Las Vegas-based developer Triple Five Worldwide Development Co. expects to announce its construction team for the long-stalled $2.2-billion American Dream Meadowlands project as early as first quarter of 2014, a Triple Five spokesman says. Construction would start soon after and take 18 to 24 months to complete, says Alan Marcus, president and CEO of the Marcus Group, Little Falls, N.J., which represents Triple Five.
About 80% of the East Rutherford retail and amusement project, formerly known as Xanadu, is completed, but design changes to the facade are being made, Marcus says. Triple Five also plans to build a 639,000-sq-ft amusement and water park adjacent to the retail component. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) estimates that the project will result in about 5,810 temporary construction jobs.
The project, which began in 2006, stalled in 2009 and has been plagued by numerous financial and legal issues. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority owns the site, which has changed developers twice and was surrendered to its lenders before Triple Five took over development in 2011.
The site's nearby neighbors at MetLife Stadium—the New York Jets and Giants franchises—sued the developer last year, citing such issues as greater traffic congestion. Triple Five has countersued the football franchises, however, claiming that they are trying to further delay the project.
Marcus says that the lawsuits will not stop construction. "There is no injunction against construction in those suits," he says, adding that there are ongoing settlement discussions between both parties.
To help finance the deal, EDA recently awarded Triple Five a $390-million tax break for the project. The state also recently made way for two bond issues related to the project totaling about $825 million.
The financing is part of a $1.75-billion overall package that includes commercial and tax-exempt financing as well as developer contributions, Marcus says.