Troubled Meadowlands indoor ski resort, Xanadu, reclaimed by lenders

Posted By: The Ski Channel on September 1, 2010 8:41 am

The ongoing saga of developer efforts to bring indoor skiing to New Jersey hit another bump in the road recently; lenders have taken over the $2 billion Xanadu mall development from Colony Capital.

The stalled project that contains North America’s first indoor snow slope has been troubled for most of its history, and has seen a multitude of companies trying to bring the development to life.

Located near the former Meadowlands, just 10 miles from Manhattan, Xanadu was originally developed in 2003 by the Mills Corporation, who had built a similar project in Madrid. The mall and indoor ski area were scheduled to open in 2007 but was slowed during the recession, which saw Colony Capital take over the mall in 2006. With the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, who had lended nearly $500M towards the project, Xanadu hit even more hurdles.

Among the creditors who have since taken control of the project are Credit Suisse Group AG, which is currently involved in trying to revive the bankrupt Tamarack resort in Idaho; and Fortress Investment Group, parent company to resort giant Intrawest which owns numerous ski resorts including Whistler Blackcomb.

While the indoor ski slope has been completed, and the facility reportedly already having run snowmaking, the biggest obstacle to skiers may be the state of New Jersey. Xanadu’s developers owe the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority another $95 million dollars under the remaining balance due on a ground-lease agreement that was to run through 2026.

If the project doesn’t move ahead soon, the state may seek foreclosure options, effectively ending the dream of skiing year-round in the U.S.