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Mills brings its Spanish Xanadu concept to Jersey

The Mills Corp.’s Meadowlands Xanadu proposal was selected by the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, providing the Xanadu team with the exclusive right to negotiate a developer’s agreement for the development of a $1.3 billion family entertainment and recreation complex with an office and hotel component at the Continental Arena site in East Rutherford, N.J. The Xanadu team is comprised of The Mills Corporation, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and the New York Giants.

The Xanadu proposal features the Snow Dome, America’s first year round indoor Alpine ski resort with real snow and chair lifts. Other entertainment and recreation features include The House of Blues, Cheesecake Factory, UnderWater World aquarium and a PBS Kids Pavilion. The entertainment and recreation redevelopment effort is expected to add to the appeal of the Sports Complex and enhance the Giants’ bid to bring a future Super Bowl to the Meadowlands.

Meadowlands Xanadu’s 4.76-million-square-foot complex will feature a family entertainment destination comprising three themed zones: sports/recreation, kid’s activities and fashion. The project will also include office and hotel space totaling 2.2 million square feet, consisting of four 14-story, 440,000 square-foot office buildings and a 520-room hotel with conference and exhibition facilities.

In addition to the Snow Dome indoor ski resort, Xanadu will feature a baseball park to house the Bergen Cliff Hawks minor-league baseball team and the Bergen River Dogs professional lacrosse team. Additional active and spectator activities include ESPN Skate Park (extreme wheel sports), an indoor surfing wave, a grand movie palace, a small format live entertainment venue and a Wildlife Museum. Xanadu will also include the Meadowlands Area YMCA, with multi-purpose areas, spaces dedicated to basketball and gymnastics, an aquatic center, locker rooms and a child care facility.

Xanadu will also include Wannado, a revolutionary, 150,000-square-foot entertainment concept where children can role-play adult professions, such as news reporter or television producer, airline pilot or cruise ship captain, doctor, circus performer, banker or dozens of other jobs while learning about earning and spending in an entertaining environment. Called "City of Children" in Mexico City, it has been a smash hit since its opening in 1999 and features leading global brands as part of the experience.

The fashion area will provide a luxury spa, cooking school and exclusive European retail, such as Zara, Mango, Mexx, and Carolina Herrera, to support the recreation and leisure activities.

Assuming the completion of a successful development agreement, The Mills Corporation will donate the 587 acre Empire Tract to the State of New Jersey, a significant acquisition of open space and wetlands for the State. Mills has joint-ventured a portion of its share of the project to its long-time private equity source, Kan Am. The terms of the joint venture call for Kan Am to fund two-thirds of the Mills total equity requirement consistent with terms previously disclosed in the company's public filings.

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