While the state grapples with the fate of the Meadowlands region's money-losing horse racing industry, billionaire real estate tycoon Stephen Ross is considering taking a gamble on the stalled Xanadu project. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) confirmed at its Feb. 3 meeting that Ross is negotiating with Xanadu developer Colony Capital, as well as New Jersey officials, to partner in the troubled project.
Although dramatic changes to the troubled $2 billion entertainment and retail center are doubtful, NJSEA Chairman Carl J. Goldberg said that the color scheme and name might change. Goldberg confirmed that the NJSEA met with the Miami Dolphins owner Friday. "It's not a deal that is consummated, but negotiations appear to us that the Related Companies (Ross's company) is inclined to complete the project, which is consistent to what Colony would do at the outset," he said. "They will announce a date for finishing construction and are likely to rename, re-launch and remarket it. We're cautiously optimistic."
Xanadu began with a developer's agreement in 2003. A 75-year lease of the site was approved in 2004 for Mills Corp. In 2006, Colony Capital took over the project for Mills Corps. The interior retail space has been constructed. Entertainment areas include an indoor ski slope and a giant Pepsi Ferris wheel, which has been scaled back. The project is estimated to be $500 million from completion.
Goldberg added that the NJSEA has been keeping Governor Chris Christie's office updated regarding Xanadu on a daily basis. Christie has called Xanadu a "failed business model." Added $20 million annual revenue losses from the racetrack have exacerbated the area's economic woes.
But Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Kirkos sees a brighter future. He sent a letter to Christie's office outlining the importance of Xanadu, the IZOD Center and the new Giants Stadium. "There's no greater economic engine in the area," Kirkos reiterated in a phone interview after the meeting. Kirkos expressed enthusiasm that Gov. Christie's newly-formed, seven-member New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission, headed by former NJSEA chairman Jon Hanson, would see Xanadu's importance as a component of the Meadowlands sports complex. "When you think about the sports complex 25 years ago, we're at this rebirth in time," Kirkos said. "We supported the Sports Authority when it reinvented itself. We supported the idea of redeveloping the sports complex (arena), which eventually turned out to be Xanadu. We're still bullish as to what an open Xanadu will do for the region." Regardless, he said research shows the project would provide jobs, support services and new money coming into the region. "That's why we remain consistent (in supporting the project)," he said. Although Xanadu has seen plenty of public backlash and is in a "stagnant stage," Kirkos said the key is to get an opening date. "The anti-Xanadu stuff is really anti-EnCap," he said, referring to the failed landfills-to-golf-course-and-housing scandal. "We should do all we can to maximize what the sports complex can represent so we ensure the taxpayer is not subsidizing anything."
Redd's Restaurant owner Doug Palsi said business has been better in the past than it is now. He looks forward to Xanadu's construction to resume and the new stadium to be built. "We're hanging in there," he said. "This is the slowest time of the year…January and February. Nobody has the extra money to go out. What helps us is construction…once they start building again. We're looking forward to it, not only for more traffic, which brings in more business, but more employees coming in for a drink after work. We're viewed as a Meadowlands destination. If you're going to a football game, you'll say, 'let's stop in at Redd's first.'"
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
So, it seems that the developers who run the Mall of America have come on board to ressurect the so-far failed Meadowlands Mall Project. So does that mean we will see more entertainment additions or coasters? It seems that they are thinking about redesigning the mall's concept and making changes, but what will happen to the first indoor ski slope in the US? I would love to see it succeed and maybe spawn others in other major markets. Here's an article that explains more: http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/local_news/new_jersey/mall-of-america-developers-to-rescue-xanadu-20101223-lgf
The developers of the famed Mall of America are stepping in to try and finish the troubled Xanadu project at the Meadowlands.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that Triple Five has signed a letter of intent to restart the stalled project.
Governor Chris Christie said in a statement, "This administration fully supports the progress being made and will be a true partner at every step in transforming the Meadowlands from a financial and economic drain into a vibrant destination so that New Jerseyans can begin to reap the benefits of the job creation and much-needed tax revenues this project will provide."
The administration hopes that the complex generates thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue. The original developers ran out of money more than a year ago and the project has not moved forward.
Triple Five owns and operates most of the non-retail venues in its shopping centers, including amusement parks, hockey rinks, hotels and more.
The original plans called for a huge mall and entertainment complex, including an indoor ski slope. Triple Five won't release its exact plans for the site until next year.
Rebranded, American Dream Meadowlands to open in 2013 Tuesday, May 3, 2011 BY KELLY NICHOLAIDES
East Rutherford - Marketed as the world class destination choice for entertainment, amusement parks, dining, recreation, tourism and shopping, American Dream Meadowlands, the rebranded Xanadu project, is slated to be the region's economic engine, serving 50 million people annually, officials said.
In the new plans by Triple Five for American Dream Meadowlands, the much hated Xanadu exterior will be transformed, but the mall, when done in 2013, will be much larger than the original scope.
Governor Chris Christie held a press conference along with Canada-based Triple Five, owned by the Ghermezian family, the Lending Group and Christie's adviser Jon Hanson, at the construction site to announce that Triple Five will invest approximately $1.5 billion to complete the project by 2013.
"This is going to become what it was envisioned to be: an extraordinary destination," said Christie. "It's getting a makeover, a new name, a new image...and we'll make sure the sales tax revenue comes back to make this a successful project, get our investment back with responsible partners that we can trust. This partnership is a critical sign that New Jersey is making a comeback."
The Christie Administration is offering approximately $200 million in financing, which is still being finalized. Triple Five will use sales tax revenue generated to repay the loan, officials said. Triple Five Chairman Nader Ghermezian said the project pales in comparison to the developer's other projects, including Mall of America and Alberta, Canada.
"How would you like to take a walk to Hawaii? We'll have an indoor water park with six-foot waves, 85 degree temperatures, 365 days a year," said Nader Ghermezian. "How would you like to go skiing in the middle of summer? Come here instead of going to Aspen. You don't have to go to Rome, Paris or Milan for shopping."
Senior Vice President Paul Ghermezian said that his family, of Persian descent, came to the United States in the 1970s for the American Dream, and so Triple Five felt that would be a befitting name for the rebranded project.
"We came here looking for the American Dream. We want to share it with everybody. This is the center of the world," Ghermezian said.
He gave the media a tour of parts of the more than 3 million square feet of interior. A top floor outdoor movie theater features a view of the New York City skyline. Below, an enclosed water park will be constructed. A 3,000 seat performing arts theater would be the next stop. A central, Vegas-style grand canopy entrance would be constructed outside the Izod Center. An indoor ski slope will feature one large and one bunny-style slope. A high-end shopping wing features runway style lighting that transforms from pink to green, blue and purple. The indoor ice rink with chandelier will rival Rockefeller Center, and offer a clear vision of all three floors, he said.
Above all, the ugly exterior will be covered with sleek and sophisticated design.
The project is expected to create 9,000 construction jobs over two years, and approximately 35,000 permanent jobs and $3.8 billion annually in area revenues once the doors open.
As usual, my analysis is free of charge! Original enough to not steal someone else's quote as a signature
I'm not a fan of the name as it sounds incredibly trite. I'm all for patriotism, but "American Dream" as the name of the mall just sounds horrible. Then again, we are a materialistic culture, so I guess it makes sense it that sense. I wasn't a fan of the name "Xanadu", but at least that was unique. Hell, I'd take Medowlands Center or Mall of/at the Meadowlands.
I really like the new theme park that is going to get built. The architecture of the addition looks great, and it looks like something you'd find in Europe, Dubai, or China, not America.
I never even heard of this place until last Thursday and it sounded pretty cool. Now that they've finally revealed what they plan on doing, I'm very interested in seeing this place once (and if) its completed.
^It doesn't look like the Minneapolis slyline in the background.
Airtime&Gravity wrote:I'm not a fan of the name as it sounds incredibly trite. I'm all for patriotism, but "American Dream" as the name of the mall just sounds horrible. Then again, we are a materialistic culture, so I guess it makes sense it that sense.
Did you read the article? I'm guessing not! If you did you would know that the name is not coming from a materialistic and jingoist American, but a foreigner of Middle Eastern descent.
Last edited by larrygator on Tue May 03, 2011 9:37 pm.
As usual, my analysis is free of charge! Original enough to not steal someone else's quote as a signature
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