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Nickelodeon Universe / American Dream Discussion Thread

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In the 1990's these guys tried to get about $300 million from the State of Maryland for a previous project also named American Dream, which encountered tremendous and successful public opposition to giving them that much public money.

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In the 1990's these guys tried to get about $300 million from the State of Maryland for a previous project also named American Dream, which encountered tremendous and successful public opposition to giving them that much public money.


You know they have pulled it off before with MoA and Edmonton, they are picking up the pieces here and were the only ones willing and Miami is bending over for them as well. I figure it gets done this time, they wanted the bond deal and they got it.

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  • 2 months later...

More hype and BS, this time claiming a Summer 2017 opening date, plus the world's steepest roller coaster. We'll see.


Huge Mall Rising at Troubled Site in North Jersey


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Most of the checkerboard walls on the mammoth shopping mall rising in the Meadowlands that Gov. Chris Christie once called “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America” have been replaced with muted white panels.


And now, after six years of sitting dormant, the ill-fated project once known as Xanadu is moving into high gear as it is transformed into American Dream Meadowlands.


Seven giant tower cranes loom over the 21-acre site near MetLife Stadium. The third developer in the project’s turbulent 12-year history is busily rolling out superlative-filled announcements about its biggest tenants and most impressive features two years ahead of the scheduled opening in hopes of burying the bad memories of the venture among retailers, potential investors and New Jersey residents.


Toys “R” Us, which is to vacate its Times Square flagship next year, will be an anchor for 500 stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Hermes, as well as restaurants and other attractions in a multilevel building that will be more than a half-mile long.


The project will also be home to a 300-foot-tall Ferris wheel that the developer says will offer better views of Manhattan than the 625-foot-tall wheel that is being built on Staten Island and promoted as the world’s tallest.


The complex, the developer says, will also include both North America’s largest indoor amusement park and largest indoor water park, the first indoor ski hill in the Western Hemisphere, and the world’s steepest roller coaster and tallest twin-body water slides.


Just don’t call it a mall.


“We create centers and environments that are almost like a city, where you can do absolutely anything your heart desires,” said Don Ghermezian, a principal in the Triple Five Group, which is building American Dream Meadowlands. “Dining. Shopping. Playing. Entertaining. By opening day, there’ll be nearly $5 billion invested in this project. I think that makes it the most expensive retail project on earth.”


The Ghermezian family and its company, Triple Five, already own two of the largest retail and entertainment complexes in the world: the 4.2-million-square-foot Mall of America near Minneapolis and the 5.2-million-square-foot West Edmonton Mall in Canada. They plan to raise more than $1 billion on the bond market for American Dream and to open it in late summer 2017.


But opening dates have come and gone before. Mr. Christie once announced, for instance, that it would open in time for the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.


The potential cost of American Dream could still jump given Triple Five’s reliance on bonds at a time when interest rates in the bond market have been rising. Beyond that, the 2.9-million-square-foot project (bigger than the Empire State Building) is a daunting undertaking with other serious challenges, particularly in a state with no shortage of shopping malls and a county that prohibits retail sales on Sundays.


The $5 billion enterprise described by Mr. Ghermezian would require a daily gusher of customers to be financially viable, and he estimates that the complex will attract more than 40 million visitors a year, half of them tourists visiting New York City.


That sounds optimistic considering that only 12.4 million of the 56.4 million visitors to the city last year ventured to Lower Manhattan, according to groups that track such activity. Skeptics have asked why people would cross the Hudson River from the biggest theme park of them all, Manhattan.


Rosy forecasts for American Dream also fly in the face of predictions that, ultimately, Internet shopping will all but eliminate brick-and-mortar shopping.


“There are still a lot of questions marks,” said D.J. Busch, a senior mall analyst at Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm. “The prospects are better with all the bells and whistles. But there is a lot of competition for wallet-share and time-share in the New York metropolitan area. If it was simply a mall, I would say the probability of success would be much lower.”


The project was originally conceived in 2003 when the state awarded the Mills Corporation the right to build Xanadu, a retail complex on the grounds of the state’s Meadowlands sports complex that was to feature a 286-foot-tall Ferris wheel, an indoor ski hill, a Legoland park, movie theaters, a concert hall and hundreds of stores.


State officials, eager to reap new revenue that could offset losses at a nearby racetrack and arena, provided the land, built new highway connections and waived tax collections for years, while the developer paid rent and promised thousands of jobs.


In 2006, Colony Capital, a private equity firm based in California, took over the project after Mills struggled with construction delays and cost overruns. Colony did not fare much better. In 2009, a Lehman Brothers subsidiary cut off its financing.


At that point, work came to a halt on what was a very unfinished building despite the two developers’ having spent a combined $1.9 billion. Colony’s lenders foreclosed and later turned the project over to Triple Five.


Though the Christie administration once characterized Xanadu as a “failed business model,” the governor, a Republican, has since embraced American Dream and the jobs and tax revenues it is supposed to generate.


Government watchdog groups have criticized the administration for agreeing to support the project with an estimated $1 billion in tax breaks and other subsidies.


Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club of New Jersey, said American Dream would be likely to siphon off business from the six existing malls that are within a short drive of the Meadowlands.


“Given the extent of public financing behind it, this project shows that it could not have been built by the private sector,” Mr. Tittel said. “In a state with no money to fix roads or build schools, that’s shameful.”


Such criticism notwithstanding, American Dream does seem finally to be moving forward and overcoming the stigma of failure at the site.


“I’m starting to come around,” said Robert K. Futterman, founder of RKF Associates and a major retail broker in the metropolitan New York region. “These guys are so good at what they do and are so determined. They’ll do whatever they have to do to get this thing leased.”


Triple Five says it has spent more than $225 million on the Meadowlands project this year, pounding more than 5,000 pilings into bedrock for the water and amusement parks, which are being developed in partnership with DreamWorks SKG.


Mr. Ghermezian said Cirque du Soleil had signed on to perform up to 10 shows a week in American Dream’s 1,500-seat theater. And this week, Triple Five announced that the complex would also have a SeaLife Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center.


There are also plans for a kosher food court, a significant feature for an area with a large population of observant Jews. The Toys “R” Us plans call for a three-level, 55,000-square-foot store. An 800-room hotel is in the design stage.


Factoring in the entertainment and dining offerings, Mr. Ghermezian said he expected entire families to linger in the complex for an average of four hours, compared with the hourlong average at the typical mall.


American Dream will also, he said, promise same-day delivery of purchases by shoppers who arrive by public transportation, surfing contests at the water park and toboggan rides in the Snow Dome.


“We try and do flagship-sized deals,” Mr. Ghermezian said. “We’re pushing the digital age. We’re creating in-store environments that make it become an immersive, interactive, experiential environment.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/03/nyregion/dream-of-a-mall-starts-to-rise-out-of-a-meadowlands-nightmare.html

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Has anyone driven by this location to really see if work has started again?


Work has been going on for some time, I think you'll see it hit overdrive as the bond issues clear up. It kinda reminds me of some of the Dubai attractions that just sat there and are now under full swing again.


I wonder if this Toys R Us wI'll be like the Times Square location complete with the ferris wheel and the new play areas that are springing up as part of stores in other places.

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I'd be beyond thrilled by this news normally. It's an hour from the house and I could ride coasters in the middle of winter... amazing!


Unfortunately though it's the American Dream project so at this point until the thing opens I'm assuming none of this will ever happen.

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Has anyone driven by this location to really see if work has started again?


Work has been going on for some time, I think you'll see it hit overdrive as the bond issues clear up. It kinda reminds me of some of the Dubai attractions that just sat there and are now under full swing again.


I wonder if this Toys R Us wI'll be like the Times Square location complete with the ferris wheel and the new play areas that are springing up as part of stores in other places.



I think Six Flags Dubai and Six Flags China will be open before Meadowlands is. Shoot, Six Flags America will get 10 newly built RMC's before This is open.

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In reading some of the recent store announcements like Hermes relocating here, they described a luxury wing with the storefronts being more traditional like a street and with a glass roof and I immediately thought of Milan.

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  • 4 weeks later...

CBS2 Exclusive: A Look Inside The ‘American Dream’ At The Meadowlands (<<<<- featuring video clip with footage of them pouring footers for water park, etc)


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Governor Christie once called it the ugliest building in the U.S.


The former Meadowlands Xanadu site has been sitting empty for nearly a decade, but is undergoing a makeover.


It’s being transformed into a massive entertainment complex with an indoor amusement park.


Driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, you can’t miss the multi-colored complex in the Meadowlands, but block out the tackiness and envision an indoor Dream Works themed amusement and water park with character driven birthday party rooms from movies like Shrek, and ski slope in a chalet surrounded by shops.


The outer facade will also be undergoing a makeover, American Dream CEO Don Ghermezian told CBS2’s Christine Sloan.


“Over the next three or four months, we’ve got the steel arriving on site.


The American Dream is scheduled to open in Bergen County some time in the summer of 2017.


Ghermezian’s family owns mall of America in Minnesota, the largest in the country.


“Once the project opens, people will look back and say ‘we can’t believe what these guys built for us in this market place,'” he said.


Crews are busy at work digging and building foundations.


CBS2’s Sloan got a look at the construction site where cranes will be replaced with an amusement park and a water park.


“There are over 55-million tourists that are coming to New York City. Very few of them that are coming across the river. This now gives them a reason to come across the river,” Ghermezian said.


Visitors will still get a taste of the Big Apple when they ride a Ferris wheel with a view of Manhattan’s skyline, and FAO Schwarz which closed its iconic doors in the city and is owned by Toys “R” Us, plans to open a flagship store inside American Dream.


Ghermezian wouldn’t confirm nor deny that.


Toys “R” Us was not calling the FAO Schwarz a flagship store. In a statement the company said:


“Toys“R”Us at American Dream will occupy a total of 55,000 square feet on three levels of the center and will feature an assortment of products from top toy companies, as well as proprietary products. This will include a specialty line of great FAO Schwarz branded items, which we carry in our Toys“R”Us stores nationwide.”


Ghermezian also beamed about other attractions like a LEGO Land, trendy boutiques that you’d find on Fifth Avenue like Hermes, Saks, and affordable stores like H&M with digital dressing rooms, a kosher food hall, and dozens of posh restaurants.


“The patio sits in front of the restaurants, overlooks this park where we have a stage where we’ll have performances, and shows on a nightly basis, kind of Vegas like,” he said.


The retail stores won’t be open on Sundays because of Bergen County’s Blue Laws, but everything else will. So there will only be partial congestion when there are Jets and Giants games.


“I would definitely go to one of those places. It’s something for this area that is different,” Rob Clark said, “Traffic is going to be insane, but you live in Jersey.”


When the project is done in the late summer of 2017, you won’t be able to see the building, but will have a view of a glass encased, indoor amusement park.


Extra lanes have been added to major roads around the complex to cater to more drivers, including Routes 17 and 120.


American Dream officials also said NJ Transit will run additional trains to Secaucus and into Manhattan once the complex opens.

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The American Dream is scheduled to open in Bergen County some time in the summer of 2017.



In all honesty I want to be excited for this and I'm sure it'll open eventually but I'm trying to contain my anticipation. If the park has any decent coasters (even a Euro Fighter style ride) our offseason would be a thing of the past and it looks like it'll have a lot of other awesome things to do also... I just can't believe how long this project is dragging out.

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I was hoping for a relocation of the ferris well inside the Times Square Toys R Us to a store here, maybe it will still pop up in the FAO Swartz store that's talked about. Add a small coaster launched coaster themed to Hot Wheels.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...



I love the opening line...


The saga of American Dream at Meadowlands took another unexpected turn last week when developer Triple Five announced that the project, hoped to be completed in Fall 2017, will now be delayed yet again over finance woes.


If that was an "unexpected turn" for the guy that wrote that story then he's a complete and utter moron. It's probably the most predictable and expected thing I've heard all day.

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So, let's see. They want to decouple the bond issuance thru a Jersey Gov Entity and instead use Wisconsin( via a rare ability to issue them for out of state projects) with less tax burden thus lower interest payout costs to them. Stop development to see how the whole issue of North Jersey casinos is going to play out because they would be interested in adding it to the mix thus changing the layout.


What I know, they are expanding Edmonton and Mall of America, proceeding with developing Miami including land purchases. They don't seem to have money issues elsewhere and it's not slowing their roll one bit. Nope, there's angles being played here and it will still get done once that's all played out.


Better hope their Dreamworks rights are solid though.


This explains the bond issue much better than that other article and with as much money on the line as this is, saving it is a big deal



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So, wait a second - let me make sure I'm understanding this. Are they basically sopping up as much money as they can from East Rutherford, and then trying to find ways to not pay the borough back?

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So, wait a second - let me make sure I'm understanding this. Are they basically sopping up as much money as they can from East Rutherford, and then trying to find ways to not pay the borough back?


What money are they sopping up? If you are talking about property tax breaks, that was going to happen whether East Rutherford was going to issue bonds or not. That's standard stuff when haggling big development stuff. I think it was telling that the Mayor was not happy about the possible switch to the Wisconsin backed bonds because with them being a tax exempt, it would increase IRS scrutiny. A Jersey mayor not wanting the IRS poking around, hmmmmmm....that nasty "paperwork" that it would take.


This crew got in via Jersey politics and desperation got far enough along that that they hold most of the leverage and now wish to rid themselves with dealing with the local politicos. Shrewd, shrewd folk. Plus they are waiting on if there is going to be a vote for gambling. Local Rep favors the Hard Rock bid, hold mall hostage to show displeasure.

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  • 4 months later...

I still have faith in the project opening in my lifetime. Currently projected for a 2018 opening, the following article confirms some licensing deals that have been approved. Most important to our community is the amusement park being themed with Nickelodeon Universe intellectual property. Secondly, the waterpark will be themed to DreamWorks IP. Lastly, there will be inclusion of Legoland Discovery Center (mis-identified, as a Legoland in the article) and a Sea Life Aquarium. Other previously announced entertainment at the complex will include movie theaters, a bowling alley, a 300 foot observation wheel and the 12 story indoor ski park.




Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park Coming To American Dream Meadowlands

Eight-and-one-half acre park will feature ride and attractions featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

By Daniel Hubbard (Patch Staff) - September 13, 2016


BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming to American Dream Meadowlands.


Developer Triple Five has partnered with Nickelodeon on its creation of the largest indoor amusement park in the western hemisphere, Nickelodeon Universe.


The eight-and-one-half acre park will feature rides and attractions based on Nickelodeon-owned properties, similar to the Nickelodeon Universe at another Triple Five-owned property — the Mall of America in Minnesota. That theme park features rides like the Fairly Odd Coaster, Diego's Rescue Rider, and Shredder's Mutant Masher.


“Based on the success we have seen with Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America we are excited to bring the number one entertainment brand for kids to American Dream,” Triple Five President Don Ghermezian said in a statement.


Tickets for the park will be available in a variety of options, from single-ride to an annual pass.


The 91-acre complex will be broken up into five connected sections more than a half-mile long when it opens in the fall of 2018. The $5 billion project is expected to add 20,000 jobs to the North Jersey and compete with New York City as the go-to tourist and family entertainment destination in the area.


Nickelodeon is the latest brand to bring its intellectual properties to the property.


DreamWorks, owner of popular movie franchises such as "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda," and "How To Train Your Dragon," is the official partner of American Dream's water park.


LEGOLAND is designed specifically for children ages 3 to 10. It will feature a 4D cinema, Lego brick pool, and rides. Kids can also take Lego building classes.


A 22,000-square-foot adult arcade, For The Win, will feature state-of-the-art gaming, a bowling alley, live music performances, and a selection of craft beers. A 1,500-seat, 4D movie theater will allow moviegoers to "smell" the film they're watching.


The first Sea Life aquarium in New Jersey will feature a tropical ocean tank with a walk-through underwater tunnel. There will also be a 300-foot-tall observation wheel, a 12-story indoor ski park with an 800-foot-long hill, and a food court with 15-restaurants and 50 grab-and-go offerings.


American Dream Meadowlands was slated to open in the summer of 2017, but Triple Five pushed the open date back to the fall of 2018 because of difficulities securing the financing needed for the $5 billion project.

Edited by larrygator
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