January 20, 2021

New Jersey’s American Dream Mall Is Still Waiting to Fully Open

Ms. Washburn said there was very little transparency into the mall’s finances for bond investors to look at so it was difficult to obtain an accurate picture of its situation. “The disclosure is very poor,” she said.

Investors are also watching a $27 million debt payment that is due next month.

When asked whether the debt payment would be made, Mr. Ghermezian said, “We are working with our lenders on a regular basis to put a plan in place that allows the center to continue to flourish.” American Dream is also working out other payments, including those to East Rutherford, he said.

“Yes, there’s some money that is owed,” he said. “But again, not unlike any other developer in the country that has had their projects shut down across the board, we need to work as true partners with the municipalities, with lenders, with tenants, to make sure everyone is taking a fair position and fair share in how to manage this pandemic.”

Mr. Ghermezian said that Triple Five still intended to build out “a couple million more square feet” in the Meadowlands, with plans in place for a convention center and roughly 3,000 to 3,500 hotel rooms. The firm anticipates that once tourism recovers, people, especially families, visiting New York would stay at American Dream before traveling into the city.

Triple Five, which is named for three generations of the Ghermezian family and its five founders, is also continuing to pursue a similarly ambitious mall project in Miami, though perhaps at a slower pace than it did before Covid-19, Mr. Ghermezian said. While he acknowledged the challenges facing shopping centers, he said that projects like American Dream stood apart from typical malls and stores.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/business/american-dream-mall.html

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