40th Anniversary of Plaza Las Americas

This year, the mecca for mass consumerism, Plaza Las Americas will celebrate its 40th anniversary. As part of their ongoing celebration, the shopping mall has announced the opening of two new stores. Pottery Barn and West Elm, both of which specialize in the sale of articles for home decoration, are both scheduled to open during April.

Plaza Las Americas was inaugurated on September 12th, 1968. At that time the shopping center contained 78 stores covering 800,000 square feet of retail space. It also provided employment for some 2,000 people. Interestingly, of those original 79 establishments, only eight remain: Gordon's Florsheim, La Esquina Famosa, Bakers, Clubman, Marianne, La Favorita, and Firstbank.

Now, after countless expansions, Plaza has almost tripled in size and more than tripled in the number of establishments. Today, Plaza has over 300 stores and 2.1 million square feet. And in terms of employment, the shopping center has exploded and now provides over 10,000 jobs. Of course, most of those are minimum wage positions.

And while it seems that half of Puerto Rico goes to Plaza during the holidays, the actual amount of traffic has only grown slightly in the forty years they have been open. According to Iris Ayala, Marketing Director for Plaza Las Americas, the estimated traffic in 1968 was 35,000 daily. While this has grown to only 55,000 daily visitors today.

Plaza has many special activities planned to commemorate this anniversary and will host a huge celebration on September 12th. While details have not been announced they plan on having live music, drawings for prizes, and fireworks in the parking lot. The estimated cost of the anniversary celebration is $250,000.