Veteran owners of Mall of America aim big with a New Jersey project that will redefine the scope of retail projects in the 21st century.
Retail center to boast an aquarium, "scented" theater, an indoor amusement park, a Kosher food court, and a ski hill.
Dubbed the American Dream Meadowlands, it offers the centuries-old American dream to the ill-fated Xanadu project: and transform “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America”—a statement attributed to Governor Chris Christie; to the ultimate “entertainment, shopping, and dining destination,” according to Debbie Patrie, SVP of Marketing for the center.
The project is currently in its 12th year, and Triple Five Group, the third developer since the inception of the project is enthusiastic about the impact the center would have. Triple Five Group is a veteran in the retail development industry renowned for its ownership of two choice retail locations — The Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall located in Minnesota and Canada respectively.
Debbie Patrie maintains that influential to the success of the project is to learn a thing or two from the “success of the West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America.” Particularly, how both malls put into perspective “the consumers and the future and what their habits are and how online shopping has evolved.” To this end, she posits that the project is not developed as a shopping center but “as a destination.”
Regardless of the designation, the 91-acre complex when complete will be a mega-connected complex of five sections. Natural sunlight will bathe much of the expanse many thanks to skylights and large windows; and complemented by the crisp, clean white walls anchoring the extensive space.
The “destination” will come alive with an array of plants, fresh flowers, and fountains on the inside to offer a cozy, inviting, and warm atmosphere come summertime 2017 when it opens.
By 2017, and 14 years since construction began, the project is estimated to cost about $5 billion, says Don Ghermezian, a principal with Triple Five Group. That is more than three times the cost and more than two times the construction span of building the Burj Khalifa—the tallest artificial structure in the world. Which clearly puts it as “the most expensive retail project on earth,” according to Ghermezian.
With a humongous price tag, and more than a decade running, Triple Five impresses that the wait will be worth it; owing to the project’s long list of impressive amenities.
First off, the project will be home to the biggest indoor waterpark, and the largest indoor amusement park in the entire North American continent. Entertainment bigwig Dreamworks SKG and their movie properties will be in charge of developing the indoor waterpark.
The 800-foot-long indoor ski hill will be unlike anything that the Western Hemisphere has ever seen, and will share its magnificence with a 300-foot-tall Ferris wheel that places Manhattan in your crosshairs with a truly unique, breathtaking view.
Its food hall alone will cover 150,000 square feet of space. It will feature the world’s first Kosher food court, 50 grab-and-go offerings, and 15 leading restaurant brands.
Moviegoers will welcome the future repeatedly with its Cinemex’s 1,400-seat dine-in movie theater with X4D technology. The hallmark of this futuristic cinema destination is that viewers will be able to smell scents in the films they watch.
American Dream would also offer a hotel currently in the planning stages; but set to open within a year after American Dream opens its doors. Expectations are high as the hotel at West Edmonton Mall runs at or near capacity all year round.
American Dream has an exclusive offering for kids. A LEGOLAND discovery center with a 4D cinema will provide lots of awe. Rides for kids 3 to 10 years of age and a brick pool will also be available. A walk-through underwater tunnel will offer bird-eye view to the first Seal Life aquarium in New Jersey; and exotic animals, like sharks and seahorses, will no longer hide behind screens, but be in full view of visitors.
Toys “R” Us’ anchor retail outlet occupying an expansive space of 55,000 square feet and three levels will be the main shopping paradise for kids. In addition, top-flight retail brands are already snagging up outlets. Leading tenants already announced include; Hermes, Victoria’s Secret, Zara, Microsoft, Pink, Lululemon, Off 5th, Uniqlo, Lord & Taylor, MAC, Aritzia, Gap, Banana Republic, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
5 NOVEMBER 2015, USA