The New American Dream

New Jersey megamall opens after more than 20 years in development

The complex, which does not open fully until next spring, includes a theme park, ice rink, waterpark, ski slope, and more than 500 retail stores. (Courtesy Triple Five)

Wrapping up two decades in the making, the first phase of North America’s newest megamall has opened to the public today. The American Dream complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, offers 4.5 million square feet of space for retail, dining, and entertainment. While phase one presents a limited number of attractions, they are beyond what you might expect from a shopping mall; its Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park features more than 35 rides and rollercoasters while the NHL-regulation-size skating rink offers ample space for hockey games and figure skating.

Later phases of American Dream, with openings staggered from next month through spring 2020, include the DreamWorks Water Park, which boasts over 40 waterslides and the world’s largest wave pool. The long-awaited Big SNOW, an indoor snow park, will allow guests to hit the slopes any day of the year. More than 500 retail shops will be the final installment, slated to open in March. However, the shops will only be open six days per week due to Bergen County’s series of “blue laws,” which have been in place for centuries and prohibit shopping on Sundays.

The timeline of American Dream traces back to 1996 when business developer The Mills Corp. proposed a shopping and entertainment complex on the land parcel. After numerous changes in ownership, Alberta-based Triple Five Group, which owns and operates the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, completed the $5-billion project.

The complex is located five miles west of Manhattan, and American Dream offers ferry service as well as NJ Transit hubs on-site in addition to its 33,000 parking spaces. AN is set to visit the site soon and will follow up this article with an official review.

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