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Weinberg Asks – Again – For Details On Xanadu Development

Senator Says She’s Happy the Project is Moving Forward, but State Taxpayers and Local Residents Deserve Answers

TRENTON – State Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, once again called on Governor Christie and Administration officials to release detailed plans for the development formerly known as Xanadu. Yesterday, Governor Christie participated in a news conference with site developers to announce the rebranding and repackaging of the site as “The American Dream,” but failed to provide details about the cost to taxpayers or plans to improve local infrastructure.

Senator Weinberg’s statement is below:

“While Xanadu is on its way to transition into the ‘American Dream’ – the largest retail, entertainment and tourism facility in the entire world – I remain concerned that this megamall development could become a nightmare for Bergen County residents and State taxpayers who will be footing the bill for needed public infrastructure improvements and development incentives for years.

“In January, I urged the Governor and his Administration to be transparent and open regarding the development deals and backroom negotiations surrounding Xanadu. Specifically, I believe local residents deserve to know what plans the State has in place to deal with the influx of visitors to the Meadowlands region, and how to best address the strain on our transportation and public utility infrastructures.

“Also, New Jersey taxpayers deserve to know how much the latest plans for ‘The American Dream’ megamall will cost them, in terms of an investment in the infrastructure and any tax credits or other economic incentives offered to the developers.

“My request in January for more information from the Administration was met with silence. Subsequent follow-ups in March and April were likewise met with silence.

“While I’m happy that the site is back on track, and I look forward to the jobs and revenues that ‘The American Dream’ will bring to Bergen County and the entire region, I think the Governor needs to be completely transparent about the public impact of this development. We ought to engage State taxpayers and local residents in a discussion of the merits and pitfalls of expanding Xanadu’s footprint, and investing more funds into an already costly development.

“I believe it is the wrong approach to delay the release of information on ‘The American Dream’ development until it’s too late for taxpayers and residents to voice their concerns. The Governor and Administration officials should immediately provide information regarding this development, and let the people decide for themselves whether this is a good deal for New Jersey.”