NJ Malls Contend With American Dream’s Opening

After serving as destinations for Big Apple shoppers for at least 50 years, northern New Jersey’s malls are aiming to find ways to differentiate themselves as a new retail neighbor arrives. The American Dream retail and amusement complex is expected to open on Oct. 25 following 15 years of multiple developers and false starts, Bloomberg reported.

“There are shopping centers that are underperforming, and I think those are the ones that need to worry,” Poonam Goyal, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said per the report. “Some of the smaller malls that are just surviving, with American Dream opening, they may have more struggles ahead of them.

Owner Triple Five Group is forecasting 40 million visitors yearly after the East Rutherford mall is fully in operation. And, in the event it attracts just a small portion of that traffic, it could mean bad news for some of the nine shopping centers in the vicinity that are vying for the flushest residents of the New York metro area.

Malls in the area are also looking beyond retail to make sure shoppers keep coming through their doors and spending. Rick Rizzuto, vice president at real estate research firm Transwestern in New Jersey said, “All successful malls understand that you need more of a draw than just stores. And they’re adding bigger restaurants and more family friendly, approachable environments.”

As previously reported, some malls are offering food halls. The Ballston Quarter shopping mall, for instance, was to have a 25,000 square feet of space “mostly dedicated to local vendors” that has been described as a food hall per reports in January. And, at the Empire Stores complex in Brooklyn, the Time Out Market New York is set to open this year.

The space, like that at Ballston Quarter, was set to have a local focus — with outposts of New York City restaurants such as Mermaid Oyster Bar, Jacob’s Pickles, and Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant.

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