Triple Five Group is still planning to move forward with its American Dream mega mall in Miami-Dade, even as the Canadian development group is staring down billions of dollars of debt payments for its other malls.
Triple Five, led by the Ghermezian family, completed a land swap with the Graham Companies for 40 acres near the site of the American Dream Mall, near Miami Lakes in northwest Miami-Dade County. No money was exchanged in the land swap, which was part of a previous agreement between the two companies in 2014.
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr who represents Triple Five Group, said the developer is “moving forward and inching closer to the date when we can break ground.”
Diaz de la Portilla said the plans for the American Dream have not changed despite the impacts of the pandemic. He said Triple Five is looking to get administrative site plan approval from Miami-Dade County in the fall.
“On our end, everyone is optimistic in terms of retail and in terms of the economy that things will turn around,” said Diaz de la Portilla.
In May 2018, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted to rezone nearly 174 acres in unincorporated northwest Miami-Dade that will allow Triple Five to build 3.5 million square feet of retail space, a massive theme park and 2,000 hotel rooms on a vacant triangle between I-75 and the Florida Turnpike’s Homestead Extension. Plans for the retail development include a 16-story indoor ski slope, a 20-slide water park, a 14-screen 3-D movie theater, and a performing arts center representing 2.7 million square feet of entertainment and common space.
Triple Five originally acquired much of the land for the project from the Graham Companies.
Triple Five opened the Mall of America in East Rutherford, New Jersey off the New Jersey Turnpike in October, but had to shut down in March over coronavirus. Triple Five made headlines recently for missing two payments on its $1.4 billion mortgage for Mall of America in Minnesota, which has been sent to special servicing, according to Bloomberg. In total, the group’s mall properties have about $5 billion in debt.
Graham Companies, which developed Miami Lakes, is seeking to build a mixed-use development at the site adjacent to American Dream Mall. The company’s previous plans for the site include developing 2,000 rental apartments, one million square feet of retail stores and a business park spanning three million square feet.