Meadowlands plan sparks major projects

US architect and interior design specialist Rockwell Group is to embark on a major branding, wayfinding and signage project for what is being hailed as the largest entertainment and retail space in the US.

The $2.2bn (£1.1bn) Meadowlands Xanadu development in East Rutherford, New Jersey – the masterplan for which is being devised by David Rockwell – will offer a ‘new paradigm’ in retail, leisure and entertainment facilities, as well as visitor attractions, in collaboration with UK company Merlin Entertainments. It is scheduled to open in November.

A spokesman for Meadowlands says, ‘The format is currently underway, with each “district” having its own look and feel. Branding will be a huge component of the business model,’ he adds.

Merlin Entertainments, which runs the London Eye, was appointed last week to operate a similar ‘observation wheel’ at Meadowlands (pictured).

With estimates of up to 50 million visitors per year, the wheel – to be known as the Pepsi Globe – is tipped to be a centrepiece attraction, giving panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and northern New Jersey. The link with the soft drinks giant will be supported by a host of marketing initiatives, possibly including Pepsi Globe-branded cans.

According to a Merlin spokeswoman, its in-house design team is already working on the plans ‘to ensure that its experience from constructing and operating the London Eye is factored in to the project’.

She says that further observation wheels are being mooted as part of Merlin’s ‘dynamic growth strategy’, but declines to give location details. The company’s in-house design team is also working on the development of a Legoland Discovery Centre at Meadowlands, she adds.

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