Entrepreneur Credits Trade Missions for Advancing Albertville Project

Mall of Entertainment Project Will Create 2,000 Jobs

A partner in the $115 million Mall of Entertainment project in Albertville says relationships that he built on three Minnesota trade missions were instrumental in helping to make the project a reality.

Minnetonka businessman Kevin Hanson participated in trade missions led by Gov. Mark Dayton to China in 2012; Germany, Sweden and Norway in 2013; and Mexico in 2015.

Hanson says his association with the trade missions and the governor gave him the credibility and support that he needed to find investors and finalize a dream team of partners for the Albertville project.

Gov. Dayton expressed support for the project, saying, “This is a good project for construction jobs, for permanent jobs and for family entertainment. I am pleased to learn that the state’s trade missions helped establish and build the relationships that will make this project a reality.”

“All of this would not have been possible without the governor’s support,” Hanson added. “The relationship with the state of Minnesota has been very synergistic.”

The 300,000-square-foot Mall of Entertainment project will include a high-tech, interactive and virtual reality experience featuring themed attractions based on films produced by Sony Pictures. Visitors will be able to participate in activities related to hit Sony movies such as “Ghostbusters,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “Hotel Transylvania.”

A 275-room Marriott Hotel and convention center, 50,000-square-foot water park and other entertainment attractions also are planned.

The project will be co-developed by Sony Pictures Consumer Products and a group called Black Forest LLC, which includes Los Angeles-based iP2Entertainment along with Hanson and other business partners. Hanson said International Creative Capital is the finance arm of the project.

Hanson said the Mall of Entertainment will create more than 2,000 jobs, including construction jobs. Officials expect to break ground this summer and open the complex in late 2017.