American Dream Mall Reveals It’s Landed Retail Award
The owners of the American Dream mall in the New Jersey Meadowlands like to brag that their project has attractions not found in any other mall in the New York metro area, or in much of the world – water parks and indoor attractions, a ski slope, an aquarium, an observation wheel. But the future tenant they seem most proud of lately is something many malls already have – an Apple
The news, revealed by mall officials, that Apple plans to open a flagship store at American Dream gives the mall, which is struggling to fill its retail space, a major stamp of approval.
Don Ghermezian, CEO of American Dream, confirmed that Apple had signed a lease, saying it was one of many impressive tenants coming to the mall this year. A spokesperson for the mall, in a statement, said “Apple fits perfectly” with American Dream’s “superior mix of experiences and retail.”
The store is expected to open by the end of the year and will be located on the second level of Yard D, opposite the two-story Zara store, according to mall officials.
Apple, which is notoriously tight-lipped about plans for future stores until they’re almost ready to open, didn’t respond to repeated questions about the American Dream store.
Eleven other malls in New Jersey have Apple stores, most of which opened in the first decade after Apple launched its two original stores in 2001, in California and Virginia.
Apple quickly became the most coveted tenant of all mall leasing teams as the stores’ ability to draw crowds and their stratospheric sales per square foot quickly became apparent.
As Forbes.com contributor Sanford Stein noted, last year when the stores celebrated their 20th anniversary, Apple stores produced record sales figures per square foot, reportedly 5,500 to 6,000. dollars per square foot, which is twice what Tiffany stores generate.
But Apple has been selective about which malls it chooses, and it has also focused on prime, non-retail locations in US and foreign cities.
Apple has 518 stores worldwide and about half of them are located in the United States.
Because Apple doesn’t share any details about the American Dream store, it’s unclear exactly how big this lease deal will be for the mall.
Apple’s two most recent store openings, in Seoul, South Korea, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, are showcase stores located near tourist attractions and designed to underline the renewed emphasis on ‘Apple on experiences in its stores, such as Today at Apple courses on topics such as video editing, music remixing or coding. The new Seoul store is Apple’s largest in South Korea.
American Dream officials said they couldn’t comment on how many square feet Apple will occupy in the mall because details have not been finalized.
The 3 million square foot complex has plenty of retail space to fill. The plan originally called for a 50-50 split between retail and entertainment. This has grown in recent years to 70% entertainment, 30% retail. According to the mall’s latest disclosures, American Dream is 82% leased, including leases under negotiation. A mall spokesperson said last week that the mall will be nearly 95% leased by the end of this year.
If Apple builds an unusually large flagship or uses the space to experiment with a new store design or new experiences for customers, the lease deal could be a major blow for American Dream. And even if it opens a smaller, more standard store, American Dream will be able to brag to other potential tenants that it has got Apple’s approval.
This approval could help sway other retailers who are still afraid to commit to a mall that has been delayed for a decade, first by the failures of previous developers, and funding and construction issues, and then the pandemic.