NEW YORK — For an idea of what the renamed and reimagined Xanadu will be like, look no further than the Mall of America. Triple Five, the Canadian conglomerate that owns the 4.2 million-square-foot shopping center outside Minneapolis, has a deal with the state of New Jersey to take over the perennially troubled Xanadu in the Meadowlands. Triple Five has until the end of the year to line up $1 billion in financing for the project, which it has rechristened American Dream@Meadowlands.
“We’re going to keep a lot of the same elements as Mall of America,” said Maureen Bausch, a spokeswoman for Triple Five. “We will do fashion shows and have fashion wings. The key to designing a mall with the right merchandising mix is to look at the market and find what’s lacking. We worked on a merchandising plan to create a new environment for retailers, one that will attract a thirtysomething trend shopper, someone like a SoHo shopper, but we’ll do it under glass in a setting that’s easier to shop and we’ll provide dining experiences.”
At American Dream, there will be room for everything from emerging and well-known designers to dollar stores. Triple Five plans to expand the mall to 3 million square feet from its original 2.3 million square feet. Despite its gargantuan size, American Dream isn’t thinking only about big boxes and anchors, although Don Ghermezian, principal and chief executive officer, said, “We want to encourage new concepts and new ideas, but we’re primarily concentrating on successful, established boutique retailers. We plan on being a very strong tourist destination. In order to do that, we need to get those international retailers. We’re focusing a lot of our efforts on European [brands] to make American Dream their first U.S. store.”
Ghermezian said American Dream hopes to take “a lot of the mainstream retailers and do different things with them. For example, a tenant that would normally take 10,000 square feet would do a 35,000-square-foot flagship.”
Industry sources said American Dream is talking to several department stores and is reportedly interested in European retailers such as Rimowa, Reese, Y3, Rag & Bone, Moncler Fred Perry and Anya Hindmarch. Ghermezian declined to discuss specific retailers.
If American Dream follows Mall of America’s pattern, 35 to 40 percent of visitors will be tourists with key international markets, including Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Latin America and Japan.
Mills Corp. originally conceived of Xanadu eight years ago. By 2006, Mills was in financial trouble. The project suffered from cost overruns, construction delays, work stoppages and disputes with state and local officials and the New Jersey Sports Authority. Colony Capital, a private equity firm, took over, but it, too, ran into financial difficulties and construction halted. Triple Five gained control over New Jersey’s most famous white elephant in August, when Colony’s lenders foreclosed.
Bausch said American Dream will seek out small, exclusive operators. In addition to familiar brands, “we also want a unique mix of stores, many of which aren’t found in neighboring malls,” she said. “At American Dream, if a designer ever wanted to test something, we would be more than willing.” Bausch recently discovered a designer “of the coolest raincoats I’ve ever seen” at Neiman Marcus in Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. “Her name is Shelley Ifantis and her brand, Kreio, is priced from $300 to $600. I asked her if she’d like to have a pop-up shop.”
“The center will be positioned from mid- to high-end,” said Ghermezian. “We’ll run the gamut from higher price points to midtier.”
Entertainment has been reconceived to include skydiving, a water park, a skating rink and miniature golf. American Dream will preserve some of the original elements, such as the 600-foot indoor ski slope.
One part of the original plan Triple Five won’t adhere to is segmenting retailers by product category; for example, grouping all the home furnishings stores together and all teen merchants together. “We’ll mix it up a lot more. Stores will be clustered according to the demographics of the customers,” said Bausch.
She admitted that American Dream née Xanadu “certainly has baggage. The project has got some history, but [retailers] also like our new designs and feel the designs and the finishes are much more sophisticated. Our design has the retailer in mind.”
“Fashion will be one of the most important components of the shopping center,” Ghermezian said. “Entertainment will be equally important. People are going to ask themselves, ‘Am I going to leave New York City to go to New Jersey?’ If we have the right fashion component, we believe they will.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews