Last week the American Dream shopping centre and entertainment complex in East Rutherford New Jersey unveiled a glossy new luxury retail wing called The Avenue that looks unlike anything in North America to date. American Dream was developed by Triple Five Group which got started in building entertainment-focused shopping Centres with West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton.
The Avenue luxury wing at American Dream is anchored by a new Saks Fifth Avenue store. The luxury wing is home to 20 retailers and spans about 300,000 square feet. Several stores opened there last week including Hermes, Mulberry and Dolce & Gabbana — the Hermes store spans an impressive 8,000 square feet which is larger than any location in Canada. Soon, other retailers will open including Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co., Anne Fontaine, Gentle Monster, Alexander Wang, Jonathan Adler, Zadig & Voltaire and a Brut Champaign bar will also be featured at The Avenue.
A 113,000 square foot Saks Fifth Avenue store also opened at American Dream, housing a range of luxury brands including concessions for Louis Vuitton and Gucci. The design of the Saks store is visually different than the three Saks stores in Canada located in Toronto and Calgary. American Dream is home to Saks’ only store in New Jersey — the retailer exited The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack in 2014 and the Mall at Short Hills in 2016.
Montreal-based design firm GH+A designed the space and Toronto-based Adamson Associates Architects were the architects for the Avenue — the two firms have been collaborating on the project since 2012.
In 2019, Triple Five hired Ken Downing to be Chief Creative Officer at American Dream. He introduced New York City-based Jonathan Adler to the project who designed the furniture for The Avenue. Landscaping was designed by Miami-based Plant the Future.
Interestingly, The Avenue luxury wing is so large that it is made up of two buildings. Building ‘E’ was completely remodelled and Building F is the new expansion featuring a glass skylight.
The Avenue features natural light shining from skylights as well as real trees and shrubs. Curving architecture characterizes the space and flooring is made of black and charcoal-coloured marble tile laid in a fishtail pattern. Included is a crystal chandelier under a rotunda and a grand staircase.
A 50,000 square foot Barneys New York store had been intended to open at American Dream, but the chain filed for bankruptcy and shut all stores last year.
The $6 billion 3.3 million square foot American Dream has been under construction for years and in 2019, attractions including Nickelodeon Universe and The Rink opened along with several kiosks. The pandemic delayed opening other sections of the megamall until recently. The entertainment component to American Dream now also includes the Big Snow ski slope, the Sea Life Aquarium, mini golf, Legoland and other attractions.
Triple Five, owned by the Ghermezian family, developed the fist phase of West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton in 1981 and the shopping centre has become the largest in North America with more than five million square feet. In 1992 Triple Five unveiled its second megamall project, the Mall of America in Bloomington south of Minneapolis. Both feature a mix of retail, food & beverage and entertainment.