Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

American Dream Financing Closer

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

American Dream Financing Closer

Article excerpt

The Bergen County agency that's been asked to issue at least $400 million in bonds for the American Dream Meadowlands project approved resolutions Tuesday signaling its intentions to key state officials.

The bonds issued by the Bergen County Improvement Authority would be part of a $1.75 billion financing package also including $200 million in equity from the entertainment complex's developer, Triple Five, as well as extensive private funding.

The authority's board spent more than an hour in special session asking questions of involved executives, lawyers and bankers. Many of the inquiries were to clarify that the agency can still back out of the project if certain conditions are not met.

"There is no firm, absolute commitment to anything, beyond this application," said Thomas Bruinooge, special counsel to the BCIA.

County Freeholder Steve Tanelli was joined by a BCIA board majority in seeking more information about whether the developer had finalized a project labor agreement -- or PLA -- with the county trade unions that will be involved in finishing what is to be a 2.9- million-square-foot shopping and entertainment project. The site is state-owned land in East Rutherford, adjacent to the Izod Center in the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Triple Five Vice President Tony Armlin said his company has been in lengthy negotiations and he hoped to have a deal "wrapped up soon." But he could not say if such a deal will be sealed in time for the board's next meeting, April 4.

The board also was reassured by Goldman Sachs managing director Marvin Markus and by Bergen County Treasurer Al Dispoto that because the BCIA would be issuing non-recourse bonds -- meaning the county is not responsible for funding any potential shortfall -- the county's bond rating and bonding capacity would not be affected by participating in American Dream financing. …

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