The UAE has the one of the highest per capita mall offerings in the world and is still growing rapidly. According to real estate consultancy Frank Knight, by 2020 existing malls plus planned mall projects will account for 10 million square metres of retail space. That’s a lot of retail therapy.
While last week’s disappointing (but understandable) news of the Mall of the World project downsizing might have you down, there are still many new malls scheduled for completion by 2020.
Here’s a list of some of the most exciting mall projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be completed by 2020:
Abu Dhabi is rapidly catching up to Dubai in the mega-mall race. Two one billion dollar projects are due for completion in 2018 – Reem Mall and Al Maryah Central. Reem Mall is being built on Reem Island and will have the world’s largest indoor snow play centre and 450 stores. Construction began on the nearby Al Maryah Central in August 2015. It will be integrated with the existing Galleria and boast the first Macy’s department store in the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s first Bloomingdale’s. Reem Mall’s chief operating officer, Shane Eldstom believes that the market can support both malls, stating: “We are very much a family offering, while we believe Al Maryah Central is more of an upper end offering.”
Residents of Palm Jumeirah who for many years had almost no retail outlets will soon have an abundance of shopping options. The recently opened Golden Mile Galleria will pale in comparison to the two new mega-projects underway – The Nakheel Mall on the trunk of the Palm and The Pointe at the Atlantis end.
Nakheel Mall has been designed with the architectural representations of water in mind and will “include a variety of indoor and outdoor features that echo nature.” A 180-metre high viewing deck is also on the cards and will offer visitors spectacular panoramic views of the Palm.
The Pointe will have more of a waterfront feel with retail and pedestrian walkways looking out onto the Atlantis hotel. Offshore fountains in the bay will give The Dubai Mall a run for its money with daily aquatic displays.
The Meydan One Mall which is part of the Meydan City development is also borrowing winning formulas from existing malls and mega-sizing them – with a 1.2-kilometre indoor ski slope (the world’s longest), a 420-metre dancing fountain (also pitted to be the world’s largest) and the world’s highest residential tower, observation deck and restaurant, this 10-year project is indeed trying to snatch The Dubai Mall’s long-standing records.
The Dubai Mall is not sitting by complacently; Fashion Avenue is currently undergoing a one million square feet (that’s 15 per cent of the current size) expansion project set for completion in 2016, bringing together the largest number of high-end fashion brands under one roof.
The Dubai Canal Project has also created more opportunity for waterfront retail expansion. The Gate Towers Mall, which will straddle both sides of the canal and effectively creates a sky-high bridge across the canal will have over 400 stores and three-levels which includes a roof-top park.
Everyone’s favourite mall for the weird and wonderful, Dragon Mart, is transforming into Dragon City. With phase two of the project already completed and four phases remain, adding a further 1.3 million square feet of retail space and parking for a staggering 12,000 cars.
It’s not all mega-malls though. There will also be an increase in the number of smaller malls serving communities. These community malls include Al Khail Avenue Mall off Jumeirah Village Triangle, Circle Mall in Jumeirah Village Circle and Emaar’s Souk brand malls, which will roll out to The Meadows and The Springs.
With the lower oil price, the UAE will certainly be looking to this vibrant retail environment to maintain economic growth. Currently wholesale and retail account for 29 per cent of the UAE’s GDP and 25 per cent of the workforce. The UAE really will become the world’s mall if it is not already – in 2014 40 per cent of The Dubai Mall’s footfall was by non-residents.