New Jersey’s American Dream mall is a financial nightmare

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the mall’s viability

New York /
Jun.June 30, 2020 03:45 PM
American Dream mall

American Dream mall

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for the American Dream mall in the Meadowlands.

Six months after the mall closed its recently opened doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, the bonds funding the project have decreased in value, according to NJ.com.

A year ago, the $1 billion worth of bonds on the project were trading at $120 apiece and yielding 4.25 percent, but as of April they’ve dropped to $93.72 with a 7.5 percent yield.

Owner Triple Five Group, headed by the Ghermezian family, in June missed its third consecutive $7 million payment on the $1.4 billion mortgage for the Mall of America in Minnesota, which is being used as collateral for the American Dream mall.

At the same time, contractors have filed liens for more than $13 million in unpaid work at the New Jersey complex, which totals about 3 million square feet.

On top of that, American Dream has lost several tenants and prospective tenants since the pandemic hit, including Lord & Taylor and Barney’s. Nutritional supplement retailer GNC and CMX Cinemas filed for bankruptcy. GNC already announced it plans to close its American Dream location.

Triple Five hasn’t released any reopening plans for the mall, which partially opened less than a year ago after 18 years of starts and stops. The pandemic forced it to close just as it was preparing to open 60 to 100 more stores, restaurants and a water park.

Some stakeholders are optimistic though. State Assemblymember Gary Schaer hopes that Triple Five’s decision to emphasize entertainment will help it recover if it does reopen.

“The Ghermezian family recognized that this mall could not be primarily retail and secondarily entertainment because of changes in society vis-à-vis brick-and-mortar stores and mail order,” he said. [NJ.com] — Dennis Lynch


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