Retailtainment destination, American Dream, closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the mega mall development has shifted to include more entertainment and less retail space.
American Dream developer, Triple Five Group, has said that the mall will now have roughly 70% entertainment space and only 30% retail space. Previously, it was meant to have 55% entertainment and 45% retailers.
Retail will struggle
This huge reduction in retail space is a time of the signs. In an interview with CNBC, Don Ghermezian, co-CEO of American Dream said that “a lot of retailers aren’t going to reopen” after the pandemic is over. For retailers who were just surviving, this continued lack of income will signal the end for them. Ghermezian expects “there will be records set for retailers’ closing [in 2020].” However, Ghermezian did say that no retailers have backed out of the development yet.
Even American Dream has been impacted financially by the global pandemic. American Dream has fuloughed “most staff” and cut salaries of others. Ghermezian admits that “this has cost us a lot of money.” And he is hopeful for the future, saying that “we are going to come out of this super strong…really strong on the entertainment side.”
Increasing entertainment offerings
Whilst this is an uncertain time for retail, it gives American Dream a chance to rethink what the mall is going to be. The development was not fully leased and so it is now able to create more entertainment offerings. American Dream will now have a trampoline park and Instagram museums where people can explore themed rooms with props, according to Ghermezian.
Ghermezian believes that people “will be so stir crazy” once they are finally able to leave their homes again. Whilst there “will be some tepidation” at first, he has hope that “we are going to have so many people” visit in search of new entertainment.
Furthermore, there are plans to add 3,500 hotel rooms with direct access to the mall. This will allow visitors from further away to stay over and fully explore the site. With a Nickelodeon theme park and DreamWorks Animation Water Park, there is likely to be plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained.
Originally slated to open in November 2019, the DreamWorks Animation Water Park was postponed to March 19 2020. There is currently no new reopening date.