Cityland Group is to build a 1.6 million square feet mall complex next to Dubai’s Global Village.
The shopping centre will be a circular complex with 1.13 million square feet of leasable space and a 200,000 sq ft botanical garden at its centre, to be known as Central Park. This will include a mini-version of the group’s existing Miracle Garden attraction, an ancient tree garden, a Japanese Garden and a 360-degree rooftop garden flanked by cafes and restaurants.
The single-level building will also be flanked by shaded parking for up to 6,000 cars.
Fahimuddin Sharfuddin, Cityland’s chief executive, said that work is expected to start on the project next month and construction work is due to complete in less than 18 months, by March 2018. The mall is due to open shortly after that, during the second quarter of 2018.
The mall has been designed by MBA, the practice that created Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and a contract was signed last month with China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation to build it.
JLL has been appointed as project manager, while McArthur & Co is advising on lettings and will manage the completed mall.
The mall will have 350 stores built around six continent-themed pavilions. About 48 per cent of the space will be taken by fashion retailers, 27 per cent by non-fashion, 15 per cent by food and beverage outlets and 10 per cent by entertainment facilities.
Mr Sharfuddin said agreements are already in place with operators for 20 per cent of the leasable space available, including an operator for the 100,000 sq ft hypermarket, the family entertainment centre and a cinema complex with up to 14 screens.
Announcements about the operators for these will be made in the coming weeks, he said.
Mr Sharfuddin said that the project will be funded by a mix of debt and equity, and that a deal is currently being finalised with two banks – one local and one regional – to provide project funding.
Phil McArthur, the managing director of retail consultancy McArthur + Company, said that the centre’s target catchment area was the 200,000 residents living along the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road corridor who often have to travel up to 30 minutes inland to reach a suitable shopping centre.
However, Cityland Mall is also likely to face much more competition – not only from Majid Al Futtaim’s proposed 650,000 to 860,000 sq ft regional mall at its new community next to Global Village, but also from Dubai Holding’s Mall of the World – the Dh40 billion retail-led complex that was shifted to the same corridor in September.
Mr Fahimuddin said that he was not too concerned with the prospect of having Mall of the World as a neighbour.
“When this will happen, no one knows. Where it will happen, no one knows. We are talking about delivering the mall within 20-24 months maximum. I am only focusing on my mall being operational in 2018. I have very strong interest from retailers – we have first commitments of over 20 per cent so far without breaking ground. That gives us a lot of confidence.”
Mr McArthur said: “Of course, we have to pay attention to competition, but the competition we’re looking at today is the real competition that exists on the ground. Future projects will come along, but we’ll make sure that our project is well run and well marketed to maintain our market share.”
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter