Will entertainment save the shopping mall? The developers behind a mega-mall in New Jersey are counting on it. The American Dream Meadowlands mall officially opened on Oct. 25, completing Phase 1 of a projected 4-phase opening scheduled to run through 2020.
Originally named Xanadu, the $5 billion mall has taken 15 years to complete, went through multiple owners and received hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer incentives.
The current owners, the Canadian-based Triple Five Group, the company behind Mall of America as well as the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, are betting on the entertainment factor to draw in shoppers from surrounding New Jersey as well as New York City and beyond.
According to company officials, the 3 million square foot complex includes 55 percent of its space dedicated to entertainment and 45 percent retail space. Among the mall’s outsized entertainment attractions are a Nickelodeon-themed amusement park, water park, indoor ski slope, full-sized skating rink, live performance theater and movie theater.