Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

Five new malls on the way in Dubai

Posted by vmsalama on April 20, 2008

 

by Vivian Salama

The National

Courtesy of Nakheel

 

DUBAI // Nakheel, the Dubai-based developer, will begin construction of five major new malls in the emirate before the end of this year. 

The malls would contribute an additional 1.3 million square metres of retail space to the city’s landscape, said Graham Dreverman, the group managing director of Nakheel Retail. 

“In Dubai alone, Nakheel is building communities for over three million people over the next 20 years, so we need to supply somewhere between five and six million square metres of retail floor space,” said Mr Dreverman. “There is an undersupply of retail space in Dubai today.”

Scheduled for completion in 2012, the malls include shopping centres on Palm Jumeirah and Palm Deira, the 140,000 square metre second phase of Ibn Battuta Mall, and India Mart and Great Mall, both in Nakheel’s International City.

Palm Deira Mall will be the largest in Dubai when it opens, superseding Emaar’s 520,000 square metre Dubai Mall and I&M Galadari’s 930,000 square metre Mall of Arabia.

“Big is great if it makes sense,” said David Thurling, the managing director of Nakheel Shopping Malls. “If we’re building the malls at 400 or 450 million square feet, we’re doing so because it meets the demand.”

Tourist spending is a major contributor to the success of most of Dubai’s shopping malls, and Nakheel will build 21,000 hotel rooms alongside the retail centres. The malls will also target the large, mostly Asian, expatriate community.

“There’s India Mart, which will service the community here, which is predominantly South Asian.”

Nakheel currently operates two retail centres in Dubai: Ibn Battuta Mall and Dragon Mart, the largest Chinese wholesale trade centre outside of China.

While Ibn Battuta Mall has a Géant hypermarket, Nakheel has signed a memorandum of understanding with an as yet unnamed major supermarket group to lease space in all of its new malls.

The combined new projects would be worth “billions of dollars”, said Mr Dreverman, adding a firm figure would be available once construction contracts had been finalised.

“In the next six months, we’ll be on the ground and within the next 12 months, we’ll actually have started on the sites of all of these,” he said.

Eventually, Nakheel intends to create one-stop retail and entertainment destinations at its new malls. 

The Palm Jumeirah mall will include a 1,800-seat Cirque Du Soleil theatre, which Mr Dreverman likened to Las Vegas. It will also house the largest group of restaurants under one roof in Dubai. 

Great Mall, in International City, is planned to accommodate the largest collection of home furnishing retailers in the world.

“This we see as essential, given the housing boom here,” said Mr Thurling.

Nakheel will unveil more details at the annual convention of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres, which starts today in Dubai.

vsalama@thenational.ae

 

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