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No. 2: Don Ghermezian

Commercial Real Estate Power 50

Don Ghermezian, president, Triple Five

Sure, it’s taken a while. Sure, a lot of New Jerseyans were certain it just wasn’t going to happen. And yes, it’s not all open yet … but it’s finally here. Triple Five President Don Ghermezian did what 12 years ago seemed impossible: he opened American Dream, the mega-development in the Meadowlands formerly known as Xanadu. The Nickelodeon Universe theme park and The Rink ice skating facility opened on Oct. 25. DreamWorks Water Park is slated to open Nov. 27. North America’s only indoor ski and snowboard slope Big SNOW opens Dec. 5.

High-end retailers such as Hermès and Tiffany & Co. will open in March 2020 alongside a slew of entertaining and dining establishments, unless opening days get pushed back again. While Bergen County’s blue laws might keep the shops closed on Sundays, the sheer size of this project — roughly 3 million square feet — and the number of hiccups that have given developers pause make the American Dream a surprise to many and a big deal to many more.

Ghermezian should hope so, anyway: the developer is reportedly anticipating attracting 40 million people per year for shopping, dining and entertainment.

When it’s fully open, American Dream will be the second-largest mall in the country, after Triple Five’s Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. The company used the Minnesota property to help obtain $2.8 billion in financing for the Meadowlands project. And Ghermezian is a visionary behind the destination — his influence touches everything across the property. So he has a lot riding on the success of the venture. Those 40 million people better find some way to get there.

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