The project, formerly known as Xanadu, has been through numerous missed openings, three developers, five governors and a major retail contraction, earning it plenty of skeptics across the state.
“We know that the community has been eagerly awaiting the launch of this incredible global destination,” Don Ghermezian, the CEO of Triple Five, said in a statement. “We have a one-of-a-kind property that will reshape the way people think about entertainment, theme parks and shopping.”
The first phase of the mega-mall—located off the New Jersey Turnpike—will have an indoor ski lift, a National Hockey League-sized ice rink, a Nickelodeon-branded indoor amusement park, a miniature golf course and a DreamWorks-themed indoor water park, according to Triple Five. It will also have 1.5 million square feet of retail with brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermès and Barneys New York.
Triple Five has already missed a handful of opening dates for the center this year. There were plans to open the center in April, which were pushed back to summer, then fall.
“We’ve been told this story a gazillion times,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who criticized the up to $390 million in tax breaks offered to the developer by the state on Twitter, previously told Commercial Observer. “I gloss over these dates when they’re projected to open.”
Canadian-based Triple Five, founded by Jacob Ghermezian, is also behind the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall. It took over the Xanadu project in 2011 and renamed it the American Dream Mall. It restarted construction in 2014 with the goal of finishing it in time for Super Bowl XLVII that year, which was played in the adjacent MetLife Stadium. That deadline was abandoned when Triple Five had troubling nailing down the financing, as CO reported.
The mall was once called “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey, and maybe America” by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as NJ.com reported, due to its garish, multi-colored exterior which was repainted all white by Triple Five.