A fresh new exterior will soon be coming to arguably one of the most analyzed facades in the region, as a long-stalled mega-mall project in the Meadowlands will be replacing its oft-criticized colors for a sleeker silver look.
Triple Five Worldwide, the developer behind American Dream, released new renderings and a video last week of what the most recent and hopefully final version of the project will eventually look like. It should make detractors of its current appearance pretty happy, as it will remove the multi-colored ‘cargo container’ exterior of the development and replace it with a silver-and-glass look featuring some large video screens.
The project, which first broke ground over a decade ago, is in the Meadowlands Sports Complex and visible from many highways in Bergen County. It has been widely panned as an eyesore, with Governor Chris Christie once declaring it “by far the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America.”
But Triple Five says that complaint should soon cease, and construction workers are now back at the site where no work had been done since April of this year. Don Ghermezian, one of the principals at Triple Five, told The Bergen Record earlier this week that structural steel for the project should arrive soon and construction will “aggressively” restart early next year.
Several novels could be written about the build out and journey of American Dream, which was once called Xanadu and has gone through two different developers who both eventually declared bankruptcy. Triple Five purchased the incomplete facility in 2011 and rebranded it, revising and expanding Xanadu’s original plans to include a glass-domed amusement park with year-round roller coasters, a water park and an aquarium.
When completed, the complex will include a permanent Cirque du Soleil theater, serve as the future home of FAO Schwartz, sport a 55,000-square foot Toys ‘R Us, feature an 800-foot long indoor skiing hill, a 300-foot high Ferris Wheel, and 33,000 parking spaces with multiple valet locations. All told, the project will total about three million square feet and include a Nickelodeon Universe theme park that was announced in September.
The last hurdle for American Dream appears to be a $1.15 billion bond package, which Triple Five plans to pair with another $1.5 billion in private financing to help the project finally reach the finish line. The bonds, initially scheduled to go out this summer, have been approved by a state board and survived a legal challenge, but still haven’t been issued. The latest November deadline the company had set came and went without any progress.
A Triple Five spokesman did not offer a comment on when the bonds for American Dream might be issued. But the latest date the company has publicly insisted the development will open is now Fall 2018.
In the meantime, the full video of American Dream’s new look, which was created by GH+A Design Studios, can be viewed below and interested parties can check out the project’s website.