Massive North Jersey entertainment, retail complex moving toward 2019 opening

 Gov. Chris  Christie meets with construction workers at American Dream site in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Governor’s Office photo)

Gov. Chris Christie meets with construction workers at American Dream site in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Governor’s Office photo)

Gov. Chris Christie once called it the ugliest building in New Jersey. Now he’s saying a multibillion-dollar retail and entertainment complex in the Meadlowlands will be vital to the state’s economy.

Known as Xanadu when it was approved in 2003, the North Jersey project was plagued by a series of financing problems and construction delays. But what’s now called the American Dream is on the way to becoming a reality, the governor said.

“So after this project languished during previous administrations and a few other bumps along the way on our own, this project is progressing vigorously, and a new completion date is scheduled for March 2019,” he said.

The project represents a good deal for New Jersey taxpayers, Christie said.

“Over the first 20 years of operation, an average of $3.5 billion in tax revenue will be paid to the state of New Jersey,” he said. “That’s a nine-to-one return on our investment of our $390 million” in grants approved by the Economic Development Authority.

The complex is expected to create more than 23,000 permanent jobs in Rutherford.

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