Triple Five plans to sell $800 million of tax-exempt municipal bonds next week to help complete the American Dream mega mall in New Jersey.
The deal, the largest sale of unrated municipal bonds this year, will be managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. The bonds are backed by payments in lieu of property taxes. Triple Five stand to receive $350 million in grants from New Jersey if the project meets sales-tax revenue targets.
The mall project has had a tortuous path. Construction began in 2004, with Triple Five taking over in 2011 after the original developer ran out of funds.
Triple Five are best known for their two North American malls – the West Edmonton Mall® in Alberta and Mall of America® in Minnesota. With an indoor theme park and waterpark as well as other retailtainment options, Mall of American is the most popular attraction in the US, welcoming 40 million visitors a year with an average stay of 2.5 days.
The 2.9 million square-foot (270,000 square-meter) American Dream mall will include over 450 retailers and restaurants as well as the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park; the world’s largest indoor DreamWorks Waterpark; the first indoor ski and snowboard park in the Western hemisphere; a Cirque du Soleil performing arts theatre; an NHL sized ice rink; a SEALIFE and LEGOLAND Discovery Center, cinemas and miniature golf.
In a recent exclusive interview with Blooloop, Don Ghermezian, President of Triple Five, confirmed that current plans are to open American Dream by November 2018, adding, “We are over 75 percent fully leased now, which is an incredible number, considering the challenging retail environment.
“American Dream in New Jersey will be our flagship model. Over 50 percent of the project is entertainment and experiential leisure. We are not as heavily dependent on retail as all the other retail environments or shopping centres in the country.”
Bloomberg reports that the total cost of the project is estimated at $2.8 billion, which will be covered by the tax-exempt bonds, $500 million from the developer, payments from tenants and nearly $1.7 billion in loans from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Images: Triple Five