|Location||East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States|
|Opening date||November 2010 (Projected)|
|Owner||New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority|
The Xanadu Meadowlands (formerly known as Meadowlands Xanadu or Xanadu Project) is a five-story retail and entertainment complex undergoing construction in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. This complex was to have been completed in 2007, but the grand opening has been pushed back each year after 2007 until late 2010. Xanadu Meadowlands will be the largest retail and entertainment complex in the United States and the third largest in the world, with 4,500,000 square feet (418,000 m2) of entertainment, sports, retail, office, and hotel space. The Xanadu Project will reside within the Meadowlands Sports Complex, using underutilized and existing parking areas. Additional parking will be provided through the addition of new parking decks. It will be accessible via the Meadowlands Rail Line.
The project was originally developed by the Mills Corporation in partnership with Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, with financing by Kan Am. In May 2006, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it was formally investigating the Mills Corporation after the company announced that it was restating four years of earnings due to executive misconduct and accounting errors. Subsequently, the troubled developer sold their stake in Xanadu to private investment firm Colony Capital.
The exterior of the Xanadu Meadowlands is a combination of aluminum composite and aluminum siding, of various colors including turquoise, red, yellow, and green. The north end of the building contains the indoor ski slope. Some politicians have criticized the building's appearance. Former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey was quoted in the New York Times as calling the structure "yucky-looking". In response to Codey's criticism, and that of other vocal New Jersey leaders, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (which owns the land that Xanadu sits on) has written in a letter to the developers that the NJSEA's Board of Directors has "widespread concerns with the current appearance" of Xanadu.
Television remotes for NFL pre-game shows will be available on a three-story video wall, and visitors can participate in tailgating parties, contests and events featuring favorite athletes. There will also be a barbecue area and TV production and broadcast studio. Attractions include:
An entertainment area will include digital screens, which will feature music videos and movie trailers for upcoming releases, views of the Manhattan skyline on the giant roof-top Ferris wheel, developed in partnership with Rene Aziz, CEO of Grupo Magico, and live performances and album release parties will be held in this area. Attractions include:
An area called "Youth Culture" will include children's stores, interactive games, and play areas. Attractions include:
The district's planned name was "Children's Education" until February 2008 when it was changed into "Youth Culture."
A food & home district with restaurants include:
A fashion area will have most of the mall's stores, designer appearances, and fashion shows. This area includes:
(In the mall's site plans, there is room for a department/anchor store at this end of the mall such as JCPenney, Macy's, etc.)
Four 440,000-square-foot (41,000 m2) class A office buildings built over a six-story parking podium will be located next to the mall. However, construction of the office buildings is slated for the future and depends on favorable market conditions and the health of the general economy.
A 520-room, twelve-story hotel will be located near the office buildings next to the mall. However, this too is for future development and is also dependent on favorable market conditions and the health of the general economy
Announced on February 2008, the "Pepsi Globe" Ferris wheel will be constructed at the Xanadu facing the NJ Turnpike. At 287 ft (87 m) high, the 26 glass-capsule wheel will be the tallest Ferris wheel in North America. Pepsi will have a 10-year naming right with the wheel, with the attraction operated by Merlin Entertainments. Construction on the Pepsi Globe has been delayed another year due to construction interfering with the New Jersey Nets 2009-2010 season.
From traffic concerns to environmental concerns, there are many who oppose the idea of building a permanent shopping center within the Meadowlands Sports Complex. Xanadu is being built on state-owned land, and $81.3 million is being spent on transportation improvements. An investigation found that the proposed site contained "significant environmental contamination". The public cost of cleanup at the site currently stands at $2 million dollars, and that amount could triple in time.
The New York Giants proposed that Xanadu be closed on days when the NFL team had home games, as part of the deal to build a Meadowlands Stadium to replace Giants Stadium. The Giants then made an agreement with Xanadu to allow the complex to be open on game days, with the option to sue if traffic became a concern, an agreement which remains in effect now that the proposed NFL stadium will be co-owned with the New York Jets. As of early 2006, the project has gained necessary approvals, therefore building of the Xanadu Project has begun.
The Federal Aviation Administration has expressed concerns with the height of the proposed Ferris wheel (~330 ft) affecting local air traffic to and from Teterboro Airport. The height for the proposed Ferris wheel has since been reduced to 287 ft.
As the current construction on the exterior facade was built, there were several complaints from both officials and residents about its gaudish exterior, which contains blue-and-white and orange-and-red panels. It has been compared to insulation and even the walls of shipping containers on the docks in Elizabeth. Controversy has also developed over the Pepsi Globe's appearance and that it will obstruct nearby residents' views of New York City.
As of April 2008, the mall structure itself is complete, with the indoor ski slope finished and the controversial facade put up. The parking garages are open and complete, and have been for over a year. They can accommodate several thousand vehicles.
As of January 2009, 90% of the construction has been complete, with finishing touches being done on the interior.
The mall is approximately 70% leased as of April 2009, and at the same time, Meadowlands Xanadu has announced delays in their supposed August opening with no definitive date set.
In summer 2009, the future mall's website was relaunched with the new Xanadu Meadowlands name.