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American Dream mall to close for March due to virus concerns

Last Updated Mar 13, 2020 at 5:44 pm EDT

American Dream, the recently opened megamall and entertainment complex in northern New Jersey, will close Monday at least for the rest of the month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Owners Triple Five announced Friday that while no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at the mall, they are taking the step as a precaution.

The complex had been scheduled to open its DreamWorks waterpark and hundreds of retail stores, dining and specialty shops next week.

“After carefully reviewing the guidelines of public health agencies and in the best interests of our guests and employees, we have made the difficult, but responsible, decision to close American Dream beginning March 16,” co-CEOs Don and Mark Ghermezian said in a statement.

American Dream’s first phase opened last October and featured a Nickelodeon theme park and skating rink. A 16-story-tall indoor ski slope, the first of its kind, opened in December.

American Dream is the second-largest mall in the country and third-largest in North America. Approved in 2003 and named Xanadu, it languished for years and was suspended in 2009 during the financial crisis. Creditors took over and Canada-based mall and entertainment conglomerate Triple Five, owner of the Mall of America in Minnesota and West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, eventually came on board and renamed it American Dream.

The 3-million-square-foot complex opened during a time when malls across the country are closing due to the increased popularity of online shopping. The developers have projected the New Jersey complex’s combination of retail, dining and entertainment will draw more than 40 million visitors during the first year.

David Porter, The Associated Press