'American Dream' expected to open in 2019
Former Xanadu mall/recreation complex will affect other towns
by Hannington Dia
Reporter Staff Writer
Aug 06, 2017 | 2744 views | 0 0 comments | 287 287 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A rendering of the finished American Dream mega mall project in East Rutherford.
A rendering of the finished American Dream mega mall project in East Rutherford.
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The heavily-delayed “American Dream” project in East Rutherford – a recreational/retail complex on Route 3, formerly known as “Xanadu” -- may have acquired enough construction financing to open in March 2019, according to developer Triple Five. But in Secaucus, a critical travel point to the site, traffic could become a problem after the mall finally becomes a reality, according to Mayor Michael Gonnelli.

“We really don't have much to say as far as the project goes, but it really affects us, traffic wise,” Gonnelli said.

The project is set to have over 450 different retailers, restaurants and services, over a leasable area of 2.9 million square feet. American Dream will feature a 300,000 square foot Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and what is said to be the world’s largest indoor DreamWorks Waterpark, at 225,000 square feet.

Other amenities will include an indoor ski slope, Ferris wheel, NHL-sized ice rink, and a 1,400 seat movie theater.

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“We really don't have much to say as far as the project goes, but it really affects us, traffic wise.” – Michael Gonnelli

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Gonnelli is concerned about traffic partly because after Giants games at the Meadowlands Sports Complex—where the mega mall will be located—thousands of attendees drive back to New York City through Hudson County, or use the NJ Transit Meadowlands rail line that connects to the Secaucus Junction station. Once the project opens, traffic in that area could worsen.

“That's going to have to be addressed from our end,” Gonnelli said. He added that even though Bergen County has the so-called “Blue Laws” that closes most stores in that county on Sundays, “it will still leave all the other places open, restaurants and other things like that. For us, traffic's the biggest issue. The traffic coming back to New York City is horrible. We're going to be addressing traffic with the [New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority].”

“When you come across the Hackensack River Bridge on a rush hour morning, you can be backed up for miles. It's something we're really concerned about.”

Triple Five, the developer for American Dream, recently announced that both Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have sold $1.1 billion in tax-exempt bonds to fully finance the project. This announcement came one month after Triple Five closed a $1.67 billion construction loan provided by Sachs and Morgan.

The project has faced multiple delays since it was first proposed in 2003, due to numerous financing issues, construction delays, and legal challenges.

Businesses and restaurants that have signed with American Dream in recent years include Lucky Strike Entertainment’s “For The Win” gastropub, Century 21, European retailer Primark, and Microsoft.

Hannington Dia can be reached at hd@hudsonreporter.com

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