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New Jersey's Xanadu Project Is Getting A Name Change

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Xana-who?

Xanadu, the mega-mall project in the Meadowlands that Gov. Chris Christie has called the ugliest building in New Jersey, will be getting a new name.

Jon Hanson, who headed a committee appointed by Christie to study the future of casinos, racetracks and Xanadu, told a gambling forum Thursday that the project will shed its Kubla Khan-inspired name.

Hanson says he met with the latest developers, Triple-Five, and told them the project does not mean anything to the average New Jerseyan.

"Nobody in New Jersey knows what a Xanadu is, so you have to change the name,'' Hanson says he told the developers. "I can report to you there will be a name change.''

A new name has yet to be picked out.

Last week, Christie called it the ugliest building in New Jersey, and possibly America. He said any deal to finish developing a troubled multibillion-dollar retail and entertainment complex at the Meadowlands will have to include a new exterior.

The decor, which cost an estimated $40 million, has been a source of curiosity for motorists on the turnpike and a joke for late-night comedians. It features rectangular panels of orange, brown, blue and lime.

Late last year, Triple Five, which owns the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, signed a letter of intent with lenders to complete the development of the complex and possibly expand it.

Hanson repeated that possibility Thursday, saying "We are exploring ways that we can increase the size of that facility.''

Located about 10 miles west of New York City, next to the Izod Center and across a highway from the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium that is slated to host the 2014 Super Bowl, the decor of the complex has been a source of curiosity for motorists traveling the New Jersey Turnpike.

Hanson, founder of a real estate operating company and past chairman of the authority that owns the stadium, said a recent study found that shoppers spend an average of 30 minutes at retail malls. But at malls with entertainment components, they spend three hours, he said.

He said the newly-named complex will be a retail and entertainment center that will draw millions of visitors a year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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