EAST RUTHERFORD — Back in 2002, plans were unveiled for a entertainment mega-complex to be built in the Meadowlands that was called Xanadu.

The project, which stalled several times and was once called the ugliest building in America because of its odd shaped dimensions and dizzying color schemes, was finally taken over by a new developer and renamed American Dream.

Triple Five Group, which operates several properties including the gigantic Mall of America near Minneapolis, has announced American Dream will be opening by late summer, but they haven’t said exactly when, and a spokesperson for the developer has declined to offer any other specific information.

Nevertheless, Michelle Vernuccio, the president of the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce is thrilled. She said American Dream will not only create thousands of jobs, it will also provide a wonderful attraction for people across the region.

A rendering of the American Dream complex in the Meadowlands.

“Whether it’s from jobs from the retail to internally, I mean the maintenance and all that other good stuff — this is a big, huge development. It’s like a university.”

Vernuccio said once the place opens, people will flock to it.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity, whether it’s shopping or dining or entertainment in conjunction with the available jobs, I think it’s going to be something worthwhile," she said.

A rendering of the American Dream complex in the Meadowlands.

Vernuccio said after all this time, Garden State residents are definitely expecting something exciting.

“From a marketing standpoint, that’s something that has kept us on our feet," she said. "This better be something that is worthwhile for everyone to attend.”

She noted traffic around the attraction may be quite heavy, especially when it first opens.

 

American Dream will offer dozens of attractions including an indoor ski slope, a giant water park, a skating rink, a massive Ferris wheel and a kiddie amusement park as well as more than 250 stores and restaurants.

A rendering of the American Dream complex in the Meadowlands.

She noted while it’s not clear yet what parking will cost at American Dream, that won’t really matter for most folks.

“We all live under these lives of stress and depression and pressure and something like that may be a sense of relief. I do kind of see it being like a one-stop shop, where there’s going to be something there for every part of the family.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com