Neiman Marcus vet named creative head of retail/entertainment giant

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Neiman Marcus vet named creative head of retail/entertainment giant

By Marianne Wilson - 03/25/2019
A 28-year Neiman Marcus veteran has joined the company that is developing one of the most talked about — and delayed — projects in U.S. shopping center history.

Triple Five Group has appointed Ken Downing to the new position of chief creative officer. He joins the company — owners of Mall of America and West Edmonton, which rank as the two largest centers in North America — at a crucial time. Triple Five is set to open the long-delayed, 3 million-sq.-ft. American Dream, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in late summer. (The opening was recently pushed back from spring.) The site will feature more than 450 stores and restaurants, multiple theme parks, an indoor ski hill, an ice-skating rink, and much more.

Downing will arrive at Triple Five from Neiman Marcus, where he serves as senior VP and fashion director. (He steps down from the role on March 29.) Downing will help to drive, define, and distinctly shape American Dream and Triple Five projects as entirely unique — and completely new — experiences, the company said, and lend his expert eye and input to American Dream’s final touches and ongoing evolution. He will lead the design, advertising, marketing, public relations and events teams.

“Ken’s appointment as chief creative officer for Triple Five underscores our commitment to providing guests with the highest level of service and style,” said Don Ghermezian, president, American Dream. “He is one of the most well-known and well-respected executives in the luxury sector, and his leadership will only serve to strengthen our position of providing one-of-a-kind, world class destinations. Ken has a proven track record of working with designers and curating premiere consumer experiences - mixing the best in fashion, art, culture and design.”

In addition to retail and dining, American Dream will feature more than 18 acres of entertainment including North America’s largest fully-enclosed indoor DreamWorks Water Park and Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park; a 16-story Big Snow Indoor Ski & Snow Park; Kidzania; a live Performing Arts Theater; a 300-ft. tall Observation Wheel; a Sea Life Aquarium, Lego Discovery Center; NHL-sized ice rink; and two 18-hole miniature golf courses.

“There are forces of nature and then there is Don Ghermezian of Triple Five,” said Downing. “No dream is too big, no detail too small. Together, with Don and the Triple Five teams, we will redefine the idea of redefining retail. I look forward, first and foremost, to contributing to American Dream. I assure you there is not another project anywhere that will rival its impact to the retail world.

The American Dream project launched in 2003, under the name Xanadu. Triple Five took over the struggling project, which had gone through two previous owners, in 2010, changing its name to American Dream. In 2017, the company secured $2.77 billion in financing and redesigned the long-stalled development.

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