The chronically-delayed $5 billion American Dream megamall complex on Route 3 in East Rutherford is set to open next April, according to project managers.
At a press conference at the site in late August, which included Gov. Phil Murphy, officials gave numerous updates on the project. According to Tony Amrlin, the senior vice president of development and construction for project developer Triple Five, American Dream is 68 percent completed. Upon opening, it will employ 23,000 people – 16 to 17,000 on site, and six to 7,000 off-site.
Over a 20 year period, American Dream could generate $3.5 billion in revenue for the state and local economies in taxes. When it opens, the project hopes to attract 40 million visitors annually.
The American Dream megamall and entertainment complex in East Rutherford is set to open in April of 2019, officials say.
Not just a mall
When the three million square foot complex opens, visitors will be able to do much more than just shop. American Dream will feature Big Snow America, the first indoor ski and snowboard park in the Western Hemisphere. The 180,000 square-foot park will feature an 800-foot ski slope reaching 16 stories high and an ice climbing wall.
Ice skaters will be able to use an NHL regulation-sized year round ice skating rink as well. An eight acre, glass-domed, DreamWorks water park, and a same-sized Nickelodeon Universe Theme park, will be featured at the complex.
Lego enthusiasts will have access to a 35,000-square-foot Legoland discovery center. A 35,000 Sea Life aquarium has also been confirmed.
Those wanting to catch a flick will be able to do so at a 1,400 seat CMX luxury theater with dine-in cinemas with private viewing rooms, oversized seating, and special weather effects in sync with on-screen action. It will be the only CMX theater in the New York/North Jersey metropolitan area.
The American Dream Observation Wheel will offer visitors NYC views, being nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty. One revolution will take 25 minutes to finish.
The New Jersey Hall of Fame is also set to move into the space.
A spotty history
Though administrators are expressing confidence the project will open next year, skepticism is understandable.
The beleaguered endeavor, formerly known as Xanadu, has spiraled through different developers and delayed opening dates since first being introduced in 2003.
In 2011, Triple Five took over and began working on securing financing for the project. In 2016, they announced that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan had sold $1.1 billion in tax-exempt bonds to finance the project. That came a month after Triple Five closed on a $1.67 billion construction loan Sachs and Morgan provided.
Triple Five also built and manages the famed Mall of America in Minneapolis.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org