North America's First Indoor Ski Centre Opening At Troubled Former Xanadu New Jersey Site.
World-class developers Triple Five and resort operating group SNOW Operating are proud to announce North America's first 365 day a year indoor ski and Snowboard park, "Big Snow America," at American Dream New Jersey.
Standing 12-stories tall and spanning more than 180,000 square-feet, Big Snow America will offer year-round skiing, Snowboarding and Snow tubing, alongside indoor Snow play and event space. A collection of ski and Snowboard retail stores dubbed "The Shops @ Big Snow " will surround the Snow park. Offering customers the latest in equipment, accessories and fashion outerwear, the unique assortment of shops will provide a shopping experience unlike anything else.
"American Dream is the biggest and most exciting opportunity in the Snow business and we are really proud to be part of it. Big Snow America will redefine what is possible in terms of the skiing and Snowboarding guest experience. It is a dream come true to have the Snow Operating team manage Big Snow America. I have no doubt that American Dream will instantly become an iconic destination for the NY Metropolitan area and beyond," Joe Hession, CEO of Snow Operating.
The site has a troubled history. The project started in July 2002 with a request for proposal issued by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for a project to be built adjacent to the (then-named) Continental Airlines Arena. In February 2003, the authority's board chose a joint venture between the former Mills Corporation and the Mack-Cali realty corporation, in partnership with the Sports Complex's owner, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. The project was selected over alternatives proposed by Westfield and Hartz Mountain Industries.
The project was billed by Mills chairman and executive officer Laurence E. Siegel as "...a new standard for bringing lifestyle, recreation, sports and family entertainment offerings together in one location." Ground was broken on the complex on September 29, 2004, and, at the time, was expected to open two years later.
In November 2006, Colony Capital took control of the project from Mills Corp and pushed the projected opening to 2008.
In May 2009, construction on Xanadu, which was nearly 80% complete (and whose common areas were about 88% complete), came to a halt after a subsidiary of bankrupt Lehman Brothers missed payments, causing other lenders to withdraw from the project, and lost $500 million worth of construction funding. While developers stated the mall was 70% leased, it is unknown how many retailers stayed leased while the mall was delayed. In August 2009, Cabela's, a major anchor, announced that it did not plan to open its Meadowlands location until late 2010. Around the same time, the complex's website was relaunched with the new Xanadu Meadowlands name.
In 2010, Stephen Ross, owner of The Related Companies in Manhattan, stated that he could finish the project by the end of 2010, possibly with a new name and look. In May 2010, the NJSEA handed the project over to the Related Companies, and the "Xanadu" name had been dropped, changing the name to "The Meadowlands".
On August 10, 2010, Colony Capital surrendered control of the development of the mall to five lenders. A special governor's commission on the state's gaming and entertainment industry is filed recommendations to Governor of New Jersey. Four parties were noted to be interested in redeveloping the project. The Wall Street Journal on December 24, 2010, reported that Triple Five Group signed a letter of intent to invest in and finish the stalled mall. Triple Five proposed that the mall be expanded to include indoor amusement and water parks. Developers cut a deal with Deutsche Bank to provide an approximately $700 million loan to finish the project.
On February 1, 2011, after a record-breaking month of snow for the area, a 50 to 60-foot long section of the eastern wall had buckled and a horizontal crease was apparent on the complex's indoor ski slope. Two days later, on February 3, after workers were attempting to melt snow from the ski slope's roof, ice build-up caused the eastern wall to fail and suffer a partial collapse along an approximately 150-foot (50 m) length of roof. Michael Beckerman, a spokesman for the project’s then lending group stated, "the Lender Group is aware of the damage to the roof caused by excessive snow and ice, but does not feel the damage affects the integrity of the structure. As such, the group has filed an insurance claim, and once the weather turns warmer, it will assess the damages and fix whatever is necessary."
The appearance of the structure has also raised eyebrows. Former Acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey was quoted in the New York Times as calling the structure "yucky-looking". Although the facility has been renamed, Outspoken New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is on record as saying it's “an offense to the eyes as you drive up the turnpike" and that “It’s by far the ugliest damn building in New Jersey, and maybe America.” The exterior will be repainted in a different colour scheme as part of Triple Five's ownership
Guests at Big Snow America will experience what life at a big mountain resort is like, complete with equipment rentals, lessons, ski chalet, shopping village and après ski lounge. Big Snow America will offer guest experience packages for all ability levels, taking advantage of Snow Operating's award-winning Terrain Based Learning methods and utilizing the most cutting-edge ski and Snowboard technologies and equipment.
"We are thrilled to team up with the best in the business. If you are a ski or Snowboard enthusiast you have been to one of Snow’s partner mountains such as Killington, Aspen or Whistler. Whether learning to ski or Snowboard, testing out the latest equipment, or just having fun - Big Snow America will deliver an experience like no other. Big Snow America together with our indoor DreamWorks waterpark, theme park and other first class attractions is what will make American Dream a true destination for locals and tourists alike," Don Ghermezian, President Triple Five.
American Dream, a world-class destination, is being developed by Triple Five Group of Companies, owners of the two largest shopping and entertainment centers in North America – Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall.
American Dream, is approximately 3 million square feet. American Dream will redefine the customer experience in shopping and leisure with a unique combination of retail, dining, entertainment and attractions - all in one location. Anchor retail tenants Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor -- along with over 450 retail, food and specialty shops -- are complimented by North America's largest fully-enclosed indoor DreamWorks Water Park, Amusement Park and the 12-story Big Snow America Indoor Ski & Snow park; a 1,500 seat live Performing Arts Theater; 285-foot tall Observation Wheel; luxury movie theatres by Cinemex; Sea Life Aquarium & Lego Discovery Center; NHL-size Ice Rink; and an 18-hole miniature golf course. The center also features The Collections, a 460,000 square foot separate and distinct shopping environment, featuring Hermes and other luxury brands from around the globe. The Dining Terrace showcases an assortment of fifteen full-service restaurants, in a park like setting, where the culinary options will please even the most discriminating palate.
American Dream is located in New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex at the intersection of three major highways – I-95, Route 3, Route 120 - that service over 100 Million vehicles annually. American Dream is in the heart of the New York Metropolitan area with over 21 million residents and 58 million domestic and international tourists annually. The project is serviced by three of the largest airports in the US – Newark, LaGuardia and JFK International with 117 million travelers annually and is connected by rail service in and out of Penn Station New York
Snow Operating is a company that was founded with a mission to help grow the ski and Snowboard industry. They are widely renowned as authorities in resort operation and for using the latest advancements in technique and technology to provide the highest levels of resort guest experiences. Through a process-driven approach they work with their partners to maximize profitability while focusing on improving the guest experience.