Governor Phil Murphy still believes in the American dream.

And reports that the developers of the Rutherford mega-mall have lost equity in other North American locations due to their inability to repay a construction loan does not appear to have shaken the governor’s faith.

“It’s an extraordinary concept, despite the fact that e-commerce, which already had a lot of momentum before the pandemic, has gained momentum again,” Murphy said during Wednesday’s virus briefing. “I still think there is a place for something that is as experiential as that thing has to go.”

The Financial Times Last week, a group of lenders that helped finance the site’s construction announced it would take 49% stakes in two more malls owned by American Dream developer Triple Five.

The stage is the latest in a string of woes suffered by the long-troubled project, which has billed itself as a job and tourism mecca that will include an indoor theme park, water park and ski slope , among a host of other entertainment and retailers.

After nearly two decades of development that saw ownership of the project change hands on several occasions, the American Dream finally began opening in October 2019, but like most other businesses in the state, the center commercial was closed by the pandemic.

It remained closed for almost a year, until it reopened on October 1, 2020. With its doors closed and tenants not paying rent, the mall’s finances have fallen sharply, and it doesn’t appear that the New Jersey government be ready to step in, again, and take over.

While New Jersey has in the past given the mall around $ 1.2 billion in direct aid and tax incentives, Murphy suggested on Wednesday that the state was not taking immediate action to bail out the facility in difficulty.

“I don’t know of any state, no other state – I should say more, because the state, as you know at the start, long before I came here, was very involved – but I’m not aware of any other discussions in which concerns us, ”he said.

It is not clear what the future of the facility will look like. NJ Advance Media announced in early March that an aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center would open there in May, and that the mall will remain operational despite the withdrawal or bankruptcy of some tenants amid widespread business closures last year. .

“They still think it’s a great tourist attraction, and I guess in normal times they’re probably right. I could really see someone going there as a destination, ”said Murphy, adding that his team was in regular contact with those in charge of the mall.

The mall’s latest troubles do not herald its imminent end. According to the Financial Times report, American Dream mortgage lenders have allowed the company to pay interest only until the loan matures, and the share swap will not reduce Triple Five ownership. in the American Dream.

Lenders earn capital in the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada. The developer pledged these shares as collateral for a $ 1.2 billion construction loan in May 2017.