las Américas is the chain's largest store. The original location was subdivided into new retail spaces. In 1999, the overpass bridge on the De Diego Expressway was inaugurated, offering better access to the shopping center.

In 2000, the remodeling and expansion of the shopping center was completed, offering a new facade and a total of 2,100,000 square feet (200,000 m2), occupied by over 300 stores. A three-level (255,000 square foot) Macy’s opened as the third anchor of the shopping center on October 25, making it the chain's first location outside the fifty states. Local movie theater chain Caribbean Cinemas opened a thirteen-screen movie theater and is the busiest and highest-grossing of the entire chain. A concept of "public" art was created in the shopping center, which includes pieces by local artists. In 2012, Plaza Las Américas invested $12 million in remodeling the mall's north entrance facade. The remodeling work began on May 23, 2012 and was completed by mid November 2012, just before the holiday season. In addition, between July–August 2012, expansion began on the multistory parking, located in the southern area of the mall. The expansion extended the five floors of multistory to add over 300 parking spaces. All parking areas of the mall were also repaved while new landscape gardens designs where developed in front of the main entrance.[1] On August 28, 2013, Plaza opened the first ever Cheesecake Factory in Puerto Rico. Sports Authority opened up in mid-2014 which included an expansion of parking spaces. It closed in 2016 after the company declared bankruptcy and was converted to Marshalls in February 2018, according to El Nuevo Dia. Also, in early 2018, a Red Lobster restaurant opened. In September 2018, the mall celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Notable attributes at Plaza las AméricasEdit

The Caribbean Cinemas and mall entrance on the second floor
  • It is the largest shopping center in the Caribbean.[7]
  • Plaza's Macy's was the first one to open in the Caribbean.[8]
  • Plaza's Chili's is the highest grossing in the world.[9]
  • It has the world's largest Romano's Macaroni Grill restaurant.[10][11]
  • It houses the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant in the Caribbean, officially opened on August 28, 2013.[12][13]
  • Sports Authority became the sixth largest anchor store, first opened up in mid-2014, followed by an expansion of parking spaces. It closed in 2016 after the company declared bankruptcy and was replaced by a Marshalls in February 2018.

Stores closed in 2019Edit

Coming soonEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Marian Díaz (2012-05-23). "Plaza Las Américas remodelará su fachada". GFR Media Group. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  2. ^ Preguntas Frecuentes - Plaza Las Americas
  3. ^ a b c d e "Our History". Empresas Fonalledas, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Un Imperio Llamado Fonalledas". GFR Media Group. 2008-09-07. Archived from the original on 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  5. ^ "Leasing Space at PLAZA- The Stores". Empresas Fonalledas, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Brenda Vázquez (2012-06-19). "El éxito detrás de Chilis y Macaroni Grill". YastaPR. Archived from the original on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  10. ^ Llega a Ponce Romano’s Macaroni Grill -
  11. ^ "Romano's Macaroni Grill en Plaza Las Americas". GFR Media Group. 2004-11-23. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  12. ^ The Cheesecake Factory abrirá en Plaza Las Américas en el 2013 - Plaza Las
  13. ^ The Cheesecake Factory abre antes de lo previsto - El nuevo Dí

External linksEdit