New Jersey Approves American Dream Bonds Again After Challenge

(Bloomberg) -- A New Jersey agency voted for a second time to approve a $1.15 billion tax-exempt bond issue to finance the American Dream mall project located in the Meadowlands after a non-profit group had threatened to file a law suit to block the sale. 

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns the mall site, voted to readopt resolutions for the sale of bonds on behalf of Canadian developer Triple Five Worldwide. The bonds will allow the Edmonton, Alberta-based company, who also own the Mall of America in Minnesota, to complete the 2.9 million square-foot American Dream project. About $350 million of the debt is backed by grant money and another $800 million is payable from payments by the developer in lieu of taxes, known as a PILOT.

The non-profit New Jersey Alliance for Fiscal Integrity had said the bond resolutions approved by the NJSEA board at its Aug. 25 meeting didn’t state the principal terms of the bonds, including interest rates and maturity dates, in violation of state law. In addition, the resolutions failed to explain why the bonds were being sold privately to a Wisconsin agency rather than through a competitive bid process and that NJSEA failed to give adequate public notice of the Aug. 25 meeting.

The New Jersey agency is selling the debt to the Wisconsin Public Finance Authority, which will market the unrated bonds to investors.

The project, abutting the New Jersey Turnpike west of Manhattan, has failed to make several promised opening dates as developers ran out of cash. It now anticipates opening in mid-2018.