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05/22/2017

Long-delayed megamall inches closer to reality with new financing

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American Dream, the long-stalled retail, dining and entertainment destination in New Jersey, has a new opening date — and some badly needed new funding.

Triple Five Group of Companies, owners and operators of Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall, announced that it has closed on $1.67 billion private construction financing for American Dream. The project, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and close to Manhattan, is now slated to open in March 2019.

"We are pleased to have worked with J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs on the financing for this transformational project. The construction loan paves the way for the completion of American Dream, and allows us to aggressively move forward with the construction and opening of the project," said Don Ghermezian, president and CEO, American Dream.

American Dream, formerly known as Xanadu, broke ground more 12 years ago, but its construction was never completed, delayed by various problems, including bankruptcies, lawsuits and financing difficulties. In 2011, Canadian developer Triple Five Group officially took over control of the project and rebranded it as American Dream.

The developer has signed up an impressive list of entertainment attractions for the project, including DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, Big Snow Indoor Ski & Snowboard Park, a 1,350-seat live-performance Cirque Du Soleil theater, Sea Life Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center, Kidzania, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and an NHL-size ice rink. The project will also feature an expensive lineup of department stores and specialty retailers, ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue to Hermès, along with an assortment of restaurants.

The new financing deal announced by Triple Five is expected to set the for a billion-dollar bond issuance that would provide the rest of the funding for the 2.9 million-sq-ft. first phase of the project, according to northjersey.com.

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