Is mega mall American Dream a vision of retail’s future or a $5bn nightmare?

American Dream

Retail Week visited the new American Dream mall in New Jersey and marvelled at the scale and scope of the experiences on offer. But can the gargantuan centre buck the downward trend of shopping centres around the world?

On an unseasonably warm day in mid-January, the squat towers and glasshouse roofs of the American Dream shopping centre gleam in the pale sunshine.

The new shopping centre, which began a phased sequence of openings in October 2019, is one of the most ambitious of its kind anywhere in the world – with a focus on experiences rather than retail. At approximately 3 million square feet, it is also surely one of the largest.

For the president of the centre’s owner Triple Five group, Don Ghermezian, American Dream will offer consumers an “unparalleled experience and a sense of community”.

Yet, for its detractors, the site is everything from an architectural eyesore to a blight on the local environment and a further strain on a road network already overburdened by commuter traffic to the city and a nearby sports stadium.

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