American Dream not going belly up: Developer works out mortgage
EAST RUTHERFORD — The developer of the American Dream entertainment and shopping complex in the Meadowlands has made a deal to keep the company financially afloat.
The 450 retailers at the complex located next to MetLife Stadium were on the verge of opening as the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March. Those plans came to a halt as Gov. Phil Murphy issued executive orders closing malls and indoor entertainment venues.
After 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.
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, is skeptical that the deal will help American Dream out of what he said was its fourth financial jam of the year.
"The people pushing for the American Dream have touted the success of the Mall of America. But how successful can they be if they keep having financial problems with the collateral that Triple Five is using to finance American Dream. If the Mall of America could almost go into foreclosure, what is going to happen to American Dream?" Tittel said in a written statement.
Mall of America is the largest mall in the country in terms of size as ranked by the International Council of Shopping Centers followed by King of Prussia Mall outside Philadelphia and then American Dream.
The pandemic affected retailers planning to locate to the mall including GNC, which announced plans to close 1,200 stores. At least one of the tenants is being sued by American Dream, which accuses Korean barbecue restaurant Dons Bogam of not taking steps toward opening.
The mall's website lists five pages of stores and restaurants opening in the mall including Century 21, Eddie Bauer, Primark, Ugg, Ultima, Walgreens and Zumiez. Only one permanent store, It's Sugar, is open along with Nickelodeon Universe, the indoor ski area Big Snow and an NHL-size ice rink.
No opening date is listed on the mall's website.
Previous reporting by Erin Vogt was included in this report.
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