Lenders take control of stalled Xanadu project
East Rutherford, N.J. The controversial and long-delayed Xanadu entertainment and retail complex in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., may have yet another chance at revival.
A consortium of five lenders that hold the secured debt on Xanadu announced Tuesday that they will acquire control of the project from the previous ownership group in order to facilitate its completion.
The group said it is in negotiations with several entertainment and retail operators; the selected company will be charged with refinishing the widely criticized exterior of the building and implementing a full re-branding campaign for the project.
“The transfer of control of this complex to the Lender Group is consistent with Governor Christie and Commission Chair Jon Hanson’s commitment to realizing the original promise of this project as a world-class facility and economic driver for Bergen County and the entire State,” said Michael Beckerman, spokesperson for the Lender Group. “This action creates a strong foundation to effect the seamless transfer of ownership in order to complete this project as quickly as possible so that it is open and flourishing as an established visitor destination in advance of the 2014 Super Bowl.”
Xanadu’s opening is expected to generate thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in sales and payroll taxes for New Jersey, as well as significant revenue for municipalities in Bergen County through the PILOT program.
Splashdown in Santa Monica
The opening of the newly redeveloped Santa Monica Place, in Santa Monica, Calif., on Aug. 6, is noteworthy on several levels, not the least being that it marks the debut of the most ambitious shopping center in some time. In fact, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, it is the only major mall to debut in the United States this year.
Locally based Macerich Co., which bought the Frank Gehry-designed mall in 1999 from what was then The Rouse Co., has transformed the aging, enclosed circa-1980 mall into a three-level, open-air study in modernity with views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Mountains and Santa Monica Pier. (The property closed in January 2008 as it embarked on its 30-month reinvention.)
Macerich not only redid the center, which connects with the Third Street Promenade and downtown Santa Monica, but also significantly changed its tenant base, signing on an upscale tenant line that includes Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Barneys Co-op, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Tory Burch, Coach, and Michael Kors.
Open-air walkways and public gathering spaces augment the 524,000-sq.-ft. space, which also features a third-level rooftop Dining Deck that incorporates — besides both ocean and city views — chef-driven restaurant concepts, fast-casual eateries and The Market, a collection of artisanal, gourmet and organic food purveyors. The custom-designed furnishings, a large-scale fireplace and a signature olive tree accent the Dining Deck space.
The first-level Plaza provides cafe tables and a crescent-shaped fountain in an urban plaza-like setting reminiscent of those found in European cities.
Landscaping throughout the reborn Santa Monica Place is distinctive, from the seashells and mother of pearl in the paving to an urban kelp garden and sculptural dragon trees.
The Jerde Partnership, Venice, Calif., is the design architect for the project, which was created via the adaptive re-use of the former enclosed mall structure. The executive architect is Omniplan, out of Dallas.
Publix testing out ‘Curbside’ delivery service
Lakeland , Fla. Publix announced that it is testing its Publix Curbside online grocery ordering and at-store pickup service at one Atlanta and one Tampa, Fla. store in the near future.
According to the company, customers can visit www.publix.com/curbside to place their orders and select their desired pickup location. No minimum order amount is required and a $7.99 service fee per Curbside order will be added to the total. As an introductory offer, the $7.99 service fee is waived for first time users, the company said.
“As we continue to provide our customers with the service they have grown to expect, we need to provide new and more advanced ways to meet the needs of their growing and changing families,” said Maria Brous, Publix director media and community relations. “Publix Curbside is a natural extension of our service commitment, especially for time-starved families.”