Full disclosure: I haven’t actually made it out to NJ to check out the parts of the mall that are currently open. First, because I don’t like theme park rides (and that’s the only thing that’s open) and second, I haven’t figured out the bus, ferry and train routes to get there. From what I’ve read, it could take hours to get there so EVERYTHING had better be up and running for me to make the trek.
So why does this mall strike me as such a disaster?
- Everything screams money pit. Given the complexity of the attractions, it will be challenging to maintain them in good working order. Here’s a small sampling of what’s being built: Massive year-round indoor ski slope✅ Skating rink ✅ Water Park ✅ Theme Park Rides ✅ Aquarium ✅ And we all know that if any of these attractions go down for any period of time, or if they attempt to cut corners to save money, the word of mouth will be disastrous and people will stop coming – especially when they have paid $25 to park, plus $40-$50 per person for entry just to the Nickelodeon Universe. If you hit up multiple attractions, that’s a bigger hit to the wallet. And just this morning it was announced that as of November 15, the Nickelodeon pass will go up to $79.99 per person. By comparison, a season’s pass to Six Flags is $72 and that includes parking!
- Only one of the 450 planned stores will be open for this holiday season and that’s a fancy, 3-story candy store called IT’SUGAR. What are the odds of it still being up and running by the time the other stores begin to open? Slim to none. One lone store in this size mall cannot possibly stay in business for any period of time. The mall is supposedly 87% leased but as it turns out, several of the stores that have taken out leases have already gone bankrupt, e.g., Barney’s, Forever 21, Toys R Us (although the latter will be resuscitated for American Dream).
- Little consumer enthusiasm. On opening day (Friday, October 25), most of the buses headed to the mall were empty. That is not a good sign.
Scroll down for more photos from the opening weekend and you decide.
I don’t see a dream. I see a folly or a nightmare!
Building a mega-mall so reliant on income from the entertainment portion doesn’t make sense from a profitability standpoint.
Time will tell but I’d put my money on Hudson Yards before American Dream. And Hudson Yards is facing an uphill battle when it comes to retail but at least it’s easy to get to, it’s become a major tourist attraction, and HY’s food game is strong.
The same thing cannot be said for any part of American Dream. The hype machine cannot withstand reality.