‘Ugliest’ Building in New Jersey Seeks Financing Plan Changes

  • American Dream project includes indoor ski slope, theme park
  • Unfinished mall wants to sell debt through sports authority

The developer of the unfinished mega mall next to the New Jersey Meadowlands sports complex will seek next week to get state agencies to sign off on changes to its financing plan, the latest proposal after numerous delays for the project that started over a decade ago.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will hold a special meeting Tuesday to agree to take the place of East Rutherford, the site of the complex, as the seller of municipal bonds for the developer, Triple Five Group. The package then goes before the state’s Local Finance Board, which must approve the issuance for the venture called American Dream.

The American Dream mall in East Rutherford, on June 10, 2015.

Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg

"It’s a win for East Rutherford because we get all the financial benefit" while not dealing with selling the debt, said Mayor James Cassella Friday.

Plans for the mall about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Manhattan, near MetLife Stadium, include the country’s first indoor ski slope and a theme park. Previous developers had run out cash, leaving thousands of New Jersey commuters with a prominent view of a vacant colossus that Governor Chris Christie once called the “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey, and maybe America.”

In May, the financing proposal entailed $675 million of bonds backed by payments in lieu of taxes from Triple Five, after East Rutherford received its cut, and an additional debt offering of $350 million reliant on state tax breaks. It’s unclear if the size of the borrowings has changed since then. The complex by Edmonton, Alberta-based Triple Five was slated to open in 2017.

Debbie Patire, a spokeswoman for Triple Five, declined to comment.

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