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Workers at Osan Air Base in South Korea are building what will become the biggest shopping mall on any U.S. military installation in Korea. The $24 million mall is set to open next fall.
Workers at Osan Air Base in South Korea are building what will become the biggest shopping mall on any U.S. military installation in Korea. The $24 million mall is set to open next fall. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — What’s to be the biggest shopping mall on any U.S. military installation in South Korea is under construction here and set to open in 2004.

The new one-story mall will house a base exchange twice the size of the post exchange at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, large food court, shoppette with 22 separate businesses, bank, military clothing sales store, car sales business, new post office and outdoor parking lot, said H. Lee Holloway, AAFES central exchange manager in Korea.

The $24 million project is in line with the U.S. military’s plans to establish a major hub in the area of Pyongtaek City, which takes in both this base and the Army’s Camp Humphreys.

The military has announced plans to shift thousands of troops into the region in the coming years, including most of those currently stationed at Yongsan.

“Osan is going to be the flagship base and therefore will have the largest shopping mall on the peninsula,” said Holloway.

Construction began in April and is to finish sometime around September 2004. The Krima Construction Corp. in Seoul is building the mall under contract with the U.S. military. The mall will occupy 170,000 square feet.

The BX portion will take up 56,000 square feet, roughly three times the size of the existing 17,000-square-foot Osan BX, Holloway said.

Starting next spring, the existing Community Bank branch and the military clothing sales store will be demolished and the land used for part of the new mall. Crews also will tear down the existing mini-mall, which houses the bookstore, barbershop, Ohop restaurant, and numerous other businesses. That parcel will become the 140-space parking lot for the new mall, Holloway said.

“The community desires a one-stop shopping facility,” said Holloway. “Before this ... all of our AAFES activities were spread out over ten different buildings all over Osan Air Base.”

Base spokesman 1st Lt. Tom Montgomery said, “It’s a great way to improve the quality of life for our airmen who work so hard overseas, here in Korea.

“The new mall is centrally located and it’s going to have one-stop shop for a lot of the items” that airmen need at Osan.

“It’s part of improving the Osan infrastructure overall, which includes new dorms, new family housing, the new gym, and the mall.”

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