Armlin and Triple Five Worldwide chief operating officer Paul Ghermezian spoke during a luncheon at the Bergen Business Expo, telling the room full of Bergen County businesspeople what’s in store for the much awaited project.
“We are much more like Disney than we are anything like a retail shopping center. People come and visit us for days,” said Armlin.
While Triple Five’s other projects West Edmonton Mall in Alberta and Mall of America in Minnesota are 20 percent entertainment and 80 percent retail, American Dream Meadowlands will be 55 percent entertainment and 45 percent retail.
“The potential is tremendous to bring new money and new dollars to the area,” Armlin said.
American Dream Meadowlands is projected to generate $148 million of new income yearly and will create over 16,000 jobs through its retail and entertainment facets.
Retailers within the mall are required to have a flagship component, whether it’s with unique products or a unique in-store experience. Entertainment options offered by American Dream Meadowlands will include an indoor ski hill, a permanent Cirque du Soleil venue with its own show, one of the largest indoor water parks in the world, a Legoland, an indoor NHL sized hockey rink, a luxury movie theatre, and an observation wheel akin to the London Eye.
Regional hotel owners could be in for a treat. Future plans for American Dream include a hotel, and Ghermezian explained what Mall of America has done to the lodging business in Minnesota.
“One of the things we’ve found is that our centers create their own demand, and that the demand always spills over to the region,” Armlin said. “Over the last couple years, we’ve added over 1,000 rooms at Mall of America, but around us they’ve added at least double or triple times that. What ends up happening is we fill up our rooms and we bring up the average rate per room for the area.”
Currently, 80 percent of the retail space is leased and 60 percent of the construction is complete, according to Armlin. By September, 3,000 people will be working on the construction, he said.