Hudson County residents are accustomed to driving past the partly completed American Dream (formerly Xanadu) project off Route 3, and to wondering if the recreation/retail complex will ever be finished.
The East Rutherford structure can be seen from areas such as 91st Street in North Bergen.
First proposed in 2003, the complex hit economic bumps and changed developers over the years.
But Debbie Patrie, a spokeswoman for the project’s developer, Triple Five, recently told the media that American Dream is on target to open in March 2019.
Not just a mall
The project bills itself as much more than a simple mall like The Mall of America (which was also a Triple Five project). According to the American Dream website, future visitors can expect an 8.5-acre Nickelodeon Universe theme park, the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere.
It will feature two “record-breaking” roller coasters: the Euro Fighter, which has the world’s record for the steepest roller coaster; and the Spinning Coaster, which will hold a record for the tallest and longest free spinning roller coaster on earth.
American Dream will also feature North America’s first indoor ski and snowboard park—BIG SNOW America—which will stand 12 stories tall and span over 180,000 square feet. More recreation will come in the form of a Ferris wheel, NHL-sized ice rink, and a 1,400 seat movie theater.
Over 450 different retailers have signed on to American Dream, including Century 21, European Primark, and Microsoft.
The “American Dream” mega mall/rec complex is on track to open next March.
Phil Swibinski, a spokesman for North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, said the town is not concerned about potential traffic issues.
But nearby, Secaucus is being more circumspect. The former “Xanadu” project is next to MetLife Stadium, which brings considerable traffic to that area after Giants games. Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli has called traffic the “biggest issue” facing Secaucus from the project. He also mentioned the town would be in talks with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority regarding the potential problem.
Triple Five took over the project in 2011 and announced last year that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan had 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.
Before that, the project was being developed by Colony Capital.
Hannington Dia can be reached at email@example.com