This Turkey Week, YIMBY is taking a look at some of the most prominent projects in the New York City area that have either started and stopped, or stalled altogether. We begin with the American Dream Mall, a project with a notoriously rocky history that is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
Though still only partially realized, the American Dream Mall reopened last month after a nearly six-month-long temporary closure. Located at 1 American Dream Way in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the gargantuan 3.3-million-square-foot retail and entertainment destination is the second-largest shopping mall in the United States and is owned and operated by Triple Five Group, which also owns Minnesota’s Mall of America, the country’s largest-such facility. The project is designed by GH+A and Adamson Associates, with Gensler as the lead design architect for the master plan redevelopment. American Dream initially opened its doors to the public on October 25, 2019, some 15 years after the initial groundbreaking.
Below are several of the indoor renderings produced by GH+A Designs Studios.
When construction began in 2004, the mall was originally called Xanadu Meadowlands. The project was owned by Mills Corporation until its bankruptcy in 2007. Colony Capital purchased the development in 2009, but by then, work had halted due to the compounding effects of the 2008 financial crisis and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. In 2013, Triple Five Group stepped in and gained control of the project, pushing it along over the past seven years.
Though shopping malls have significantly fallen out of favor compared to the time when the development began, the American Dream aims to overcome this with high-profile attractions to lure visitors across the Hudson River from the city. The most notable of these are Big Snow, the first indoor skiing facility in North America, and Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park with two indoor rollercoasters. Additional big draws for the complex will be the forthcoming DreamWorks Water Park, Sea Life Aquarium, and the Legoland Discovery Center.
An article from Forbes pointed out that recent foot traffic recorded by Placer.ai at American Dream has exceeded figures from January and February of this year, an encouraging sign for the beleaguered project. A recent in-person job fair featured 30 tenants seeking full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers, and the mall is planning to open a total of 300 stores.
It’s unclear when work will be fully complete on the American Dream.