The Real Deal Miami

Triple Five expects to finish N.J. mall while developing American Dream Miami

Area malls opposed to the American Dream Miami mega-mall call the stalled New Jersey project "a cautionary tale"

Rendering of American Dream Miami

A lawyer representing Triple Five, the developer of American Dream Miami, said the mega-mall project is advancing while Triple Five tries to resume construction of a New Jersey mall with the same name.

Triple Five last year stopped construction of the American Dream Meadowlands in northeastern New Jersey, which could derail plans to open the mall in 2018.

But Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a land use lawyer who represents Triple Five, told the Miami Herald the development of American Dream Miami is moving forward on a 200-acre site in northwestern Miami-Dade County. Diaz de la Portilla told the Herald that 250 people are working on American Dream Miami “right now as we speak.”

He also told the newspaper that Eskandar Ghermezian, the leader of family-owned Triple Five, expects the real estate development firm to finish construction of American Dream Meadowlands.

Diaz de la Portilla said Ghermezian is financing the New Jersey mall development while awaiting a bond sale to pay for its construction. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority was supposed to sell the long-delayed $1.15 billion bond issue.

Large South Florida malls including Sawgrass Mills, Dolphin Mall and Bayside Marketplace have formed a coalition called the South Florida Taxpayers Alliance to oppose the development of American Dream Miami. The mega-mall would span six million square feet and would rank as the largest shopping mall in the nation, a $3 billion development big enough to feature submarine rides and indoor snow skiing.

The stalled New Jersey mall development “presents a cautionary tale for Miami-Dade,” the coalition of Miami-area malls said in a prepared statement. “Despite receiving over a billion dollars in public subsidies, construction has stalled, job and economic development promises remain unmet, and what started like a dream has turned into a true nightmare for that community.”

Triple Five opened the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, in 1992, and American Dream Meadowlands was supposed to be the company’s second shopping theme park in the United States. Triple Five has been working on the New Jersey mall development since 2010 and American Dream Miami since 2015.

The South Florida Regional Planning Council recently voted to submit to state regulators Triple Five’s application to build the proposed American Dream Miami shopping mall. The advisory council’s unanimous vote pushed the big mall project a step closer to a decisive vote by the Miami-Dade County Commission to change the county’s comprehensive master plan for development to accommodate American Dream Miami. [Miami Herald]Mike Seemuth