Triple Five, which owns the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, announced Thursday that it has signed a letter of intent with the lenders of Xanadu to develop the 2.3 million square-foot complex in the Meadowlands.If there's any mall operator that can turn this project and white elephant around, it's going to be Triple Five, which had the ability and foresight to do wonders with Mall of America. However, there are significant challenges remaining, including the fact that Xanadu is located within minutes of one of the densest retail shopping corridors in the nation - the Route 4-17 corridor, which already has four major shopping malls and hundreds of major retailers.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie welcomed the move, saying he has delivered on a promise to revitalize the sprawling $2 billion complex originally slated to open in late 2007.
Two other companies have previously had control of the project.
The ongoing gloomy retail market means that businesses may not be as willing to expand into what they may perceive as a risky venture, but it also means that secondary retailers or ones that are looking to expand into new markets and are willing to take a chance, might take a flier on the Xanadu project. Triple Five might convince Cabelas to take another look at Northern New Jersey; the outdoor outfitter had originally intended to open one of its largest outlets in Xanadu but pulled out after delays by the prior developers pushed the completion and opening dates beyond what anyone would expect - and it remains shuttered to this day.