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Nickelodeon Universe / American Dream Discussion Thread

p. 32 - AWESOME DreamWorks Water Park trip report!

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Hey everybody!

 

This thread is simple! Rather than having a million little threads about everything that goes on at American Dream, this thread is designed to consolidate it all into one user-friendly thread. Feel free to use it to post updates, trip reports, questions, comments, and of course, general discussion.

 

American Dream website

 

Below are some links to past updates from the park, you may be interested in. Enjoy!

 

--Robb

_____________________________________________________

2008

announcement of amusements proposed - SEE BELOW!

 

2010

February 1st, 2010 - New Jersey Governor demands owners either make progress or forfeit the property

December 26th, 2010 - Triple Five (company behind Mall of America) takes control of the project

 

2011

May 3rd, 2011 - Complex to be rebranded as American Dream

July 1st, 2011 - New Jersey ponies up $200 Million to re-invigorate project for a 2013/2014 opening.

November 23, 2011 - Public hearing on the feasibility of building the amusement area on wetlands

 

2012

June 25th, 2012 - New York Jets and Giants file injunction to halt construction

July 10th, 2012 - Dreamworks theme park announced for Meadowlands!

December 10th, 2012 - Project one small step closer to becoming a reality

 

2013

January 13th, 2013 - Project may be closer to resuming work

 

2014

April 28th, 2014 - Work about to restart with projected 2016 opening date

 

2015

June 17th, 2015 - State and Triple Five agree on bonding and park open now projected for 2017

 

2016

September 13th, 2016 - Intellectual Property partners announced: Nickelodeon Universe for the amusement park Dreamworks for water park

 

2017

October 29th, 2017 - Gerstlauer track spotted at American Dream

 

2018

August 30th, 2018 - April 2019 opening date is announced

 

2019

May 21st, 2019 - Construction photos & concept art; opening delayed

July 4th, 2019 - Mega-mall opening date set for October 25th, 2019!

 

_____________________________________________________

 

 

Quote
February 13, 2008 -- There's some wheely big news across the Hudson - the largest Ferris wheel in the nation is about to be built in New Jersey.

The massive ride will rise 286 feet into the sky, easily topping Dallas' Texas Start Ferris wheel, which stands tall at 213 feet. It will be part of Meadowlands Xanadu, a $2 billion entertainment center being built near Giants Stadium in East Rutherford.

The wheel will rise alongside a shopping and entertainment megacomplex that will house such attractions as a 780-foot indoor ski slope and a manmade lake stocked with fish for anglers.

The 2-million-square-foot center is slated for completion in November, which might be all well and good - except for the Ferris wheel, critics say.

Attorney Lane Biviano, a resident of Rutherford, is leading a fight against the giant ride, complaining that it will block the view of Manhattan by residents of his town.

He says the builders have given no consideration to the people who live near the Meadowlands.

"It's like bullies from another neighborhood have come in and decided to take over your neighborhood," he said. "It's someone coming over to our turf."

Biviano says he lives in a condo on a hillside west of the Meadowlands, and will have to stare at the Ferris wheel instead of marveling at the view of New York. He started a Web site to get the protest going: savetheskyline.com.

Biviano's only consolation is that the FAA forced the developers to scrap plans to make the wheel nearly 400 feet tall - because it might have interfered with traffic from Teterboro Airport.

The developers didn't return calls for comment yesterday.

 

Link

 

Very interesting, but I want a truly giant wheel, like those being built in Asia to be built here in the states. Cities like LA, New York, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Vegas, or even Memphis would all be good locations for a giant wheel.

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I think it will be pretty slick. I've never been on a giant wheel or a ferris wheel. I think it would be pretty cool to go on that London Eye thing, but then again I am scared of elevators and when me and my step bro. went to KD I was freaked out when we up the Eiffel Tower

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This Xanadu project is becoming a joke. The contractors have changed hands over a few times and the layout has also changed and seeminly everevolving. And the completion date keeps getting pushed back further and further.

 

But they will have an indoor ski slope and tons of shops.

 

Most people from NJ do not think this project is a great idea. If you arent from the area, you have to take route 4 to get to it. Route 4 is a main road that takes you into the Lincoln Tunnel (a major artery into NYC) AND its next to Giants Stadium/a show arena/The Meadowlands Racetrack. When a game lets out takes about 45 min to travel a mile down route 4...so I dunno who in there right mind will sit in traffic to go this this mall or ferris wheel.

 

I guess it will be something interesting to look at while sitting in traffic.

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  • 1 year later...

It seems that the Xanadu Meadowlands project is in trouble, and the Governor of New Jersey wants some action taken towards the project or else the property will be pulled.

 

http://retailtrafficmag.com/news/xanadu_meadowlands_01262010/

 

Like the poetic fantasy that inspired its name, it seems the Xanadu Meadowlands retail and entertainment complex in northern New Jersey is destined to remain a pipe dream. The 2.3-million-square-foot development has been plagued by bad luck since its conception and had to halt construction last year after one of its principal lenders pulled its financing. Now, the New Jersey Governor’s office has essentially labeled the project a failure, calling for Xanadu’s current developer, Los Angeles-based Colony Capital LLC, to complete construction or turn the site over to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA), which owns the land.

 

On Jan. 22, the office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made public a draft transition report by the New Jersey Gaming/Sports and Entertainment Committee which outlines a number of challenges facing Xanadu Meadowlands. Among these, the report cites a “failed leasing plan,” a “frozen” capital structure and virtual abandonment of construction activity. Much of the project’s superstructure is completed, but the site remains dormant.

 

“The Xanadu project needs both cash and tenants to complete their obligations to NJSEA. Both are missing,” the document reads. “Hence the original business model appears to have failed. The NJSEA need to engage the owners to either complete and open, or surrender the property.”

 

Some of the problems with the development have been triggered by the credit crunch—for example, Colony Capital lost a large portion of its construction financing after one of the project’s principal lenders, Xanadu Mezz Holdings, a non-bankrupt affiliate of Lehman Brothers, decided to back out of the deal. Since then, Colony and its affiliates have been shopping for an alternate lender, but have yet to secure the $500 million necessary to complete construction. But the project had been dragging even before that. It was originally slated to open in 2007 and its opening has been pushed back repeatedly. As it stands, the developers have no planned date for the project’s opening.

 

Meanwhile, some tenants that have previously committed to Xanadu have delayed opening because of the uncertainty surrounding the project. Earlier this month, Tommy Millner, CEO of hunting, fishing, camping and outdoor recreation retailer Cabela’s Inc., told investors it was highly unlikely that the chain would open its planned store at the project because of all the problems surrounding the complex. A spokesperson for Children’s Place, another Xanadu tenant, said the company had signed a 5,000-square-foot lease for the property, but would not proceed with the build-out until the future of the project had been determined.

 

“Retailers are only going to go where they need to be right now because they are facing internal budget constraints and ... there is uncertainty with what’s going to happen with that project,” says Michael Fasano, vice president and regional manager with the Elmwood Park, N.J. office of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. “There are two or three different dynamics happening at the same time so retailers are saying ‘We’ll sit and wait.’”

 

On the flip side, at least one large tenant that has committed to Xanadu has balked at taking an alternate location elsewhere in the area, notes Jerry Putterman, senior vice president in the Fairfield, N.J. office of real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis. If the complex ever opens, that tenant would clearly prefer to be at Xanadu, he says.

 

According to the report from the New Jersey Governor’s office, most of the major tenants at the development have an escape clause built into their leases that would allow them to pull out of the project if leasing remains below a certain level.

 

More troubling still, Xanadu’s chances of securing enough financing to finish construction remain low, according to William Procida, president of William Procida Inc., a Fort Lee, N.J.-based provider of management and capital services for real estate companies. “The project was very aggressive to begin with, but the capital markets being what they are, you combine it with losing tenants, and it doesn’t look good,” Procida says. “They are lucky the government has been so patient with them.”

 

In Jerry Putterman’s view, the project might have a better chance of securing a large equity commitment in place of a loan.

 

The Xanadu development was ill-conceived from the beginning, notes Procida—he thinks the plan put forward by Hartz Mountain Industries back when the NJSEA was looking at development proposals in 2002 and 2003 would have a better chance of succeeding. Back then, Hartz Mountain and partner Forest City Ratner Cos. presented an $815 million proposal to the NJSEA, which combined a convention center, several hotels and office buildings with a few stores and an indoor racing center. During the selection process, Hartz Mountain criticized Xanadu’s original developer, the Mills Corp., for misrepresenting what it deemed to be essentially another enclosed mall as an entertainment complex.

 

“We have plenty of shopping centers in New Jersey,” Procida notes. “They were trying to make the shopping center of all shopping centers, and while it’s a highly visible spot, the egress is not the greatest. Everything is going against them—people are not spending, banks aren’t lending, and they are already burdened with debt in excess of what it’s worth.”

 

A spokesman for Governor Christie’s office said the state’s Sports and Entertainment Committee was still in the process of determining its recommendations for the project. Both Colony Capital and NJSEA declined to comment directly, referring inquiries to an outside public relations representative who did not returns calls.

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The real question is that will they find Jimmy Hoffa's body when they tear down Giants Stadium

 

No but seriously, this economy has screwed everything up! Now its gonna look like unfinished crap for about two or three years.

 

Was really looking forward to riding that observation wheel though...

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  • 2 weeks later...

http://www.northjersey.com/news/environment/84083472_Billionaire_wants_to_save_Xanadu.html

 

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.'"

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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.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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From NorthJersey.com Meadowlands Complex to be rebranded as American Dream

 

www.northjersey.com/realestate/121178979_Rebranded__American_Dream_Meadowlands_to_open_in_2013.html

 

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.

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Fox News has posted some renderings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link

 

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.

 

Rant Over

 

 

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.

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Hopefully we'll see this get a bit farther than the previous project!

 

The Indoor Skiing in Dubai was AWESOME. And I have a total love for indoor waterparks!

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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.

 

EDIT: Found some interior photos of what the inside of the building right now:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Xanadu-mall-project-to-get-new-name-big-expansion-1362941.php

The ski-lifts are already installed.

More concept art:

http://photos.nj.com/star-ledger/2011/05/bz0504xanadu_2.html

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^It doesn't look like the Minneapolis slyline in the background.

 

 

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.

Edited by larrygator
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Is this not Nick Universe pictured?

Yep, but it looks like they photoshopped Morgan Manufacturing trains on to Orange Streak, added a new dome to the roof and maybe moved some of the attractions around?

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^It doesn't look like the Minneapolis slyline in the background.

 

 

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.

 

I did read it, that part just never registered. Well, after making my self look like an idiot, I still stand by the part of my post about not liking the name. It may have significant meaning to the mall's owners, but it just sounds odd.

 

Edit: Actually, you were partially right. I didn't read the article posted to this site. The article I did read on the project update didn't mention it, hence why it didn't register.

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  • 1 month later...

http://www.theskichannel.com/news/skinews/20110701/Indoor-snow-park-gets-some-outside-assistance

 

With an injection of $200 million dollars from New Jersey state funds, the indoor ski park American Dream Meadowlands (formerly Xanadu) is back on track for completion.

 

Originally due to open two years ago, the three million square foot leisure center has encountered multiple delays. The bad economy prompted tenants to bail out, and ownership has changed hands several times. Construction has been stalled for the past two years.

 

But that’s all about to change. On Wednesday, June 29th, the New Jersey legislature voted to direct $200 million dollars into the park, as part of their Economic Development and Growth Grant program.

 

Governor Chris Christie said, “What we’re trying to do is provide incentives for places like American Dream at the Meadowlands to be built, and in these difficult economic times, the state is going to become a partner, a small partner in the project, but a partner nonetheless,” in a radio broadcast on WNYC. An estimated 9,000 construction workers will be employed to finish building the park, and about 35,000 jobs will be created upon completion.

 

American Dream at the Meadowlands is slated to open over a period of time in 2013 and 2014. In addition to its star attraction, a 780-foot indoor ski slope, the park will have shops, restaurants, a water park, and movie theaters.

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  • 4 months later...

In public hearing construction workers and environmentalists chime in on the addition of a water park and amumement rides to the complex

 

http://www.northjersey.com/news/134444858_Hearing_held_on_amusement__water_park_expansion.html

 

 

Construction workers beg for American Dream environmental approvals

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 Last updated: Thursday November 24, 2011, 1:51 AM

BY MICHAEL LAMENDOLA

MANAGING EDITOR

South Bergenite

 

The public had its chance last week to weigh in on the destruction of over five acres of wetlands that will occur if the American Dream Meadowlands project is granted final approvals to expand its existing footprint to include a new amusement park and water park.

 

The new construction of a water and amusement park would deplete five acres of wetlands, but construction workers are pleading for the project to move forward since they have been out of work so long.

 

A series of four public hearings in two days allowed comments to be accepted on a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (DSEIS) prepared as part of the preliminary steps for final approvals to be granted to allow for the two new facets of the mega-mall once known as Xanadu. The hearings produced a mixture of reviews. On one side, environmentalists shared their concerns about the environmental effects of the new addition while building trades union officials urged for the passage of the project because their workers have been hit so significantly by the economic downturn.

 

The new features, announced when developer Triple 5 took over the beleaguered project earlier this year and rebranded it American Dream, are planned to encompass 19 acres of a total 21.75-acre swatch of land formerly occupied by working radio towers, which still exist, but are inoperable as their operations were moved to North Bergen. The land sits just to the east of the New Jersey Turnpike and is bound to the north by the IZOD Arena loop road, to the south by Route 3 and to the west by Paterson Plank Road.

 

According to documents provided within the DSEIS, a total of 639,000 square feet of development will be added to the already existing 2.7 million square foot Xanadu structure, with the inclusion of the 236,000 square foot water park and 318,000 square foot amusement park. The remaining footprint will come by way of an 85,000 square foot common area.

 

Tony Armlin, vice president of development and construction at Triple 5, said without the inclusion of the two new venue additions to the existing footprint of Xanadu, the project won’t be viable economically. He said the company looked at alternative sites for the project, but none were positioned so visitors could directly access the amusement park and water park through the existing entertainment/retail component. Those sites, according to the impact statement, were three within the sports complex and sites on the Paterson Plank Redevelopment Area in Carlstadt and East Rutherford.

 

"Without the inclusion of the amusement park and the water park into the overall positioning of the project, we are not able to execute the model that is fundamental to Triple Five and we believe this project is not economically viable without these components," said Armlin. "We did look at other locations; we looked at other locations on site and locations off site to see if there were other viable sites. In the end results, none of those other sites were practical in terms of their ability to meet our criteria for location and for access connectivity."

 

Armlin said the company will mitigate the loss of the wetlands through a series of options including looking at three existing wetlands mitigation banks in the area or paying the state a fee to mitigate wetlands. He said three acres of credits are available at the already restored Secaucus High School Marsh site, 2.5 acres will soon become available at the Evergreen Marsh Resources bank in Carlstadt, and there could be the possibility of approaching the Meadowlands Conservation Trust on a plan to pay for restoration and maintenance of 5.5 acres in Carlstadt’s Richard P. Kane Natural Area.

 

"First and foremost, Triple 5 is strongly committed to meet all federal laws and regulations related to the compensation of unavoidable impacts related to wetlands," said Armlin. "It’s our intention to work collaboratively with the Army Corps. of Engineers and other federal agencies as well as the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Meadowlands Conservation Trust to identify appropriate mitigation sites."

 

Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said wetlands mitigation is simply taking existing wetlands and enhancing them, but what will be done with the destruction of over five acres of wetlands at the sports complex site is destroying a vital flood prevention and pollution mitigating ecosystem.

 

"It’s ironic that you’re putting a water park in the wetlands," said Tittel. "Creating new flood storage is a major reason you need these wetlands. Enhancement of wetlands elsewhere does not create new flood storage. Wetlands surrounded by development actually have a higher function because they mitigate pollution."

 

The DSEIS lays out a series of environmentally responsible building and design features that Triple 5 is considering in the new additions to Xanadu including energy conservation measures, building with the use of recycled and locally produced materials and operating the facility with green management programs.

 

"We are looking very strongly at green design, energy conservation and best practices of operation," said Armlin. "We have a 30-year history at West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America of successful green operation of our facilities."

 

According to the DSEIS, some of the environmental features in the new buildings will be double glazed windows for energy efficiency, automated lighting controls and Energy Star product utilization. Using low emitting and recycled construction materials and buying locally will also be explored.

 

The project as it stands, formerly run and developed by Mills Corp. and Colony Capital, has been highly criticized through its construction as not taking into account opportunities to make the building green. Environmentalists pushed prior to the selection of Mills in 2004 to require the mega-structure be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, but that requirement was dropped upon approval because of the complexity of the project. The developers were to include sustainable design facets where applicable. It currently has little more than energy efficient lighting and heavy insulation.

 

"This building will be one of the largest sources of pollution in the country, it will use more water and energy than a small city," said Tittel. "When Xanadu was approved, the previous developers got waived for all that stuff [green building practices].

 

Tittel said because Triple 5 will be accepting loans from the state to complete the project, a contingency of the granting of public money should be that Triple 5 goes back over the building and does more for the environment.

 

"They need to retrofit the existing building, they need to do green retrofits," said Tittel. "They need better access to light, more insulation and storm water is still a big issue. Bergen County will have drought emergencies with the amount of water the water park will use. They need a system to recycle greywater."

 

While environmentalists and some area residents alike are approaching the prospective of another large scale development that is encroaching on the region’s dissipating wetlands critically, the prospective of a new project means construction workers can get back to work, according to dozens of union officials who filed into the public hearings last week. Many spoke of their members losing their homes, no longer qualifying for health benefits and some committing suicide because they’ve been out of work so long.

 

"Our high unemployment rates are currently over 30 percent and our lack of future projects has changed the lives of so many of our members so dramatically that the words I speak can’t describe how our ongoing battle to survive has reached a critical stage," said Michael West, a field representative for Laborers Union Local 592. "I can honestly say that as downtrodden as our economy is, that one project and its completion can change how some of us live their lives forever."

 

Armin said that the $1.8 billion Triple Five will invest into the new construction and getting the current Xanadu building finished will create 19,000 total construction jobs with nearly 9,100 onsite. At completion, he projects 17,000 permanent jobs with 11,490 onsite.

 

"So, we’re talking about five acres in the Meadowlands. I don’t think that five acres is going to make a big difference in the flooding problems we have in the State of New Jersey," said Mike Schneider, an organizer for the Heat and Frost Insulators Local 32 in Newark. "That’s far beyond what’s going to happen down here. That’s another issue we have to take up with the Army Corps. of Engineers at another time. This project is essential for jobs now…jobs in the future."

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Shouldn't they talk about fixing up and finishing what they've already got half done before adding new stuff? I am so confused over this whole project, it just seems like a bigger scam than Hard Rock Park!

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