American Dream megamall builds toward spring 2019 opening

BY Brenda Flanagan, Senior Correspondent |

Tiers of open construction towered in the heat — the skeletons of a theme park, a water park, an ice-skating rink and retail shops. With its opening deadline only months away, American Dream’s developers invited cameras inside the hulking $5 billion amusement mall it’s building in the Meadowlands. It almost upstaged the main event, which was a celebration of union workers ahead of Labor Day. One thousand seven hundred construction workers were on site at this point in time, and that number will more than double in fall.

“For many, this American Dream has been a dream long-deferred,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “But because of the work of Triple Five, county and local leaders and the men and women of organized labor, it is a dream that is finally coming to fruition.”

Developer Triple Five took over a project derided as a 15-year-old failed eyesore and says it’s now 68 percent complete. Arches will eventually enclose the DreamWorks water park. The purple roller coaster will be a big attraction at Nickelodeon’s theme park.

“It goes up, it goes through the roof, it tips you toward Lower Manhattan for an eye view, and then it drops you upside down before it spins you around,” said Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Kirkos.

The 4.5 million square foot complex will feature lots more entertainment and shopping. It’s expected to draw an estimated 30 to 40 million visitors a year to an area already oversaturated with congested traffic.

“We’re working on bus lines. We’re working on amping up the rail routes — close partners with transit on that to get it locked up and squared away for day one opening,” said Lincoln Palsgrove, vice president of communications for American Dream.

Triple Five says the retail spaces are 82 percent leased and that the project will open on time in spring 2019.