Skip Barber Racing School to Open Go-Kart Facility at American Dream Mall


A 40,000-square-foot, indoor go-kart facility is opening at American Dream mall.

The Skip Barber Racing School signed a lease to open its first indoor go-karting academy at Triple Five Group’s 3.1 million-square-foot megamall in East Rutherford, N.J., the developer announced.

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A spokesperson for Triple Five declined to provide details on the lease.

The racing school — which was founded in the 1970s by former racecar driver John “Skip” Barber — offers lessons at tracks around the country for motorsports, including NASCAR  and the IndyCar series, according to its website. It will be the brand’s first go-kart facility and an opening date has not yet been announced.

“At American Dream, we always strive to provide unparalleled experiences for our guests and have teamed up with best-in-class partners to ensure we meet this goal,” Don Ghermezian, CEO of American Dream, said in a statement. “This is why we are thrilled to welcome one of the top names in racing to design a unique karting experience that our guests can enjoy year-round.”

The massive American Dream mall opened in 2019 — after nearly two decades and three developers — but was forced to close six months later because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It reopened in October with a DreamWorks-themed indoor waterpark, miniature golf, an indoor ski slope, a Nickelodeon-themed indoor amusement park, and some shopping. Ghermezian also told CNBC last year that Triple Five switched the project from 55 percent entertainment and 45 percent retail to 70 percent entertainment and 30 percent retail to help survive a post-pandemic world.

While shoppers have been flocking to what’s now the second-largest mall in the country, questions remain if they’ll be enough return visitors and Triple Five is still carrying $5 billion in debt, mainly due to American Dream mall’s construction.

The cash problems are likely to cause Triple Five to lose its 49 percent interest in the Mall of America​​ in Minnesota and West Edmonton Mall in Canada, because it used them as collateral for a $1.2 billion construction loan to build American Dream. 

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at