Partially Reopened American Dream Mall Awaits Full Completion in East Rutherford, New Jersey

American Dream Mall. Photo by Michael Young

This Turkey Week, YIMBY is taking a look at some of the most prominent projects in the New York City area that have either started and stopped, or stalled altogether. We begin with the American Dream Mall, a project with a notoriously rocky history that is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Though still only partially realized, the American Dream Mall reopened last month after a nearly six-month-long temporary closure. Located at 1 American Dream Way in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the gargantuan 3.3-million-square-foot retail and entertainment destination is the second-largest shopping mall in the United States and is owned and operated by Triple Five Group, which also owns Minnesota’s Mall of America, the country’s largest-such facility. The project is designed by GH+A and Adamson Associates, with Gensler as the lead design architect for the master plan redevelopment. American Dream initially opened its doors to the public on October 25, 2019, some 15 years after the initial groundbreaking.

Below are several of the indoor renderings produced by GH+A Designs Studios.

American Dream Mall. Rendering by GH+A Designs Studios

American Dream Mall. Rendering by GH+A Designs Studios

American Dream Mall. Rendering by GH+A Designs Studios

American Dream Mall. Rendering by GH+A Designs Studios

American Dream Mall. Rendering by GH+A Designs Studios

When construction began in 2004, the mall was originally called Xanadu Meadowlands. The project was owned by Mills Corporation until its bankruptcy in 2007. Colony Capital purchased the development in 2009, but by then, work had halted due to the compounding effects of the 2008 financial crisis and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. In 2013, Triple Five Group stepped in and gained control of the project, pushing it along over the past seven years.

Though shopping malls have significantly fallen out of favor compared to the time when the development began, the American Dream aims to overcome this with high-profile attractions to lure visitors across the Hudson River from the city. The most notable of these are Big Snow, the first indoor skiing facility in North America, and Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park with two indoor rollercoasters. Additional big draws for the complex will be the forthcoming DreamWorks Water Park, Sea Life Aquarium, and the Legoland Discovery Center.

An article from Forbes pointed out that recent foot traffic recorded by at American Dream has exceeded figures from January and February of this year, an encouraging sign for the beleaguered project. A recent in-person job fair featured 30 tenants seeking full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers, and the mall is planning to open a total of 300 stores.

It’s unclear when work will be fully complete on the American Dream.

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12 Comments on "Partially Reopened American Dream Mall Awaits Full Completion in East Rutherford, New Jersey"

  1. Meanwhile the Chinese built twenty of these…

  2. There are lines of gamblers betting on sports minutes away .
    It was just legalized and close to ten billion a year in revenue is tied to legal sports betting in the last year. This mall was delayed time and again and Amazon is destroying retail stores nationwide. The mall is now a past tense with Corona.
    Legalize m******* and watch the tax revenue surge. Tax all Amazon and online purchases by an additional 5% and watch the malls come back to life

    • Wtf does gambling and amazon have to do with a mall? The site will have immense trouble surviving. I wonder if this site was some rixh guys wet dream. As in he insisted on buikdijg it no matter what.

      There r some interesting attrsctions. But i dont know ots long term viability.

  3. The DreamWorks water park is fully open as of Oct. 1, 2020, as is a skating and ice hockey rink, mini golf and a 3-story, department store of candy, IT’SUGAR.

    • Itsugar candy store is interesting. Amazing how high end presentstion can work. Like how much candy can they have? Eskimo butterscotch?

      There is a diversity of venues on site. The wuestion is how long lease holders will eait.

  4. I like this concept of looking at negatively shrouded projects. Kudos to YIMBY!
    As for the mall, is it me or I thought the American Dream Mall was completed years ago? But yikes. Sixteen years of development for a mall? This is not good. And the amenities of this mall don’t sound very exciting either. I fear the American Dream Mall will become an American nightmare.

    • I agree that it’s a very good feature, and again Michael Young goes the extra mile with photography and renderings. Kudos.

  5. BrokerinBrooklyn | November 22, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Reply

    Triple 5 is owned by the Ghermezian family, and they owe something along the line of $2 billion to lenders just on the Mall Of America. Banks and investors are winding down forbearance agreements (like throwing good money after bad) and eating the loans for lunch. If they can sell these debt laden deals at all short term, it will likely be as a deed in lieu foreclosure which means a very short jarhead type haircut.

  6. Correction: The beautiful renderings in the article were done by GH+A design studios.

  7. Congrats American Dream Mall! I’m so happy for You! I’m from the NY NJ area! I was born in Newark,NJ! I come back home to Manhattan,NYC every year & I can’t wait to visit American Dream & explore the entire Mall even after it’s entirely completed & to ride the rides at Nickelodeon Universe,shop & eat & to have a great time there! I’m so excited!????❤??????????????????????????????????????????????⛲????✈?????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Dude its 3 million feet. It would take days. But it would be a great place to pick up babes. Only cost would be parking and high end fake mustache.

  8. Meanwhile China created 65 million new jobs in the last 6 years… China has 100 cities with a million people each.

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