American Dream Woes Likely to Cause Triple Five to Lose Stake in Mall of America

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The American Dream mall is keeping up its reputation as an American nightmare.

The owner of the 3.1 million-square-foot East Rutherford, N.J., mega-mall, Triple Five Group, could lose nearly half of its stakes in its Mall of America in Minnesota and West Edmonton Mall in Canada to its lenders because of American Dream’s struggles, Axios first reported.

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A spokesperson for Triple Five did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Triple Five could lose a 49 percent interest in the malls, because it used them as collateral for a $1.2 billion construction loan to build the long-delayed American Dream mall, which has faced cash problems due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The $5 billion New Jersey mall — which includes retail, an indoor amusement park and water park, and a 16-story indoor ski slope — finally opened in 2019 after nearly two decades of construction and three developers, but COVID-19 threw yet another wrench into the project.

Triple Five, owned by the Ghermezian family, was forced to close on March 16 as stay-at-home measures were put in place around New Jersey. It finally reopened in October but has faced cash flow problems, forcing it to miss payments.

Kurt Hagen, an executive at Triple Five, told Bloomington, Minn., officials that Triple Five was “likely” to lose the stakes in the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall, Bloomberg reported.

“It would have been much better if American Dream would have burned down or a hurricane had hit it, financially, because we would have been covered by insurance,” Hagen said, according to Bloomberg. “This pandemic that we didn’t see coming has not been covered and was the worst scenario imaginable.”

Even with the pandemic, the American Dream mall reported $54 million in sales in 2020, with $39 million in the fourth quarter alone, according to Bloomberg.