Xanadu Meadowlands: Wikis

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Xanadu Meadowlands
Location East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States
Coordinates 40°48′43″N 74°04′09″W / 40.81194°N 74.06917°W / 40.81194; -74.06917Coordinates: 40°48′43″N 74°04′09″W / 40.81194°N 74.06917°W / 40.81194; -74.06917
Opening date November 2010 (Projected)
Developer Colony Capital
Owner New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
Website http://www.visitxanadu.com/

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.

Contents

Architecture

The Indoor ski slope at Xanadu Meadowlands
Xanadu seen from the Meadowlands Sheraton

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".[1] 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.

The mall is visible from the New Jersey Turnpike and New Jersey Route 3.

Main features

Xanadu Meadowlands under construction as seen from an airplane (April 19, 2008)

The project, based on Madrid Xanadú in Madrid, Spain, will be divided into five areas:

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Sports

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:

  • Snowdome: A 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) indoor ski/snowboard resort that will be open year round. It is the first indoor ski/snowboard resort in the U.S.
  • Bergen Ballpark: The Bergen Ballpark at the Meadowlands will be a 8,000-seat baseball-only stadium housing a minor league baseball team.
  • Stores including Sports Authority and Adrenilania.

Entertainment

Xanadu Meadowlands seen from across the Hackensack River in Secaucus, NJ

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:

  • AEG Live!: a 3,400 capacity live theater by Anschultz Entertainment Group that will hold concerts and other live performances. It will be "sister" to the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, NYC.
  • Muvico Theaters: As the country's largest theater, the 18-screen, 160,000 sq ft (15,000 m2) Egyptian-themed Muvico will host film festivals and opening-night premieres. The theater will have 18 wall-to-wall movie screens, stadium seating, on-line advance ticketing, valet parking, a children's playroom, a Premier Level with its own restaurant and bar and nine balcony auditoriums with oversized loveseats, and a rooftop terrace featuring a 60-foot (18 m) outdoor screen.
  • Lucky Strike Lanes: An upscale bowling lounge that brings together bowling and entertainment, where visitors can bowl in a room with 1930s/1940s themed decoration while eating American cuisine in a restaurant and lounge.
  • The Funplex: A 20,000 sq ft family entertainment center, with a 3,000 sq ft arcade and attractions including Lazer Tag, Bumper Cars, and a 4-D Theatre. The premiere attraction of the facility will be an immersive live-action role-playing game called Magiquest. There are also locations in East Hanover and Mt. Laurel, both located in New Jersey as well.

Canceled:

  • Cabela's: A 175,000 sq ft (16,300 m2) outdoor equipment store including a mountain replica with running waterfalls and streams, a trout pond and trophy animals in re-creations of their distinct habitats, a 40,000-gallon freshwater aquarium stocked with fish native to the area, museum-quality representations of many wild-game species, including an expansive diorama devoted to African game animals, a World-class Gun Library, a full-service fly-fishing shop, a shooting gallery, indoor archery range, Bargain Cave, featuring discount prices on returned and discontinued merchandise. There will also be live fishing demonstrations, indoor archery and boating lessons.
  • Virgin Megastore: At what would have been the first Virgin Megastore in New Jersey, plans were launched to situate one of the area's largest inventories of music, games, videos and DVDs, listening posts, video viewing stations, live music, music video screens. In addition, the store — next to Izod Center, was to have hosted in-store appearances by many performers. Virgin withdrew their interest in the Xanadu project after numerous cost overruns and delays, and are not considering future interest as all its United States stores will close.

Youth Culture

An area called "Youth Culture" will include children's stores, interactive games, and play areas. Attractions include:

  • It's Sugar!: The largest specialty sweets store in the world, it will house a candy-themed bridge over a 30-foot (9.1 m) chocolate waterfall into a 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) city created out of sweets with a candy-themed elevated ride and candy museum. A location at the Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City is already open.
  • Wannado City: Wannado City is an indoor role-playing amusement center. Billed as "where kids can do what they wannado," it is a child-sized representation of a metropolis where children aged 2–14 participate in different careers and other lifelike activities. Careers in which the children can participate include firefighter, police officer, lawyer, TV reporter, and actor.

The district's planned name was "Children's Education" until February 2008 when it was changed into "Youth Culture."

Food & home

Xanadu Meadowlands and the Izod Center

A food & home district with restaurants include:

  • Zeytinia: A gourmet food market with on-premise dining, Zeytinia's sells fresh perishable foods and chef-prepared meals, upscale brands, imported food, market stalls, tasting stations and pantry.
  • Cooking Studio: An area where visitors can watch world-renowned chefs duel in competition in a cooking studio that will be featured on national TV.
  • Culinary Arts Center: A state-of-the-art cooking school, theater-style demonstration area and themed ancillary retail located in the Food & Home District.
  • Sofrito: A Puerto Rican/Caribbean restaurant by Jimmy Rodriguez.
  • Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill: A lease is being negotiated between Scottsdale, Arizona-based Capri Restaurant Group Enterprises LLC and Meadowlands Xanadu to open another Bar in the Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill franchise.

Fashion

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.)

Other features

Commercial

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.

Accommodations

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

Pepsi Globe

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.[4]

Concerns and controversy

Parking garage at Xanadu Meadowlands

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.

New Jersey Transit extended the nearby Pascack Valley Line to a new Meadowlands Station. There are also plans to extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to the complex.[7]

An analyst at Banc of America Securities pushed Mills Corporation to drop the Xanadu project, citing significant cost overruns.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Construction progress

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.

References

External links


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