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Xanadu No More--Related Takes Over and Renames Stalled NJ Project

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The massive Xanadu Meadowlands project in Northern New Jersey has been stuck for months. It got so bad that earlier this year the New Jersey Governor's office called for Los Angeles-based Colony Capital LLC to complete construction or turn the site over to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.

Now the project's fate seems to be in the hands of the Related Co. One of the firm's first changes--it is dumping the Xanadu moniker entirely and redubbing the project simply Meadowlands and it appears company's vision will be a big part of what it is showcasing at the ICSC RECon conference that begins this weekend.

Can Related succeed where Mills Corp. and Colony Capital have struggled? There's no question that the project was in part a casualty of the recession. The project is not a conventional regional mall and was risky to begin with and always faced criticism and opposition from some quarters. Trying to get something like that completed in the midst of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression was downright disastrous. Related seems to have some tweaks in mind as The Record described in breaking the story. It looks like we'll find out quite a bit more in Las Vegas.

“The Meadowlands will usher in a new era and a bold redefinition of what a retail destination can be,” another section of the Related brochure reads. “To be part of the Meadowlands is to find your place in American retailing history.”

...

The most prominent picture on the main page of the site still shows the 286-foot Pepsi Globe and the familiar light and dark blue mix on the exterior.

But the multihued orange exterior of the SnowPark, formerly the Snow Dome, now appears to be silver. Sports and Exposition Authority officials said several years ago that the developers were keeping open the possibility that an advertising “wrap” by a ski-related company could be placed over the exterior of that structure.

None of the printed information obtained by The Record made any mention of current project developer Colony Capital, or investors Kan Am and Dune Capital. But those companies are still listed under “corporate information” on the website.

Ross is expected to announce soon that he has assembled the $500 million to $700 million in new investment needed to complete the project — though the grand opening probably would not happen before mid-2011.

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“Let's talk at ICSC about state-of-the-art immersive shopping,” reads Related's brochure, which contains a map leading retailers to its 6,250-square-foot Emperors Ballroom display at the Caesars Palace Conference Center.

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Muvico, which also had been part of the Xanadu plan for six years, is gone, renamed only as a “movie experience.” The 17-screen complex is no longer referred to as “Egyptian-themed.” Also missing from the list is Wannado City, a children's role-playing attraction that has been associated with the project since 2004.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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