DISCUSSION TOPIC: Critics: Xanadu Stinking Up Jersey Swamp
It’s impossible to imagine that Kubla Khan’s vision of Xanadu bore any resemblance to the monumental (some would say monstrous) mall project of the same name that is growing on the edge of the Meadowlands swamp in northern New Jersey.
The project, which has been beset with financial challenges, environmental challenges and critics who know ugly when they see it, continues to move forward largely as the result of one man’s unwavering commitment to the 2.4-million-square-foot entertainment and shopping complex.
That man, Laurence Siegel, is the driving force behind Xanadu, a $2.3 billion project that when complete will include features such as the first indoor ski slope in the U.S., a wind tunnel for sky diving lessons, a wave machine for indoor surfing, and a 287-foot-high Ferris wheel (Pepsi logo positioned prominently in the middle) that will offer riders close-up looks at the Manhattan skyline. Xanadu will also include a movie multiplex with an Egyptian theme (locals scratching their heads over that), dining options galore and acre-upon-acre of upscale shopping destinations.
As a New York Times article pointed out, many who have seen the plans and renderings of the project have reacted adversely. Richard J. Codey, president of the New Jersey State Senate, described it as “yucky-looking.” Others, RetailWire has been told by local sources, refer to the project now as “Xanadudu.”
No matter the naysayers, Mr. Siegel is convinced that Xanadu’s success will dwarf its massive size. “Look at the majestic nature of this space. You’re going to come here just for the ‘omigod’ factor,” he told The Times.
Discussion questions: What do you think of the Meadowlands Xanadu strategy to create a huge retail and entertainment complex? Are these types of developments in line with where the consuming public is headed?
Despite the design concerns, the combination of cool & unique entertainment with great stores should create a success for Xanadu. This project reminds me of, and is dwarfed by, the mega hotel/shopping/entertainment projects in Dubai. With the economy likely to be tough for quite some time and making vacations less affordable, residents in the NY area will be glad for a unique “almost vacation” getaway, similar to Mall of America. I believe we will see more of these projects over the years and they will certainly put pressure on existing malls to reinvigorate their offerings to compete for share of ever-shrinking time and wallet.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist
Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
Thank you for visiting my blog! Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings. Comments are the life-blood of any blog and I appreciate yours!