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Another step forward for American Dream megamall project

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The agency in charge of the Meadowlands Sports Complex moved today to acquire land that would house new water and amusement parks alongside the defunct Xanadu site, another step to help a developer reboot the project as American Dream Meadowlands.

At its monthly meeting, the state Sports and Exposition Authority board voted to take control of the 22-acre site, which currently houses three unused radio towers. The authority plans to lease the site back to developer Triple Five, its current owner, to reflect the lease for the rest of the sprawling, unfinished retail and entertainment complex.

"It's the next step that we need to move the project forward," Ralph J. Marra, the authority's senior vice president for legal and governmental affairs, said today.

The agency continues to move forward despite a legal challenge by the New York Giants and Jets, which have sought to block the expansion over concerns it would cripple game-day traffic around MetLife Stadium. Triple Five, the owner of Minnesota's Mall of America, has long said the project is not economically viable without the parks, and the expansion plans won a key endorsement last month from the sports authority.

The teams' lawsuit is still pending, and their attorneys are now attacking the agency's review of the project. But the Edmonton, Canada-based developer and the NJSEA have appeared ready to forge ahead after a decade of legal and financial delays.

"Over the course of the next few months, the board will be adopting a lot of resolutions that will incrementally keep advancing this project," said Wayne Hasenbalg, the sports authority's president and CEO. "This is one of those — this is really a follow-up to the resolution we adopted at our last special meeting."

The new indoor parks would bring the project size to about 2.8 million square feet of retail and entertainment space.

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