EAST RUTHERFORD — The biggest mall complex in New Jersey lost money in its first full year of operation, according to a financial report.

Located in the Meadowlands, American Dream is home to numerous big-name attractions including the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, the DreamWorks Water Park, and the Big Snow ski slopes. But even Spongebob could not keep mall owner Triple Five Group out of the red.

TFG reported generating $173 million in revenues last year. That's almost $60 million short of its total expenses of $232.4 million for 2021.

American Dream has struggled since it first opened fully in October 2020.

The openings of most major retailers and amusement attractions at American Dream were delayed due to statewide mandates closures. Along with the pandemic giving tourists and customers cold feet, a fire at Big Snow last September closed several stores through Memorial Day weekend.

Fire trucks respond to the fire at Big SNOW 9/25/21
Fire trucks respond to the fire at Big SNOW 9/25/21 (Moonachie Fire Department)
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A forecast from 2017 projected that the complex would bring in $2 billion in sales for its first full year of operation in 2021, Bloomberg reported. Sales at American Dream last year reportedly reached $305 million, or just 15 percent of the projected amount.

Despite underperforming for the year overall, sales steadily rose throughout 2021. Gross sales in the first quarter were $61.3 million, increased each quarter, and eventually reached $82.4 million in the fourth quarter.

Last year's $60 million loss is not the first sign of financial issues for the American Dream's owner.

In February, TFG asked its lenders for a four-year extension to pay off a $1.7 billion in construction financing, Bloomberg reported. The request came less than two years after the conglomerate did not make full mortgage payments on its flagship Mall of America in Minneapolis for three months straight.

American Dream Mall (Photo Credit: American Dream)
American Dream Mall (Photo Credit: American Dream)
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Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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9 things New Jersey would rather ban than plastic bags

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

New Jersey's new legislative districts for the 2020s

Boundaries for the 40 legislative districts for the Senate and Assembly elections of 2023 through 2029, and perhaps 2031, were approved in a bipartisan vote of the Apportionment Commission on Feb. 18, 2022. The map continues to favor Democrats, though Republicans say it gives them a chance to win the majority.