Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Delays Vote on American Dream Mall

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Delays Vote on American Dream Mall

Article excerpt

The state agency that oversees the American Dream Meadowlands project has again declined to vote on an amended master plan for the long-stalled shopping and entertainment complex near the Izod Center.

Wayne Hasenbalg, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority president, said Thursday that the agency still hopes to see an agreement reached between the developer, Triple Five, and the Giants and Jets before voting on the plan.

The National Football League teams sued last summer seeking to stop the project from creating what they said would be game-day gridlock at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

"It's preferable to us to see whether we can achieve an agreement between all those who have an interest before we take action," Hasenbalg said. "The process obviously has been complicated. But we're really down to final issues that are serving right now as an impediment. And this project is so big that once we can move the ball across the goal line, the impact is going to be enormous."

A Superior Court judge told the teams last summer that their suit was premature, pending final approval by the sports authority board of a revised plan that would include a 639,000-square-foot indoor water and amusement park addition to the existing 2.3 million- square-foot site. The teams say that new construction would void their 2006 deal that allowed for the original project to be open on game days -- usually Sunday -- when Bergen County's blue laws prevent most shopping in the county.

Governor Christie predicted in mid-December that work would resume in January. Then in late February, Christie said that he was "convinced" that a revival would take place "in the first quarter of 2013" -- meaning by the end of March. A day later, Triple Five executive Tony Armlin told Bergen County Improvement Authority officials that he expected activity to resume in "early March. …

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