The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating story Wednesday about Triple Five Group apparently cutting a deal with Deutsche Bank AG to provide a loan totalling about $700 million to jumpstart the troubled America Dream Meadowlands megamall.
Triple Five, of course, is the Canadian-based owner of the Mall of America in Bloomington. The Meadowlands mall in northern New Jersey was originally called Xanadu and was envisioned as a giant megaretail complex. But stalled in 2009 and has sat idle ever since.
Triple Five's Ghermezian family is actually the third developer to try to make the 3 million-square-foot behemoth work, getting involved in 2010. Investors have already sunk $1.9 billion into the project, the Journal reports. Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said Deutsche Bank's infusion will go a long way towards funding the needed $1.7 billion-plus needed to complete the complex.
The project plans an amusement park and indoor ski slope, in addition to a shopping mall. Triple Five also plans to "take control of the site within weeks from a group of onetime lenders," the report states.
If successful, Triple Five plans to import the retail-entertainment template used at the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall, the Journal said.
A Triple Five official is quoted saying there are lots of malls in New Jersey, but this one, if realized, will fill a niche for tourists and shoppers in search of entertainment, as well.
But retail guru Paco Underhill sniffed: How many IMAX theaters are needed within a 10-mile radius?
Here is an update on the Mall of America's renovations.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.