Moody’s likes Xanadu revival

Moody’s Investor Service said this week that the revival of the Xanadu project will be “credit positive” to both East Rutherford and Bergen County as it will bring in added revenue and jobs.

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie announced that the project, which had been stalled for two years, would resume with a new developer – Triple Five Group Ltd. – and a new name – American Dream at the Meadowlands..  The company has pledged 1$ billion to $1.5 billion in conjunction with $200 million in state financing.  The first phase of the newly rejuvenated project is expected to be completed by 2013, ahead of the first ever Super Bowl to be played at the Meadowlands with the second phase completed sometime in 2014.

The project, which has been nearly universally panned as ugly, will get a facelift as part of its development.

Moody’s said despite the complex’s tax exempt status, the addition of Payments in Lieu of Taxes that are projected to generate $250 million within the first 20 years of operation will bring much needed revenue to the area.

Moody’s compared the payments to those already collected from the Meadowlands complex, which amount to about 20 percent of East Rutherford’s overall tax levy in a given year.  There is still potential for the PILOT agreement to change, Moody’s warns, which could change the projection dramatically.

In addition to the revenue collected from the complex, the ratings agency says the new center will create 9,000 construction jobs and some 35,000 permanent jobs, which should increase property values in East Rutherford and the surrounding areas as new residents move in to fill them.

Construction code fees also will likely see a jump, Moody’s projects, from the $244,000 received in 2009, the last year for which figures are available.

“Looking forward, the various tourism-related revenues will provide needed revenue growth within a new environment of property tax levy limitations under the State of New Jersey’s 2% property tax cap,” the agency said.

Moody’s likes Xanadu revival