The reopening of the American Dream retail and entertainment complex in East Rutherford comes with requirements and protocols such as mandatory face coverings, reduced capacities throughout the facility and increased sanitizing and disinfecting throughout its common areas and attractions. — Courtesy: Triple Five Group
By Joshua Burd
The American Dream complex in East Rutherford will reopen Oct. 1, nearly six months after the coronavirus crisis dealt yet another setback to the massive retail and entertainment venue.
Developer and owner Triple Five Group announced Thursday that it will welcome guests back to indoor attractions such as DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe, Out of This World Blacklight Mini Golf and The Rink. Concurrently, it will debut a portion of its retail roster with the opening of H&M, Primark and ZARA.
The reopening comes with requirements and protocols such as mandatory face coverings, reduced capacities throughout the facility and increased sanitizing and disinfecting throughout its common areas and attractions.
“We’d like to thank Governor Murphy, his administration, the New Jersey Department of Health, our legislative delegation, County Executive Jim Tedesco and his team and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for their collective efforts throughout this process to get to a safe reopening,” said Don Ghermezian, co-CEO at American Dream.
The 3 million-square-foot venue, part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex on Route 3, has grappled with a long list of delays and missteps since it was conceived more than 15 years ago. Triple Five faced additional hurdles after taking over what was the failed, partially built Xanadu project in 2011, but managed to open the first piece of its entertainment offerings last fall
In mid-March, American Dream announced it would delay the opening of its retailers and shut down entirely as the COVID-19 outbreak escalated and as Gov. Phil Murphy ordered malls and other nonessential businesses to close. Over the next several months, rumors swirled about Triple Five’s ability to make its mortgage payments on the project and on its flagship property, the Mall of America in Minnesota.
The developer said it has crafted a COVID-19 health and safety plan that follows guidelines from state and local government agencies, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The protocols were built in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, American Dream’s primary health care partner.
“American Dream is an economic imperative for the Greater Meadowlands region and the entire New Jersey economy,” said Jim Kirkos, CEO and president of the Meadowlands Chamber. “The opening and success of this world class facility makes the Meadowlands a primary destination which will provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact for communities.
“American Dream generates huge visitation for the region, filling hotels and in turn drives visitors to other local destinations. American Dream will be the economic engine for the Meadowlands Sports Complex, helping us attract the world’s most notable events. New Jersey needs American Dream to help revive its economy in a post-COVID-19 era.”
Triple Five detailed a reopening plan that also includes hand sanitizer stations and hygiene reminders that will be installed throughout the property, along with physical distancing guidance, including ground markings, plexiglass barriers and touchless programming.
“We also want to thank our guests and team members for their patience and loyalty while we were closed,” said Mark Ghermezian, co-CEO at American Dream. “We know that our community has been waiting to return, but it was important to us that we took the proper time and precautions needed to welcome guests back in the safest possible manner.
“The last several months have been difficult for everyone, and even though we are still adjusting to the new normal, we are confident that we can provide guests a safer environment to make dreams come true for everyone, everywhere, as well as create much needed job opportunities in New Jersey.”
Big SNOW, American Dream’s indoor ski slope, opened Sept. 1. Triple Five said it expects to make announcements about additional openings and new experiences in the near future. In the meantime, it has asked guests to book their experiences in advance of their visit.