Mall of the World ‘critical’ to unlocking Dubai retail potential

The unveiling of Dubai Holding’s proposals for The Mall of the World will form part of a strengthening mall development pipeline that is critical to unlocking Dubai’s vision, according to Cluttons.

Dubai Holding last week unveiled the details behind its Mall of the World project, which is set to also include the world’s largest indoor theme park and a theatre district to rival London’s West End, or New York’s Broadway.

It followed Nakheel’s recently revealed plans for a 6.15 million square feet mall on the Deira Islands, complete with a night market and amphitheatre.

Cluttons added that it currently expects some 7 million sq ft of new malls over 1 million sq ft in size to enter the market over the next two years, excluding all current city wide mall expansion activity.

Faisal Durrani, international research and business development manager at Cluttons, said: “Shopping is already synonymous with Dubai and has proved to be one of the city’s key lynchpins in its meteoric rise as the Middle East’s business capital.

“Dubai has a very significant portfolio of existing shopping malls and the string of new mall developments looks set to push Dubai further ahead of the region’s other emerging economies.”

He added: “Dubai’s malls have thus far been fairly traditional, offering global retail brands in a single ‘shopping destination’. During the last property cycle, we witnessed the inclusion of leisure attractions at some of the city’s malls, with Ski Dubai, iFly and the Dubai Aquarium all helping the Emirate’s malls position themselves as leisure destinations in their own right.”

As development across the city ramps up in the lead up to the 2020 World Expo and the emirate’s vision of playing host to 20 million tourists annually, the focus of activity has moved strongly towards the retail and hospitality sectors, Cluttons said.

Durrani said: “With authorities working towards an ambitious annual visitor target, the current hotel and serviced apartment portfolio in the emirate of approximately 80,000 keys is going to have to grow significantly.

“And it’s not just a question of swelling the hotel development pipeline, but a complex infrastructure of leisure and entertainment facilities have to be built to help drive Dubai’s vision.”

The Mall of the World will also include 100 hotels and some 20,000 keys, as well as offering visitors 7km of climate controlled promenades, something that is offered nowhere else in the world.

Durrani added: “I see this as Dubai’s answer to London’s Oxford Street and Paris’ Champs Elysee, which are both iconic shopping avenues. The added climate control element will for the first time allow the emergence of what will effectively be Dubai’s answer to a high street.

“At the same time, The Mall of the World will pave the way for the next generation of the city’s malls, where the shopping element is combined in equal parts with entertainment and leisure facilities.”

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