DreamWorks to Design Theme Park for $3.7B N.J. Meadowlands Project

The DreamWorks indoor theme park will be a major attraction for American Dream at Meadowlands, the 7.5 million-square-foot project that Triple Five is developing in East Rutherford, N.J.

It’s in New Jersey, but American Dream at Meadowlands is going Hollywood. Triple Five Worldwide, developer of the $3.7 billion retail and entertainment project located in East Rutherford, just revealed that DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will design an indoor theme park at the 7.5 million-square-foot destination.  DreamWorks’ theme park will be the first in North America to exclusively feature DreamWorks’ animation characters. Triple Five has not revealed a schedule for the debut of the DreamWorks park, but American Dream is 80 percent complete, according to the project website.

The DreamWorks attraction will be a crown jewel for American Dream, which Triple Five is positioning as a massive retail and entertainment destination. Ultimately, the sprawling site will offer a water park, an ice skating rink, an indoor ski park and a bevy of theaters ranging from multi-screen movie theaters to performing arts venues. The project will also encompass 1.7 million square feet of retail space along with dining options totaling 150,000 square feet.

It’s not every day that a market has to brace for the addition of nearly 2 million square feet of retail, but New Jersey may well be positioned to accommodate American Dream. This year, the retail vacancy rate in the Garden State is on pace to drop 40 basis points to 7.6 percent, according to a report by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc. That compares favorably with this year’s projected 9.2 percent national vacancy rate.

Although any rise in demand in New Jersey is likely to be modest, the market is in little danger of being overwhelmed by American Dream’s retail space, thanks to the park’s prime location. A pair of major sports and entertainment venues, MetLife Stadium and Izod Center, will give the attraction a built-in customer base. A new rail station will provide access to visitors from New York City, Northern New Jersey and elsewhere in the Northeast.

American Dream is also in line to benefit from the healthy amusement parks industry. As Research and Markets states in a new report, “Demand is closely linked to the health of the economy, especially consumer income.” And Triple Five and DreamWorks have the right tools to succeed in the $15 billion amusement parks and arcades industry.  “The profitability of individual companies depends on good marketing,” the report notes. “Large companies can build expensive rides and have economies of scale in operations and advertising.”

Triple Five is no stranger to behemoth endeavors. The multinational development and finance company built Mall of America, the 4.3 million-square-foot Minneapolis shopping center that is the largest mall in the country and one of the largest in the world. It, too, contains a broadcast media-inspired theme park, Nickelodeon Universe.