No Change to North America’s First Indoor Ski Centre’s Spring Opening Date
The first indoor ski and snowboarding park in North America appears on course to open this spring, 17 years after the American Dream (then called Xanadu) project at Meadowlands in New Jersey began, and around three decades since the first of many dozens of indoor ski areas proposed over the years for the USA and Canada came and went without construction ever starting. At least, there has been no change to the ‘Opening Spring 2019’ date given by the company behind it last summer.
The vast complex of shops, restaurants and wide-ranging entertainment options has been taken on by Triple Five® Worldwide, which runs North America’s two biggest malls (the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, which are also the continents two most visited attractions) and describes itself on its website as, “…a multinational conglomerate, development and ﬁnance corporation.”
After years of haggling about finance for the completing the centre’s construction, building work is reported to have gathered pace over the past year or so and the proposed opening date, which has been given for dozens of dates over the past 15 years which have always slipped, continues to be ‘Spring 2019’ – despite even the latest point in that period coming ever closer.
It is unclear exactly how much has been spent over the past two decades on the project. Originally the Mills Corporation who began it (and who were also responsible for the completed indoor snow centre, also called Xanadu, in Madrid, Spain) put a $5 billion price tag on it and had work quite far advanced by 2008 when the economic downturn led to its original stalling and Mills going bust. Since then another $3-4 billion has been talked about being required to complete it.
Along with the first indoor snow centre to be built in North America (that part of the development was actually completed in 2008 and test snow produced in it, but it has been mothballed for over a decade since and never opened to the public. Ironically the roof was actually damaged by heavy falls of natural snow several years ago) the 3 million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex’s many attractions include a Nickelodeon Universe theme park, a 10-story rope course, two record-breaking roller coasters, an indoor water park, performing arts theatre, cinema complex with a total 14,000 seats, an observation wheel with 26 climate-controlled gondolas to take in views of nearby New York City, an aquarium, a hockey rink, a Legoland Discovery Centre and hundreds of retail outlets and dozens of dining options. The overall mix is reported to be 55 per cent entertainment and 45 per cent retail.
“We are creating something completely new and dynamic in the world’s most incredible market,” Don Ghermezian, American Dream’s president and chief executive, told Women’s Wear Daily ahead of its CEO Summit in October. “We are redefining the future of retail and entertainment and reshaping the customer experience.”
Although the indoor snow centre can claim to be the first to be built in the Americas 11 years ago it is no longer the first to operate. An indoor ski centre opened in Brazil some years ago and the first indoor snow centre in North America opened in Pigeonforge, Tennessee, last year, although it only offers tubing, not skiing and boarding.
Triple Five® Worldwide are giving little away on how the site it developing and most of the information coming out is via the companies who are supplying the various parts to it proudly announcing their contributions and construction worker’s social media posts.
A precise official opening date for the project has yet to be announced. Work on a second American Dream, in Miami, featuring another indoor snow centre, is reported to be getting underway.