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San Francisco to San Mateo:  

I haven’t been to San Francisco for almost two decades but my recent visit to San Francisco (which I  attended high school during the Joe Montana and Jerry Rice era) was mildly disappointing. I saw a car  drive by itself with no humans. I have never seen it before. Then I thought about the increase in  productivity. People spend hours a day driving to work in mad traffic in California. While they are only  testing this in San Francisco, I thought this was a game changer. On the contrary, the crime rate seems to  have increased. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a diehard 49ers fan, but the disappointing part was the  increase in crime, especially car theft. In addition, there seemed to be more homeless people on the  streets. When I asked an old high school friend “What happened?” He answered you can’t leave  anything valuable in your car anymore (which is a rule of thumb in most places). Some went on to say they usually leave their car doors and windows open. Crime has gotten bad. Maybe the increase in tech jobs, which drove salaries higher for some people can live in the City. However, this is one reason home  and rent prices are high leading to more homeless problems.  

Beverly Hills to Newport: 

Los Angeles is another metropolitan area with booming businesses and home prices have risen  significantly here too. The city tried to revive downtown by injecting money into the stadium and  building modern apartments. However, the crime rate in DTLA isn’t any better. I found that some have  moved out of the city and settled in Orange County. People with money probably migrated to Newport  Beach or Manhattan Beach.

New York to New Jersey: 

After thinking about the two major cities in the United States, I also visited the Big Apple – The city that  never sleeps and as Jay-Z put it “If you can make here, you can make it anywhere”. Of course, there is no  place like New York (Manhattan). However, hooked to the Starwood point system (now Marriott), I  always stayed at my usual W-Hotel. All I will say about that is, it wasn’t what it used to be in a bad way.  You won’t see me there again. My question is, will similar migrations take place over the next few years  from NY to NJ? My view is that if they build out NJ and rent prices are much lower than that of NY especially Manhattan, people just might migrate to NJ and work in Manhattan. The few that are  fortunate to grow up all their lives in Manhattan may be bias towards NJ like I was in high school. We  looked down on San Jose (this is before the tech boom). I found that most of my high school friends have  all moved to southern part of San Francisco like San Mateo, Burlingame, and others areas. 

In fact, New Jersey is on its path to building itself. In my recent trip, I visited the much talked about  American Dream Mall (ADM). As noted below, this is the second biggest mall in the United States.  Nearby MetLife stadium. The Jets and the Giants play there, and they have multiple concerts and events  a year.  

Building the 2nd Largest Mall in the US: 

Getting licenses, funding, developing anything of that scale will have its opposers and American Dream  Mall (ADM) was no exception. Initially, several ownership and operators changed and while it seemed  like it was recovering, the pandemic hit. Like many of us, we felt the pain. Restaurants and retail shops  were closing not only in ADM but all over the world. However, it’s reviving again but better than the first  time around.

As of July 1, ADM reported being 85% leased from 83% in 6 months. The mall is so large it is difficult to walk from one end to the other and not to mention the plenty of retail stores all in one mall. You can also find art pieces in the hallways that may stop you from rushing to the next store to appreciate. Recently, I heard ADM is 87% leased. Below are some of the retail stores are already open or will becoming soon:

While most shopping malls have 70/30 retail vs entertainment, ADM is almost 50/50. Tenants already include Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Watches of Switzerland, Dolce & Gabbana, Moncler, Sak’s 5th Ave are already in. Hermes, and Canada Goose will come in. For people like me, I’ll be at H&M, Primark, Zara, and Pacific Sun. American Dream also inked a 10-year partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and its local bottling partner Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, which would mean a lot more branded eateries.

In addition to the expansion of the parking spaces, ADM run a fleet of several helicopters to offer luxurytransportation for wealthy international tourists and residents from a helipad to be located on the roof of the mall’s Saks Fifth Avenue store. North NJ reported the mall had purchased three helicopters, plus four automobiles, two Rolls-Royces and two Bentleys to transport customers from Manhattan and the Hamptons. American Dream would also employ a Rolls-Royce golf cart to move VIP guests throughout the property since it so big. However, what excited me the most is the indoor ski resort, ice skating rink, Nickelodeon Amusement Park (they try to build the steepest ride), Sea Life Aquarium, Lego Land, DreamWorks Water Park and my favorite, man-made waves for surfing. This could become a great staycation from the hustle and bustle, a nice weekend getaway from NYC. Most of us can’t afford the Hamptons. Check it out yourself!

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