Monster shopping centres in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and more
Time Out Dubai staff
Set to open April 4 this year, Fujairah City Centre is developed by Majid Al Futtaim and will be the first integrated entertainment and retail centre in the emirate, as well as one of the largest shopping malls in the region. Located on the intersection of the new Fujairah-Dubai highway and the Masafi Highway at the entrance to Fujairah city, the mall will have a 1,000-space car park, 34,000 sqm of retail space, a multi-screen VOX cinema, a Magic Planet family entertainment centre and scores of food and beverage outlets. Anchor retail tenants will include Centrepoint, Paris Gallery, Max Fashion and Carrefour (the largest in the emirate), as well as 105 value and mid-market brands, 85 percent of which will be new to Fujairah. The mall, which is in the final stages of construction, is also on-track to obtain a LEED Gold rating for its environmentally friendly design, making it the first building in the emirate to receive this classification.
Doha Festival City is a QR6bn (US$1.65bn) mega project and is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014. The development, which is a joint venture between Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Company (BASREC), the Al-Futtaim Group, Qatar Islamic Bank and other investors, will fill the gap in Qatar’s retail market and boost the amount of gross leasable area (GLA) for retailers by 260,000 sqm. The mall is being designed with four distinct interior zones: Water Concourse, Garden Promenade, Rainforest Boardwalk and Fashion Galleria. IKEA, which part of the Al-Futtaim Group in the region, will be the first section of the mall to be constructed, with a scheduled opening date of Q4 this year. The 32,000 sq m store will later be accompanied by a mix of other international and local brands such as Toys R Us, Marks & Spencer and Intersport across 400 outlets, and shoppers will have access to some 8,500 car parking spaces and a vehicle management system. The project is located 15km north of downtown Doha on Al Shamal Road, one of the main arterial routes to the city centre, making it an ideal location for a big mall. Linked to the shopping area will be automotive showrooms, two hotels and an entertainment complex, which Al Futtaim says will be “very large”. No further details have been given at this stage.
Abu Dhabi still might not be able to match Dubai on the retail front, but with the new Yas Mall on its way, this will not be the case for long. Despite missing its original scheduled completion date of 2011, the mall has managed to retain the interest of several retail heavyweights, signing deals with firms such as MH Alshaya, the Landmark Group, Dubai Holding Group, Royal Sporting House and Liwa Trading. Developer Aldar Properties says the mall will have more than 235,000 sqm of retail space when it opens in Q4 of next year, 95 percent of which it expects to have leased out to retailers by the end of 2012. Upon completion, the whole development will feature some 700 retail and food units including four major department stores and six hotels, and will be connected to tourist destinations such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the Yas Island water park and the Formula 1 Yas Marina Circuit. Geant is set to be the mall’s anchor tenant, after holding company Retail Arabia signed a long term year lease agreement with Aldar for a hypermarket spread over an area of more than 16,000 sqm and stocking over 65,000 products. According to reports, the mall’s Ikea store will be also the largest in the whole of the MENA region.
Spanning a massive 3m sqm, Cairo Festival City - the mixed-use urban community by Al Futtaim Group - is set to offer a premier indoor and outdoor shopping destination to residents of Greater Cairo named Cairo Festival Centre. Located 15 minutes from Cairo International Airport, the modern retail resort will be the focal point of the wider community, providing 180,000 sqm of retail space, over 300 shops and at least 95 restaurants and cafes. Among its 17 major anchors are Al Futtaim retail partners and brands such as Ikea, Plug-Ins and Marks & Spencer, while a mix of other names like hypermarket chain Carrefour have also signed up for space. As well as shopping, the mall will also provide a 17 screen multiplex cinema complex via Renaissance Cinemas, parking for more than 7,000 and an ‘edutainment centre’ known as KidZania Cairo. Completian of the centre remains unconfirmed following the country’s revolution.
The US$300m Beirut City Centre shopping mall is set to open next year and could create 1,200 retail jobs according to developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF). The project, located in the capital’s Hazmieh district on the Damascus-Beirut road, will house a total of 200 stores over three levels and 40 international food and beverage outlets, including the first Carrefour hypermarket in Lebanon and an open-air, rooftop dining area. Beirut City Centre is the first shopping destination to be built by mall developer MAF in the country and will also include a VOX Cinemas multiplex and a Magic Planet family entertainment centre. Having commenced construction on the mall in September 2009, MAF has scheduled completion for early 2013. As with some of MAF’s other retail destinations, the mall is aiming for a LEED silver rating by incorporating eco-friendly technologies into the design.
The Pointe is a new Dhs300m shopping centre planned for the Palm Jumeirah, as developer Nakheel tries to boost its retail offering. Not to be confused with the recently announced Palm Mall, (situated close to the Shoreline apartments,) the 136,000 sqm mall will be located at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah, across the bay from Atlantis Hotel, covering 131,000sqm and including 56,120sqm of high end retail shops. Among its main features will be offshore computer-controlled fountains, a 34,130sqm promenade, and a marina with floating pontoons, not to mention 1,200 car parking spaces, monorail access and boat rides between the centre and the hotel. With a focus on its food and beverage and leisure offering, the mall is expected to have approximately 120 restaurants and cafes, and hoped to add to existing tourist destinations on the Palm, servicing not only residents but also visitors to Dubai. The Pointe should be ready to open at the end of 2013.
Another mall to make an appearance in the coming years is the Mall of Arabia in Dubailand. It is set to house a 15-screen cinema, a bowling alley and state-of-the-art performance stage, as well as a rooftop hotel and access to a Restless Planet theme park. As for the shopping, the resort is expected to have more than 1,000 retail outlets across more than 929,000 sqm of GLA, making it bigger than Dubai Mall, which currently holds the title for the largest shopping centre in the world. Media reports last predicted a revised completion date of 2013 for the US$5bn project, but the developer has since informed Arabian Business that the mall will open at the end of the 2015. A spokesperson said the mall was definitely still in the pipeline, but currently came second on the priority list after the nearby theme park, which is set to open in 2013.
Despite a year of political turbulence, there are plenty of new developments still on the agenda for Egypt’s capital city, Cairo. One such development, the Mall of Egypt, is set to provide 160,000 sqm of GLA, and most intriguingly, a Ski Dubai-type resort, known as Ski Egypt. The Dhs2.71bn development is being developed by Majid Al Futtaim, the same company that oversaw Ski Dubai. It is hoped to be the dominant super mall serving the western half of the city, with a strong fashion element, 17-screen cinema, family entertainment centre and over 50 food and beverage outlets. It is set for a 2014 opening, giving the developer just enough time to prepare for the tourist influx.
The 200,000 sqm Mall of Syria will be located in the Sabboura Yafour district in Syria’s capital Damascus, and form part of Majid Al Futtaim’s Khams Shamat tourist development. Upon completion in 2015, the mall will take the title of the biggest shopping centre in the Levant region, with as many as 300 shops and a variety of international and local retail brands. Linked to the mall will be hotels, business districts, touristic apartments and modern civic amenities, to provide a fully integrated mixed use development. The site was chosen specifically for its status as the western growth corridor for Damascus, and one which is easily accessible to tourists travelling on the Beirut/Damascus international highway.
With a soft opening taking place in March 2012, Muscat Grand Mall is the most recent of the region’s new shopping centres to be opened and the latest to launch in the Omani capital. Located in the Al Khuwair district, it hopes to attract nearly 20,000 visitors a day when all stores are officially opened. It has a gross floor area of 67,000 sqm divided between 160 new outlets, with top retail names including Sharaf DG, Homes R Us, Tim Horton's café, Shoe Studio, Garage and Aeropostale, not to mention Carrefour which will be the mall’s anchor tenant. There will also be a multiplex cinema, a food court, a children's entertainment area and a mix of international restaurants and cafes. The centre is part of the mixed use Al Tilal Complex being developed by Al Madina Real Estate and will later be accompanied by residential and commercial projects.