Meadowlands towns say American Dream owes them at least $13M

Bloustein Local Government | News

Go to the American Dream mall in East Rutherford and you’ll see thousands of guests — riding on indoor roller coasters or water slides, zipping down an indoor ski slope, shopping in one of hundreds of stores or dining at one of the dozens of restaurants or fast casual eateries.

But the sprawling $5 billion retail and entertainment complex, built with more than $1 billion of state aid on prime state-owned real estate at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, isn’t technically fully “open,” and won’t be until it’s 100% leased.

Why no payments?

The delay in payments may be intentional, Marc Pfeiffer, assistant director at Rutgers University’s Bloustein Local Government Research Center, has said.

“What their revenue flow is going to be, what their cash flow is going to be, all of those things have been severely compromised by changes in the economy of the last five years,” including inflation and pandemic-related closures of amusement parks, retail, entertainment and restaurants — the mall’s bread and butter.

The lawsuits, and not paying back debts, “has the effect of buying them time, which gives them the opportunity to renegotiate things” more in the mall owners’ favor, Pfeiffer said., May 28, 2024