American Dream in Meadowlands reopens Oct. 1: Here’s what to expect
EAST RUTHERFORD — The American Dream entertainment and shopping complex will reopen Oct. 1 after being closed for more than six months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The mega mall's retailers had been scheduled to begin opening in the late winter before Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order in March shutting malls. Murphy allowed malls to reopen in July and indoor amusements centers to open on Tuesday.
The indoor ski area Big SNOW is the only attraction or retailer open at the facility. It will be joined by DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe, Out of this World Blacklight mini golf and the mall's NHL-sized ice rink.
H&M, Primark and Zara will be among the complex's retailers that will open for the first time. A mall spokeswoman did not respond to a question asking how many other of the complex's 450 retailers and 100 restaurants were expected to open. The only retailer that had opened pre-pandemic was the three-level It'Sugar candy store.
Seventeen stores have been issued certificates of occupancy and are ready to open, state Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman Gina Trish confirmed to New Jersey 101.5:
- Century 21
- Mac Cosmetics
- Pink-Victoria’s Secret
- Sunglass Hut
NJ.com was first to report the retailers that had been issued certificates.
"We know that our community has been waiting to return but it was important to us that we took the proper time and precautions needed to welcome guests back in the safest possible manner," CEO Mark Ghermezian said in a written statement.
The retail landscape has changed during the pandemic with Lord & Tayor, which was to have a store at the complex, closing all its stores. GNC included the American Dream location on its list of stores closing.
Trish said the amusement rides that are already permitted and had been operating do not require re-inspection to reopen.
"However a DCA team will be on site to reinspect as part of the standard operating procedure for amusement facilities," Trish said.
The mall will follow state guidelines upon reopening with reduced capacity and will require all visitors to wear face coverings. Social distancing markers and plexiglass barriers will be set up in the complex with hand sanitizer stations throughout the mall
The mall's developer, Triple Five Group, saw revenue drop as its malls closed. The company went three months without making full mortgage payments on its flagship Mall of America in Minneapolis.
Adding to the Canadian developer's problems was that it pledged 49% of its equity interests in West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America as collateral to finance American Dream.
The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reports that its loan was turned over to special servicing by CWCapital Asset Management in May, which has now created a cash-management agreement with Triple Five.