The Bond Buyer: Wait continues for American Dream bonds

The final financing piece to New Jersey’s long-stalled American Dream Meadowlands megamall project has hit another delay.

A $1.1 billion tax-exempt revenue bond transaction to fund the last construction phases of the massive retail/entertainment complex in East Rutherford, N.J. did not price as scheduled Wednesday. A market source said the deal, underwritten by Goldman Sachs, was delayed due to a scheduling conflict and may take place as early as Thursday or early next week.

The unrated bond deal is slated to include $800 million of limited obligation revenue bonds backed by payments in lieu of taxes determined by the Borough of East Rutherford’s tax assessment, and $300 million of grant revenue bonds.

Wisconsin’s Public Finance Authority is borrowing through two negotiated deals as a conduit for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which operates the Meadowlands District that houses the project next to MetLife Stadium. The American Dream development led by Triple Five Group, which includes an indoor water park, ski slope and theme park, is scheduled for completion in 2019, 15 years after a 2004 groundbreaking on the original project called Xanadu that hit snags following the 2008 Great Recession.

“After dealing with this project for the last 14 years with three developers, the last six with Triple Five, I am certainly looking forward to the bond sale,” said East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella early Wednesday afternoon. “More importantly I look forward to the financial benefits that it will bring to East Rutherford along with the economic benefits this project brings to Bergen County, the region, the State and also, as important, having our union laborers back on the job.“

Triple Five Group spokeswoman Debbie Patire declined to comment on the bond sale Wednesday. The PFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Andrew Coen

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