Muni Minute: American Dream bonds take center stage for New Jersey megamall

The $1.1 billion unrated non-recourse transaction hinges on success of long-stalled retail and entertainment project planned for East Rutherford, N.J.

VOICE OVER: A long-stalled New Jersey megamall project takes center stage this week with $1.1 billion in tax-exempt bonds slated to hit the market Wednesday to fund the final construction stages of the American Dream Meadowlands retail and entertainment complex. The unrated bonds will be issued in two negotiated transactions by Wisconsin’s Public Finance Authority on behalf of developer Triple Five Group, who is building a roughly 3 million square foot facility next to MetLife stadium comprised of retail stores and attractions such as indoor water park, theme park and ski slope.

The project was first conceived by original developer Xanadu in 2002 and has been marred by a myriad of delays the last 15 years. Lead underwriter Goldman Sachs is selling the non-recourse bonds amidst shrinking supply of tax-exempt debt along with uncertainty about how the indoor mall industry will be shaped in the decades ahead. Project organizers are banking on attracting New York City tourists as well as business from 21 million people who live within 50 miles of the development.

I’m Andrew Coen and this has been your Muni Minute.