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The numbers and sheer size are staggering.

Thirty-one mall-style shops. A hotel with 350 rooms. The largest Army and Air Force Exchange Service base exchange in the world. Parking with 2,800 spaces. Four movie theaters with a combined 500 seats. A massive climbing wall. A food court with 10 selections and seating for 1,000.

If the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center nearing completion on Ramstein Air Base looks gigantic from the outside, it feels even bigger on the inside.

For starters, try to picture an AAFES main store larger than the Ramstein and Vogelweh base exchanges plus the Vogelweh PowerZone and furniture mart combined and spread over one story. The store will be two and a half times larger than either the Grafenwöhr or Stuttgart post exchanges, currently the largest in Germany, according to Stephanie Burns, the KMCC store manager.

The consolidated Kaiserslautern-area stores will eventually close, Burns said. To compensate for the closure of the Vogelweh stores, more items will be added to the Pulaski shoppette, she said.

AAFES officials plan to maximize the 165,000 square feet of floor space in the KMCC mall with added inventory and a number of what they call "concept" shop areas contained within the exchange, Burns said. Those include Nintendo, Victoria’s Secret, American Greetings, Bose, Apple, S. Oliver, Coach and Martha Stewart.

AAFES will also run a shoppette, a bookstore with coffee and a giftware/jewelry shop in the mall.

"It gives the customers the feel of home," Burns said. Customers "don’t have to drive across two bases to get what they need. Now it’s all in one shop."

Outdoor Recreation, with its state-of-the art climbing wall, will also be in the mall. Other mall offerings include a sports lounge with 20 flat-screen televisions, passenger terminal information screens and wireless connectivity; Ramstein Tickets and Travel; a Macaroni Grill; a German bakery in the hotel lobby; a host nation office providing information on local events; New Car Sales; car rental; and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and retail store.

Other shops and products include a day spa, Body Shop, Hofbrauhaus, Kathe Wohlfahrt, Willi Geck, antique furniture, Belgian chocolates, European rugs, barber and beauty shops and an optical shop.

Food court highlights include a Johnny Rocket’s, the first for AAFES, and a Captain D’s, the first for AAFES in Europe, Burns said.

Military officials expect to hire close to 700 U.S. and local national employees for full- and part-time jobs at the hotel and mall.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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