The saga of New Jersey’s largest mall has added another tough chapter to its story as the company behind the project will soon be giving up partial control at other properties they own after falling behind on loan payments.
Triple Five, a Canadian company that owns several prominent retail destinations including Minnesota’s Mall of America, has defaulted on a $1.2 billion construction loan they undertook to build East Rutherford’s American Dream complex. The holders of the loan include several financial heavyweights like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Starwood Capital, CIM Group, Soros Fund Management, Wafra, and iStar.
According to reporting from The Financial Times, the lenders are in the final stages of taking a 49% stake in two other malls owned by developer Triple Five that were used as collateral for American Dream. The lenders will be getting a stake in the Mall of America and Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall.
Under the deal, 49% of profits from those facilities would go to the American Dream lenders once the mall returns to profitability. Those terms will remain in place until such time that collateral is released, and the process is expected to be finalized sometime this month.
One of the largest entertainment complexes in the country, the 3.3-million-square-foot American Dream has not caught many breaks since first breaking ground in 2003. Once called “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America” by former Governor Chris Christie, the facility endured years of delays, several ownership changes, and a major revamp from its initial panned façade.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw the mall shuttered for over six months, a time during which several construction companies filed over $41 million in liens against Triple Five over allegedly unpaid work at American Dream. The complex, which intended to feature over 450 stores, still has large portions that are vacant.
On the flip side, the facility’s Big Snow indoor ski park restarted operations last September and the entire mall, which houses about 130 stores, reopened in October. Both a DreamWorks Waterpark and Nickelodeon Universe launched shortly thereafter and two new attractions, a Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center, are slated to make their debut on May 4.
Triple Five also defaulted on its Mall of America mortgage amid COVID-19 but avoided foreclosure during the summer months and has since brought their account current.