By Linda O’Flanagan
Hip downtown retail brokerage Sinvin Real Estate has been quietly signing up tenants for what will be the nation’s biggest mall when it finally opens next year, Real Estate Weekly has learned.
Sources say the brokerage was brought on board by the Ghermezian family — whose Triple Five development company has been credited with creating some of the most lucrative destination retail centers in the world — to fill the American Dream mall in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
Veteran New York broker Michael Glanzberg has been leading a Sinvin team tasked with populating the super-mall.
A principal at Sinvin, Glanzberg was named Special Retail Advisor and Curator to American Dream by Triple Five in 2011.
When contacted by REW while on vacation this week, he said he was not at liberty to divulge which tenants had signed up for mall space.
He did say, “I can assure you, the leasing has been nothing shy of spectacular and the time is fast approaching when Sinvin and Triple Five will make formal announcements of executed leases.”
It has been rumored that brokers and retailers working on American Dream leases have been obliged to sign secrecy clauses that will allow the developer alone to announce any openings.
Glanzberg would neither confirm nor deny this was the case, but said the line-up would include “a stunning array of apparel, accessory and other retailers one would normally expect to see only on the High Street, and many found nowhere else in the world.”
As well as “fast fashion junior anchors,” Glanzberg said American Dream has executed deals with some of the most “unique and compelling brands from around the globe” and famous shopping streets such as “Soho, Robertson, Worth Avenue and Lincoln Road.ˮ
He added, “Retailers who covet the United States and the world’s most important retail market — New York — have realized that American Dream provides a density of foot-fall, a demographic and global tourist customer base that is as compelling and brand-building as SoHo, 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue.”
Throughout his career, Glanzberg and his firm have worked on some of the most glamorous retail deals in the city and with some of the world’s leading retailers, including Victorinox Swiss Army, Marc Jacobs, Porsche Design, Theory and Australia’s Sass & Bide.
His reputation as a serious purveyor of retail space has made him an imprimatur of authenticity, a label highly likely to have influenced Triple Five’s decision to hire him and Sinvin as they endeavor to bring credibility to a project that, with a previous cast, has been beset with blunders and bad publicity since construction first began 2004.
Then called Xanadu and expected to be completed and opened within two years, lenders withdrew following the Lehman Brothers collapse. In late 2010, Triple Five, the developer of the Mall of America, signed a letter of intent to take over and redevelop the 4.8 million square feet complex.
At the ICSC convention in Vegas in May, Don Ghermezian, president of the company, which took over the project from the Mills Corporation and Mack-Cali Realty, was on hand to assure retailers the mall was on schedule after receiving most site approvals from the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.
Entertainment at the complex will include a live performing arts theatre, multi-screen luxury movie theater, indoor ski and snowboarding park, an observation wheel, an indoor amusement park and water park, indoor ice skating, indoor skydiving, bowling, Legoland Discovery Center, and aquarium and miniature golf.
The film company DreamWorks will also open a water and amusement park in the main building.
On Monday, a court urged the New York Jets & Giants — whose stadium is next door — to settle a law suit with the developers and the NJSEA alleging they went back on a pact to protect the sports teams from the adverse effects of a busy mall on their own games days when they decided to add the Dreamworks element and make it bigger.
Ruling that the lawsuit could proceed, State Court Judge Peter E. Doyne wrote that “reasonable parties … should be able to achieve a resolution that is satisfactory to all, with the understanding that in any resolution no party can reasonably expect to receive all that it wishes.”
Alan Marcus, a spokesman for Triple Five, said, “The impact of the judge’s decision to let the case go forward is that the teams must still prove there is an adverse impact from the proposed water park and amusement park on game day Sundays.”
The developers filed their own counter suit earlier this summer alleging the teams have engaged in a campaign to delay the economic development and job creation that would come from completion of the American Dream project through the addition of the indoor amusement park and water park.
American Dream president, Paul Ghermezian, stated “We are excited with the project’s recent progress and our vision in completing a world-class entertainment and retail destination.
“We have exhausted our patience and tolerance for the interference and feel that we have to take an affirmative step in protecting our and the public’s interests. We continue to move ahead with the project and, in August, will host a groundbreaking ceremony followed by commencement of construction activities. ”
Karen J. Kessler, media spokesperson for the teams, said, “We look forward to the case proceeding.”
Real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey, who is not involved in case, called the judges decision “well reasoned.”
“It looks like the Jets and Giants are doing better in the court room than on the field, but even in court they cannot post a perfect record,” said Bailey.
” The Jets and Giants do not want the building of the American Dream amusement park to interfere with game day traffic. They tried to stop the building of the theme park completely but the judge recognized that an executive from the team had previously admitted that it was only worried about traffic on game days, which comes to about 35 events per year.”
He predicted the court’s decision to send both parties into mediation would result in resolution.