- Associated Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The $2.8 billion in financing needed for a massive retail and entertainment center in the Meadowlands sports complex has been secured, officials say, clearing the biggest hurdle to completion of the long-delayed project.

East Rutherford and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority officials say work can now move forward on the American Dream megamall.

The project been plagued by financial problems since the first contract was awarded in 2003.

The immense structure, once called “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey” by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, has sat unfinished between MetLife Stadium and the New Jersey Turnpike for years.

Christie was advised on the project by real estate developer Jon Hanson, who said ultimately patience paid off.

“Sometimes he may have doubted me, and there was a lot of ‘two steps forward and three steps back,’ but in the end, they got it done,” Hanson told The Record newspaper. “Soon, people in North Jersey will see that this is something even more than they anticipated.”

It’s hoped the complex will open in 2019.

Plans include high-end retail, a water park, indoor rollercoasters and a skating rink.

Originally known as Xanadu and scheduled to open in 2007, the project fell prey to the economic recession before being taken over by developers Triple Five, whose properties include the Mall of America in Minnesota.

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