The American Dream Mall

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Updated: Jun 06, 2023
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Over-budget issues happened multiple times with this project in 2006 and 2009. The second time around, Triple Five acquired the project after bankers took control of it from Colony Capital. When the developers and the project management team have financial issues, it usually means mismanagement of funds or project chaos. Project chaos is a broad terminology that could mean a lot of things. One, in particular, could be that the project faced a lot of issues outside of the scope like the construction of the adjacent Stadium.

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This led to unrealistic opening dates.

Right after Triple Five deal was closed, the now renamed American Dream Mall Meadowlands had to go into negotiation with what we now call MetLife Stadium. The stakeholders of both projects had tremendous disagreements over it. According to CBS News, “Long-standing issues involving the owners of the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants also must be hammered out. For years, the teams have opposed the mall being allowed to open on game days, and last year they sued Triple Five and the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority, the public body that must approve the project, (CBS News, 2013).

Among the issues, the suit claims were the fact that the sports authority violated the agreement by letting the new developer change the blueprint of the project. This is a huge issue. When architects and engineers change the blueprint of a building, it affects the entire operation and judging by what has been written in the media, it was done multiple times through the project. Every time an architect or engineer works on the blueprint, it means more money spent on this phase. It’s hard for a project manager to recuperate from this. A change in blueprint generally equals new permits, budget constraints, and timeline tune-up. To put his into perfective, I recently build a brand new fence around my house. 346-eight-by-six wood fence panels were needed to close the entire perimeter of the house. During the last side we were building, we encountered several; six-inch in diameter roots from a tree crossing through the property line.

We had to options: one, cut through the root to place the fence or go around it. If we go around it, it would mean less delay and the fence will not look uniformed and I had to move the line further inside my property. The other option was to cut through it and it had to be done. It took an entire day to cut through the roots and when you are only working on the project during the weekends, this meant the project was delayed one week. It looked as if we did nothing because no panels were up that week. That’s called invisible work and that’s what a blueprint change does to a project. This helps explains why the several blueprint changes and budget issues put Xanadu/American Dream Mall Meadowlands in jeopardy.

Because of how this entire project unfolded from inception to 2017, it makes me believe that the management team and developers (Mills Corporation and Colony Capital) were biting more than they can chew. A project of this magnitude needs a knowledgeable team behind it, from a project manager to a plethora of specialists and risk controllers. A risk controller foresees, prevents and minimizes the risks a project can face. This is an asset Xanadu/American Dream Mall Meadowlands could have used.

For a project like this, I think Triple Five was the right developer to take on this project. They are the parent company of the Mall of America located in Minnesota; the largest mall in the country. Right of the bat, they have knowledge that is valuable. Triple Five made the right call to halt construction of the entertainment center until all the issues were resolved, legal and non-legal. This project has a tremendous amount of different entertainment centers within itself. The list of stakeholder and scope is big.

In conclusion, when Triple Five took the steps of how a project is supposed to be done in phases. The company didn’t try to expedite the process by cutting corners. I’m sure there were a lot more issues that didn’t make news, but from what I can gather, it seems like Triple Five had a more prepared plan than the other two developers judging by the fact that the mall is actually opening soon. That alone says a lot about the latest project manager. I would personally handle this project the way I have been envisioning my group’s LA Stadium at Hollywood Park assignment.

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The American Dream Mall. (2022, Apr 08). Retrieved from