From Xanadu to American Dream

Monday, May 09, 2011

"Xanadu" is now "American Dream Meadowlands" and it's going to be the biggest mall in the US. Bob Hennelly, WNYC Reporter, talks about the ambitious new development, what it means for Chris Christie's administration, and other local news.


Bob Hennelly

Comments [21]


In Rutherford did Chris Christie
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where the Hackensack river, ran
Through meadowlands measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea

May. 10 2011 05:37 AM
RBC from Noo Yawk

Chris Christie is a goon! I can't believe he's proposing this. Another mall in NJ? Really??? Really???? There's already malls in Secaucus and Newport for pete's sake. Then there's the plethora of malls on Route 4 & Route 17. What's this guy doing?

Actually one of the biggest reasons why our economy sux and everything is made in China is the fact that America is over-retailed!! We have too many stores - most of them in MALLS! - that sell the same goods. Economics 101 says oversupply of goods can cause lower prices, which causes a need for these goods to be cheaply manufactured (ala MADE IN CHINA).

He has slashed education budgets across the state and prevented the ARC tunnel (probably the most important infrastructure project in the Northeast US), but he wants to build another mall - with taxpayer dollars! Unbelievable!!

May. 09 2011 03:53 PM
William Oddo from nyc

Go back and review the original project EIS approved by the State and Federal govenment. that is where you will find the biggest hoax and lies.

I worked for the engineering consulting firm that competed the original Federal/State EIS for the project. Although I did not personally participate on that project some of my team members on my project did. I had many discussions with them and others about the value of the project to our Firms reputation.

There were substantial and significant internal disagreements about the ecological/environmental impacts, the geological and site strategraphy challenges and costs, and the economic sustainability of the project without huge governmantal support for infrastructure improvements including all modes of transportation.

Even with that, at the projects core concept, data analysis and research showed that the areas existing commercial competititon raised signifcant questions about the economic viability of the development without broad and aggressive future assumptions. Team planners and engineers had doubts but it wa a big contract for the firm.

The state and federal GEIS documents that were submitted were never fully questioned with any "significant teeth" as to project alternatives and impacts by any of the reviewing agencies.

In fact, any of the required revisions and changes to the plan never went to the heart of the issue because of political pressures and the the short range job impacts on the local economy. The analysis never examined what would happen if the project failed nor as a result the impact on all taxpayers.

It is still believed that without immediate and continued governmental assistance this project will not survive. If it goes forward as planned it will certainly generate pressure from other commercial developments with government sponsored infrastructure improvements for assistance.

Worst of all, in this climate It is difficult to find a firm to admit that because of future work prospects. MOre public exposure like this is needed.

Ultimately, this complex should be scaled back significantly, reduced in size and scope to only the portions that can profit on there own. The rest of the development should be torn down, and the asphalt, concrete and steel reused on a worthy project.

Only then will this land become the economic cleansing generator that it once was for decades and more in its somewhat natural state.

May. 09 2011 11:09 AM

Great name for a mall if this was the 50's and we were in the Cold War.

Lived in Weehawken for eight years. NJ has too many malls as it is.

May. 09 2011 10:57 AM
sharon from Nyack, NY

I live in Nyack, NY, the home of the Palisades Mall. The mall was built by Mall of America corporation, and its huge size was opposed by local residents. It is a blight on our county and has brought increased crime, traffic, and adverse environmental impact to our locale. For more detail about the building of this mall, see "Megamall" an excellant documentary film by Vera Aronow. It's scheduled to be shown later in May in NYC.

May. 09 2011 10:28 AM

Enough with malls. We have PLENTY!

May. 09 2011 10:24 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Tunnel that would benefit the tri state region for the next 50 years? Nope.
Another mall in NJ? Sure why not?! Seriously- no one is going to a mall in the middle of a swamp. Get real.

May. 09 2011 10:22 AM
Sarah from Secaucus

I am resident of Secaucus. No to whatever mall in this area. Can you imagine the traffic nightmare on route 3,17, etc.Don't we have enough malls in NJ.

May. 09 2011 10:22 AM
Jane D from Morristown

This is a bailout. Once the investors get their money it matters not one bit what happens to the place. Empty shopping centers & business parks are a famiiliar sight in NJ. The developers have made their bundle and left the taxpayers holding the bag all over the state.

May. 09 2011 10:21 AM

No money for the additional Hudson Tunnel, yet this we can afford? It's an invitation to more auto traffic on the Lincoln Tunnel/Route 3 corridor.

May. 09 2011 10:21 AM
Maggie from Nj

Wait a minute--I thought remaining land Iin The Meadowlands was protected--no?
It's not just a "swamp" it's an important ecosystem with many protected species.

May. 09 2011 10:19 AM

Xanadu off the grid?? This boondoggle needs to remain unfinished. It needs to be left to remind the NJ commuter of dark side of 'pay to play'.

We needed the jobs and the expansion of the economy that the ARC tunnel would have created.

We don't need another place to shop. In the Internet age, this mall is a waste of money and space.

May. 09 2011 10:18 AM

I just think this is so sad. Why throw good money after bad? Hennelly just made a good point - it needs an investigation. Where has the 2 billion (!) that has already been spent gone? It's just depressing - so many people hurting and tax dollars spent on this!

May. 09 2011 10:17 AM
Lincoln from Hoboken

Infrastructure? No. That's socialism.
Education? No. That's socialism.
Transportation? No. That's socialism.

Corporate welfare? Hooray! That's capitalism!

May. 09 2011 10:14 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

For a lot of thinking about how few people think this is a good idea and why it is exactly the wrong thing to be putting subsidy into see:

Friday, May 6, 2011
Xanadu- Governor Christie’s Ode-ious “Yes We Khan” Moment

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

May. 09 2011 10:14 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Well said, Dan.

Bob, is sustainability (i.e., minimized impacts on ecosystem/surrounding area) even an issue with Xanadu? As Dan mentioned, there is off-the-shelf technology that would cost little more in up-front investment that would SAVE in costs and reduce negative impacts the wetland habitat. Plus it could become a showcase and legitimately sustain itself.

Of course, Christie has proven to be a short-sighted, willfully ignorant leader when it comes to initial investment for medium and long-term (huge) benefits (e.g., NJ Transit tunnel, "Race-to-Top" funding, opposition to Highlands protection of NJ state drinking water/watershed).

Let's see what he does...

May. 09 2011 10:13 AM
Melissa from Hoboken

This is insane. Not a single penny of taxpayer money should go towards this project until the ARC tunnel is complete. It will have the opposite effect of the tunnel: It will crater nearby retail, add pollution & congestion to the area and lower local real estate values. How can we stand for Christie to refuse to repay federal funds for the ARC tunnel, while he takes our money & invests in the least-needed mall in the world. We already have too many shopping options in NJ! why do we need one more? The facility should stand empty as a reminder of the folly of political cronyism & misuse of public land.

May. 09 2011 10:13 AM
Stephen from Prospect Heights

How about environmental costs of further developing Meadowlands?

May. 09 2011 10:11 AM
Harry from USA

The only Canadian Xanadu I want to hear about is from Rush. These projects are absurd in a multitude of ways!

May. 09 2011 10:09 AM
Smokey from LES

I think it’s ridiculous that Christie can guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars for another mall but reneged on the deal to build another train tunnel.

May. 09 2011 10:09 AM
Dan from Mohegan Lake

Once again we have a massive commercial construction project which offers the opportunity to go as "off the grid" as possible. How green will this be? Will it use the vast open space it creates to incorporate solar arrays? Will wind power be part of the program? How about geothermal? I have looked at the photos, and I see none of these. And this is a complex which will be batttling the climate every day, with snowboarding in summer and a water park in the winter. My idea of Xanadu is completely off the grid!

May. 09 2011 09:59 AM

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