From Yahoo Finance:
Since its groundbreaking nearly two decades ago, the megamall built in New Jersey’s Meadowlands has done little except hemorrhage cash. Now, less than two years after its much-delayed opening, the complex known as American Dream is threatening to dash the lofty ambitions of yet another developer.
The Ghermezian family, which runs some of the biggest and most successful malls in North America, can’t keep up with the bills on the shopping and entertainment megaplex, which helped drive its original developer to the brink of bankruptcy and later was seized by lenders from the team that came next.
Revenue from the stores has been so scarce amid the surging pandemic that the Ghermezians have hired legal and financial advisers to help them ease the crushing $3 billion debt load, and perhaps retain some role in running the project, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The family members aren’t the only ones who stand to lose big money. Lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Soros Fund Management and Starwood Property Trust Inc. could face losses on $1.7 billion in construction loans. About $1.1 billion of municipal debt is also backing the project.
“It’s been like watching a train wreck that goes on forever,” said Neil Shapiro, a New York real estate attorney and senior partner at Herrick Feinstein. “There aren’t a lot of projects that lose at least $3 billion that we’re still talking about as projects,” said Shapiro, who’s not involved with the mall.
Outwardly, the 3-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex on about 90 acres in New Jersey’s Meadowlands is almost fully opened, charging weekend crowds as much as $115 for day passes to the DreamWorks Water Park and $80 for its Big Snow indoor ski slope. Luxury stores including Hermès, Tiffany & Co. and Dolce & Gabbana are coming in September.
But it all may be too little, too late for the Ghermezians and their company, Triple Five Group. They’ve hired financial adviser Houlihan Lokey Inc. and the law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges to represent them in restructuring talks, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private negotiations. This month, American Dream dipped into reserves to make a $9.3 million municipal bond payment.