Abu Dhabi amongst leading cities in world for shopping centre development

Abu Dhabi amongst leading cities in world for shopping centre development
Aldar's Yas Mall development during the early days of construction. It's expected to open in Q4, around the time of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (photo: Aldar.com)
Published: 7 April 2014 - 7 a.m.
By: Gavin Gibbon

Abu Dhabi has 778,000m2 of new retail space in its development pipeline, placing the UAE capital amongst the leading cities globally for shopping centre development, according to the latest research from global property advisor CBRE.

The new centres include the huge Yas Mall on Yas Island which is due for completion in the final quarter of 2014, along with other major centres such as Capital Mall in Mussafah and Sowwah Central on Al Maryah Island.

During 2013 Abu Dubai delivered 168,000m2of retail space, placing it in 18th position globally for shopping centre space completed, and number one in the GCC region. In comparison, last year Dubai delivered just 35,000m2of retail space.

“Abu Dhabi is witnessing significant retail space development, as it looks to establish itself as a prime destination for entertainment and shopping. New retail destinations such as the recently opened The Galleria are helping to increase the emirate’s exposure, bringing new retailers and concepts to the region,” said Nick Maclean, managing director, CBRE Middle East.

The increasing demand for retail space is supported by strong economic growth along with an influx of a large number of tourists and expatriates. Consequently, occupancy rates remain high, particularly in the major malls where less than 5% of space is empty. The larger centres have also benefited from a buoyant hospitality market which has boosted visitor numbers.

On the back of strong occupier demand, many major mall operators in Dubai are pressing ahead with extensions to their existing centres, including Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall. Currently this accounts for almost a quarter of the total retail space currently under construction in Dubai.

Across the world’s major cities, a total of 39m m2of shopping centre space is currently under construction, representing a 3m m2increase from 2013 with majority of the development activity focused on China.

Indeed, more than half of the shopping centre space under construction in the 180 countries surveyed is taking place within China’s borders.

Shanghai takes first position with 3.3m m2of space under construction – more than the combined total of all 86 European cities excluding those in Russia and Turkey. Just behind Shanghai is Chengdu with 3.2m m2followed by Shenzhen and Tianjin with 2.7m m2and 2.5m m2under construction respectively.

Other markets in the top ten include Istanbul, Wuhan, Moscow, Beijing, Nanjing, and Guangzhou.

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