The New York Jets and Giants and developers of a $2.9 billion retail and entertainment complex next to the New Jersey stadium where the football teams play settled lawsuits that had halted the project, Governor Chris Christie said.
Developers of the project, dubbed the American Dream, said it would be the world’s biggest shopping mall, with 7.5 million square feet of space and 55 million visitors annually. Holdups over financing, property control, litigation and labor contracts had stalled the project, formerly known as Xanadu, which began more than a decade ago.
The two National Football League franchises, which combined to build the $1.6 billion stadium that opened at the Meadowlands sports complex site in 2010, had claimed game-day operation of the mall would generate overwhelming traffic. The developers counter-sued for obstruction of their plans.
The three-way agreement involving the developers, the teams and the state calls for “a variety of mass transit and traffic improvements” to complement a traffic and parking management plan, particularly on game days, according to a statement issued today by Christie’s office.
Project plans can proceed immediately, the governor said.
The project’s facade of multicolored rectangles fronting the New Jersey Turnpike in East Rutherford -- about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Manhattan -- once led Christie, a second-term Republican, to call it “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey, and maybe America.”
Developer Triple Five, owner of the Mall of America in Minnesota, agreed with Christie in December 2010 to take over the project. The Giants and Jets sued the developer and the state in 2012 and again in 2013.
The project will include an enclosed amusement park, indoor water park, theater and the only indoor ski hill in North America. It’s expected to generate more than 11,000 jobs and tens of millions of dollars in sales and payroll taxes for New Jersey as well as revenue for Bergen County towns, according to Christie, whose administration pledged $390 million in tax credits to the developer.
In a telephone interview, Alan Marcus, a spokesman for the developer, estimated the cost at $2.9 billion. He said he didn’t have an expected opening date, and he had no breakdown on how the costs of the traffic improvements will be split.
A spokeswoman for the teams, Karen Kessler of Evergreen Partners Inc. in Warren, New Jersey, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the announcement.
Kessler and Marcus, in a joint statement, confirmed the accord, acknowledging the Christie administration’s role in resolving the dispute “for the benefit of all concerned, particularly the residents of the state of New Jersey.”
The teams’ case is New Meadowlands Stadium Co. v. Triple Five Group Ltd., BER-C-156-13, Bergen County, New Jersey, Superior Court, Chancery Division. The developers’ case is Ameream LLC v. New York Football Giants Inc., Bergen County, New Jersey, Superior Court, Law Division (Hackensack).