As the coronavirus pandemic delays American Dream’s planned opening, the megamall is turning its facilities into a COVID-19 testing site.
In partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health and Agile Urgent Care, the East Rutherford, N.J., complex has created an appointment-only drive-through testing center intended mostly for police officers, first responders and health-care professionals. Community members can schedule a telemedicine visit, and can be seen at the site if they meet certain criteria. Testing began at American Dream on Monday and there is no firm end date in sight as of now.
Developers first broke ground on American Dream 17 years ago, but plans were stalled multiple times due to a combination of setbacks, including financial challenges and litigation. The megamall was developed by Triple Five Group, which is also behind the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall, two of North America’s largest shopping centers. The $5 billion complex, which features about 3.3 million square feet of retail space, planned to open at least portions of its retail arm on March 19. A spokesperson confirmed to FN in January that nearly 90% of its units had been leased.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, American Dream was open with fairly limited offerings, including its Nickelodeon Universe theme park as well as the IT’SUGAR “candy department store.” A number of the mall’s retail tenants were expected to open up shop last month, including fashion chains Zara, H&M, Old Navy, Uniqlo and Aritzia, with a luxury section to open in September. However, American Dream has been entirely shut since mid-March because of the pandemic. According to its website, the mall will stay closed for shopping and entertainment “until further notice.”