Real life, however, doesn’t work like that. Just go to Dongguan, China, where you’ll find the perfect piece of evidence: The New South China Mall. Built in 2005, the mall is the largest by leasable area and the second largest (after the Dubai Mall) in total area in the world. But currently — and since its opening — the New South China Mall has been 99% vacant.
Featuring a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, Venetian-styled canals, amusement park rides, a huge KFC (really), and a TeleTubbies attraction, the mall is an exercise in excesses. It’s fatal downfall, though, is not its outlandish amenities. Nope: the problem is its location. While the Dongguan region is home to 10 million Chinese, the mall is out in the suburbs and therefore not accessible by foot. And the mall is not, relatively speaking, close to a highway or public transportation.
So for now, few if any are taking gondolas to see Teletubbies while eating fried chicken.
From the Archives: The Little Field of Dreams: A mini-Fenway Park — big enough for a wiffle ball game.