Once Known As Xanadu, The Mall Project Dates Back 10 Years

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A long-delayed megamall project in the Meadowlands has taken a major step forward.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority approved a new master plan Friday on the American Dream mall which includes a Hollywood-themed amusement and water park, along with about 300 retail stores and high-end dining.

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“This is going to be a very, very exciting place,” Triple Five spokesman Alan Marcus said.

The board also approved plans for 22 more acres added on to house indoor amusement and water parks along with the theaters and observation wheel.

“Much like the Eye of London, we have the indoor ski slope,” Marcus added.

Once known as Xanadu, the mall project dates back 10 years. It was plagued by cost overruns and construction was stopped in 2009 because financing dried up.

Gov. Chris Christie has called it “an offense to the eyes.”

The NFL’s Giants and Jets have opposed the mall being open on game days because of traffic concerns.

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A lawsuit by the teams against developer Triple Five and the sports authority was dismissed last year, but a judge said the teams could refile if the sports authority approves the project.

The teams didn’t immediately comment on the board’s action.

But environmental and transit advocates voiced concerns about the project.

“They’re not dealing with traffic impacts, with 150,000 cars a day coming,” Jeff Tittel with the Sierra Club told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

“Triple Five must contribute to the operating costs of adding regular rail service and bus service,” transit advocate Janna Chernetz told Putney.

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