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DreamWorks Announces Plans for Meadowlands Amusement Park

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This entertainment complex has been on-again and off-again for so many years I gave up hope and brushed it off anytime I heard anything about it. I was very surprised to see that construction had progressed to the point where it's schedule to open this fall. After all the false starts I assumed it was still "on the drawing boards".



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I drive by the Meadowlands pretty frequently and have even attended some Nets and Jets events this past season. The complex is coming along and construction all over the Meadowlands seems to be prrogressing at a pretty rapid pace. I can say though that the idea of the complex never really hit me and to be honest with the Devils now moved out and the Nets looking out of the Izod Center, I feel that Xanadu is a few years too late to really take advantage of the complex as a whole.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know they recently had a problem with local citizens raising concernes about losing their view of the NYC skyline which I suppose would in theory be both a pain and a possible issue in terms of property valuations and such. Can't find the link to the artcile but I think it was reported about a week ago or so.

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From the Star Ledger:


High hopes for the wheel in the sky

British firm to operate Pepsi Globe at Xanadu complex in Meadowlands

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Star-Ledger Staff


The 287-foot Ferris wheel to be built in the Meadowlands will be run by the same company that operates the London Eye observation wheel, developers announced yesterday.


Merlin Entertainments has signed an agreement to lease and operate the Pepsi Globe at the $2 billion Xanadu retail/entertainment complex, said Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for the complex.


The British company operates London's 443-foot observation wheel.


"We'll bring our expertise as a company in running these types of attractions," said Adrian Jones, an executive with Merlin.


The London Eye draws in school groups by day, parties by night and even couples getting married, Jones added. "No doubt this eye will be exactly the same, having incredible views of New York," he said.


Merlin also will run Xanadu's Legoland Discovery Centre, a 44,000-square-foot "virtual city" made out of interlocking blocks, with activities such as model building, rides, a cinema with special ef fects, party rooms and a cafe.


The toy attraction will be the second of its kind in the United States. The first is under construction near Chicago.


Xanadu has struggled to fend off critics' charges that it will be little more than a megamall, competing with all the state's other malls.


The complex's landlord and its Bergen County critics said yesterday's announcement gave hope that it will draw in visitors seeking thrills, not just shopping.


"I think it's indicative of their successful effort to achieve the mix of entertainment and retail that had always been promised," said Carl Goldberg, board chair of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns the land.


"We're all taking a leap of faith with Xanadu," said Thom Ammi rato, spokesman for East Ruther ford, where residents have said they fear being swamped with traffic and other problems. "If it works out, that's great. If it doesn't work out, we're going to have economic repercussions throughout the area for years and years."


The $2 billion Xanadu complex is due to open at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in November. It is being financed by Colony Capital, a private equity firm.


The Pepsi Globe construction has not yet begun. However, Kaplan said yesterday it is expected to be ready by November. The Legoland attraction is set to open early next year.


Goldberg said the authority still needs to review the Pepsi Globe plans to make sure they obey the authority's rules on signs and other requirements. The soft-drink maker's estimated $100 million spon sorship deal calls for a 150-foot digital Pepsi sign.




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Out of the Star Ledger:


Sports authority demanding a review of Xanadu appearance

by Maura McDermott/The Star-Ledger

Tuesday March 18, 2008, 4:04 PM

Responding to complaints about the look of the Xanadu complex rising in the Meadowlands, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is demanding a show-and-tell by the project's architects.


The authority's board "has widespread concern with the current appearance" of Xanadu, and expects a presentation by the project's architects at a public meeting on March 27, according to a letter from Carl Goldberg, chair of the board, to Larry Siegel, president of Meadowlands Xanadu.


Local residents and officials have complained about the project's blue-and-orange exterior, with state Senate President Richard Codey calling it "yucky-looking."


The developers also must submit plans for the proposed Pepsi-branded Ferris wheel, Goldberg wrote. The nearly 300-foot wheel would bear a 150-foot, electronic Pepsi sign, according to a $100 million sponsorship deal reached by developers and the soft-drink company.


However, the Pepsi deal cannot go forward unless the authority approves the design of the wheel and the sponsorship terms, Goldberg said today.


"We'll deal with the Ferris wheel and the sponsorship of the Ferris wheel as we've dealt with every other aspect of the project, with a thorough and complete review to make sure it's consistent with the original conceptual presentation," he said.


The $2 billion, two million-square-foot Xanadu retail and entertainment complex is expected to open in November. It is funded by Colony Capital, a private equity firm.


Richard Edmonds, a spokesman for the developer expressed confidence in the project's design today.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Edmonds said. "There were probably people who thought the Eiffel Tower was really ugly when it was being built. We love the design. Plus, it's a work in progress."



Looks like the whole project including the Ferris Wheel and its sponsor will be on hold for right now. In all honesty this really does seem typical of the political circus in New Jersey and I have a bad feeling any fixes are going to bite the taxpayer now.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...
Guest warnerleroy

The Ferris Wheel looks fun, but I think the addition of the Muvico Theater is great! Just like the Movietown plaque says, movies were invented in new Jersey and it's a great place for movies to come to life! It'd be great to see a movie premiere in NJ! Although it's off topic, it'd be interesting if Universal opened a park in NJ due to it's signifigence in the movie industry.

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Looks like it's finally going to happen....


Press Release from Premier Rides:


Premier Rides to build Pepsi Globe Observation Wheel at Meadowlands Xanadu

BALTIMORE, MD - PREMIER RIDES, INC., considered one of the world’s most innovative theme park ride providers, has been awarded the contract to design, fabricate, and install the iconic Pepsi Globe Observation Wheel to be located at the spectacular Meadowlands Xanadu entertainment and retail complex in East Rutherford, NJ. The iconic wheel will be leased and operated by Merlin Entertainments Group, the world’s second biggest visitor attraction operator, who also has The London Eye in their portfolio of over 60 attractions.


“We at Premier Rides are extremely honored to have been selected to design and build such a visionary attraction that the Pepsi Globe Observation Wheel represents,” said Jim Seay, President, Premier Rides, Inc. “Being part of the group that creates a signature product is both an honor and a significant responsibility. Merlin Entertainments Group and Meadowlands Development are leaders in the development of high quality experienced based visitor attractions, entertainment and retail centers and we are proud to be part of their team.”


The electricity used to power the Pepsi Globe, the tallest and most spectacular wheel in the Americas at 286 feet, will be 100% offset with renewable energy certificates. In addition, the aluminum used for the ferris wheel sign and many of its components will be made with 95% recycled content.


Merlin Entertainments Group which is rapidly building its US business, with 5 new attractions to open in the next 12 months, will offer a unique experience during the Pepsi Globe ride, which will last approximately 25 minutes for a full revolution and offer sweeping vistas of the New York skyline and the Hudson River. Groups of up to 20 visitors each will enter 26 glass-enclosed, climate controlled, capsules for the ride of a lifetime.


The Pepsi Globe promises to be among the most outstanding tourist attractions in the New York City metropolitan region.


Premier Rides is currently designing, fabricating, and installing five to six major attractions every year both on a domestic basis and at international locations such as Dubai and Singapore. “The Pepsi Globe at Meadowlands Xanadu is a signature project and one of the most important in Premier’s history. As a company that focuses on unique custom attractions, we strongly believe in the Xanadu business model and believe there is amazing potential for iconic type attractions like the Pepsi Globe,” Mr. Seay said.


Interesting. I hope Premier has better luck with this wheel than they've had with their LIM coasters and their ferris wheel coaster. :P


Also very interesting that Merlin is going to be running it. They really want to come into the US in a BIG way... :o

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From: Maryland Gazette


The wheel deal

By MARC SHAPIRO Staff Writer


Premier Rides, a Millersville amusement rides and attractions company, will build a 286-foot Ferris wheel at an expansive entertainment and retail complex in New Jersey. It's the biggest contract in the company's 13-year history.

The Pepsi Globe Observation Wheel will be the largest Ferris wheel in North and South America when it opens at the Meadowlands Xanadu complex in East Rutherford, N.J. The world's tallest wheel, at 541 feet, is in Singapore.


"It'll be a really stunning icon for the New York metropolitan area," said Jim Seay, president and owner of Premier Rides. "You'll be able to see it clearly from Manhattan for those people around the Hudson River."


Its 26 cabins, each of which will be able to hold 20 people, will be completely enclosed and have heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units in them.


The wheel will feature one of the world's largest logos on a 150-foot LED screen, which will be displaying the Pepsi Globe logo.


"We had been looking for an opportunity to secure an iconic presence in New York and once we had seen plans for Xanadu we knew we had to get involved," said Nicole Bradley, spokesman for Pepsi-Cola North America.


"You're not going to be able to miss the globe when you're driving by Xanadu."


Pepsi entered a 10-year partnership with Xanadu.


The wheel will be 100 percent offset with renewable energy certificates. When a company buys the certificates, the money goes back to firms that make electricity from renewable sources, such as wind or solar.


Also the aluminum that will be used to make the wheel sign and many of its components is made with 95 percent recycled content.


"We're proud of the fact that this wheel represents an effort on our part to demonstrate how you can have, in our industry, design and fabrication efforts focus on the green effort," Mr. Seay said.


He would not disclose how much the contract was for, but said that a typical premiere attraction for the company is between $10 and $20 million and this is significantly larger.


The Meadowlands Xanadu complex, which features 2.3 million square feet of entertainment and retail attractions including gourmet restaurants, America's first indoor ski dome, movie theaters and a concert and live theater venue, will open next summer. The Ferris wheel will open at that time.


"The facility is designed to be the most entertaining shopping experience in the world," Mr. Seay said.


Consumers can also go skydiving in big vertical tubes powered by columns of air and other shoppers can watch the skydiving, Mr. Seay said. There also are plans for world class aquarium and Lego facilities, he said.


At this time, the concrete foundations for the wheel are being constructed, Mr. Seay said. After the winter, it will take about three months to install the wheel.


The wheel was designed at the company's Millersville headquarters, home to the company's administration and design teams of about 40 employees. Its fabrication facilities are in the west, mainly in the Salt Lake City area. The company has additional U.S., European and Asian offices.


The company designs, builds and installs, five to six major attractions every year in the United States and abroad. The Joker's Jinx ride at Six Flags America in Prince George's County, the Italian Job Turbo Coaster at King's Dominion in Virginia and the Revenge of the Mummy ride at Universal Studios in Florida, were all made by Premier Rides.


"We like to focus on what we call signature attractions and certainly the wheel represents very much an iconic signature attraction," Mr. Seay said.

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TOP: A model from Premier Rides shows what the

Pepsi Globe Observation Wheel will look like when

it’s assembled in East Rutherford, N.J.

BOTTOM: The wheel will hold 26 air-conditioned

cabins capable of holding 20 people.


Source: HometownAnnapolis.com

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  • 2 months later...

I went to see The Day the Earth Stood Still in IMAX and was surprised to see that they destroy Xanadu in the film! The place isn't even open yet and it is leveled! Although the clip below doesn't show it, it happens just after Giant Stadium is toasted. (1:24 in the clip)


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Source: nj.com


Xanadu retail complex is 70 percent leased, but officials consider delayed opening

by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk Thursday February 12, 2009, 5:27 AM


The Xanadu shopping and entertainment complex development in the Meadowlands is 70 percent leased, according to a report in the Record.


The report said Xanadu officials still face a difficult decision about whether to open in August, as scheduled. "Everyone recognizes that with this type of facility, you only get a chance to open once, and you want to do it with as much fanfare and with the most exposure possible," said Carl Goldberg, chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. "I think Xanadu would like to be at 80 percent [of square footage with executed leases], but that becomes more difficult in this economy."

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