The American Dream Is Finally Becoming a Reality in New Jersey

Planners took a hard-hat tour of the new entertainment and retail destination during Northstar's Meetings Quest Meadowlands hosted-buyer event.

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What is the American Dream? For tourism authorities in New Jersey's Meadowlands area, five miles from New York City, it's a highly anticipated entertainment and retail destination opening this spring. Spanning more than 3 million square feet -- picture the length of two Empire State Buildings laid end to end -- the mega project promises to transform Rutherford, N.J., and the surrounding area.

Plans are chock full of superlatives. The developers, Triple Five Group of companies, are responsible for the two largest shopping and entertainment centers in North America: the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. New Jersey's American Dream promises to show up its sisters as the biggest and best.

Participants of Meetings Quest Meadowlands, hosted by Northstar Meetings Group, were treated to a hard-hat tour of the mammoth site before yesterday's opening reception at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Among the highlights:

• The Collections, a 200,000-square-foot luxury retail destination anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Hermes, with 450 retail, food and specialty shops;
• Four theme parks: Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, Sea Life Aquarium, Legoland Discover Center and Peppa Pig World of Play;
• A 16-story Big Snow Indoor Ski & Snow Park with two slopes: a bunny hill, and an intermediate hill complete with chair lift;
• A 1,800-seat performing arts theater;
• The world's steepest roller coaster, which will rise through the roof of the complex;
• A 285-foot-tall observation wheel providing stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

Also debuting this spring: an NHL-size ice rink; the Dining Terrace, with more than 15 full-service restaurants; and two 18-hole miniature golf courses. Set to open in September is DreamWorks Water Park, North America's largest fully enclosed indoor water attraction, featuring the world's largest wave pool.

Along with one-on-one appointments between planners and suppliers, the Meetings Quest program included an educational session, "Seminars Are Boring, How to Create Events People Actually Want to Attend," led by Jessica L. Levin, president and chief connector of Seven Degrees Communications.

In his welcome remarks to the group, David Blansfield, executive vice president and group publisher of Northstar Meetings Group, noted that Meetings Quest was the industry's first hosted-buyer show, launched in 1984. Click here for information about other NMG events.