Developers of Mall of America, Most Visited in the World, Sign Letter of Intent to Transform Meadowlands into Premier Entertainment and Retail Destination

Dec 23, 2010, 14:45 ET from Lender Group

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the consortium of lenders that own the debt on Meadowlands Xanadu ("Lender Group"), announced today that Triple Five, owner of Mall of America, has signed a letter of intent with the Lender Group, subject to final documentation, to revitalize the Meadowlands complex. The developer plans to transform the existing space into a premier tourism, entertainment and retail destination for New Jersey residents and tourists alike.

"I promised the people of Bergen County and the State of New Jersey that action would be taken to revitalize the complex at the Meadowlands and today I am delivering on that promise," stated Governor Chris Christie. "This administration fully supports the progress being made and will be a true partner at every step in transforming the Meadowlands from a financial and economic drain into a vibrant destination so that New Jerseyans can begin to reap the benefits of the job creation and much-needed tax revenues this project will provide."

"We're glad to have Triple Five's long-term investment in New Jersey and I am confident that the developers who created the most visited mall in the world, due to their vision and innovation, will transform the Meadowlands into New Jersey's very own Mall of America," concluded Governor Christie.

The announcement is the result of a more than four-month long review and negotiation process following the Lender Group's action in August to take control of the previously stalled complex and expedite its revitalization.

Jon F. Hanson, Chairman of the Governor's Advisory Commission on New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment, said "Solving this problem was a priority for the Governor, which is why we worked expeditiously to find a development group at the top of their game.  We're moving ahead with a defined, realistic plan to turn the complex at the Meadowlands into a real economic engine."

In 2011, the new developer will publicly unveil the company's specific plans for the project.

"Today's announcement follows an intensive and thorough process to select a developer that has the track record and expertise necessary to maximize the value of this development for all stakeholders," stated Michael Beckerman, spokesperson for the Lender Group. "This decision is a significant step forward in the realization of this project as a world-class entertainment and retail facility, and the Lender Group looks forward to finalizing a transaction with Triple Five and working with them to deliver on the original promise of the development as a premier visitor destination and significant economic catalyst for New Jersey."

The complex's opening is expected to generate thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in sales and payroll taxes for New Jersey, as well as significant revenue for municipalities in Bergen County through the PILOT program.

Triple Five is the owner of Mall of America in Minnesota and West Edmonton Mall in Canada, which attract a total of more than 60 million visitors annually, 50 percent of which travel more than 150 miles to visit the destinations.

"Building on the proven success of West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America, we are confident that Triple Five will transform the Meadowlands project into a world-class tourist destination. We have monitored the project since its inception and are uniquely positioned to complete the project and operate it successfully," stated Paul Ghermezian, Senior Vice President of Triple Five. "A successful entertainment destination will attract millions of locals and tourists to the area, create jobs and generate substantial tax revenues. In addition, this project will become a source of local pride."

"We applaud Governor Christie for his leadership and dedication to ensuring New Jersey's taxpayers and constituents realize the full benefit of this exciting project," Ghermezian concluded.

Triple Five owns and operates most of the non-retail venues in its shopping centers, including amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, miniature golf courses, hockey rinks, cinemas, concert event centre, specialty restaurants, live dinner theatres, hotels and more.

A trademark of Triple Five is effectively partnering with local, regional and federal governments to develop projects that meet the needs of the entire region. Working with leaders in Canada and the United States, the organization has helped to strengthen communities by contributing to the growth of other businesses. 

The Meadowlands project is a five-story retail and entertainment complex under construction in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Lender Group is being advised by Moelis & Company as financial advisor, as well as Sills Cummis & Gross and Weil Gotshal & Manges, LLP as legal counsel.

SOURCE Lender Group