Had American Dream “burned down,” it would have been better: exec

Star-crossed New Jersey project costs owners 49% stake in other mega malls

The American Dream mall (middle) with the Mall of America in Minnesota (left) and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada (right) (Getty, iStock)
The American Dream mall (middle) with the Mall of America in Minnesota (left) and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada (right) (Getty, iStock)

The nightmare continues for owners of New Jersey’s American Dream retail complex.

Facing a cash-flow crisis, the Ghermezian family is set to lose almost half of its stakes in two other mega malls: the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and Mall of America in Minnesota, according to Axios.

The family’s Triple Five Worldwide had used those malls as collateral to finance the $5 billion New Jersey project.
“It would have been much better if American Dream would have burned down or a hurricane had hit it, financially, because we would have been covered by insurance,” said Kurt Hagen, an executive at Triple Five, speaking in Bloomington, Minnesota. The comments were first reported by Axios.

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Located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, American Dream broke ground in 2004 and soon ran into financial trouble. The Ghermezians assumed ownership about a decade ago. The project was finally starting to come together when the pandemic hit.

Like other malls, American Dream closed for several months last year. It reported just $54 million in sales for the year, including $34 million in the fourth quarter after it reopened with capacity restrictions.

Hagen called the pandemic the “worst-case scenario imaginable.” But he said it’s unlikely the lenders want to seize full ownership, as they “have no interest in running a shopping mall.”

[Axios] — E.B. Solomont