UAE cities among most active for retail development

With 626,887sqm of mall space under construction, Abu Dhabi and Dubai rank 17th globally in a CBRE report


Abu Dhabi and Dubai have together ranked 17th on a list of the world’s most active cities for shopping centre development, according to CBRE.

The consultancy’s “Global Shopping Centre Development” report put the total retail space currently under construction in the two cities at 626,887sqm, an 11% rise on last year’s figures. Dubai accounts for 361,127sqm and Abu Dhabi for 265,760sqm.

According to the 2016 report, the Middle East retail market remains very attractive for brands with Dubai ranking second for international brand presence.

In the category of shopping centres delivered over the last year, CBRE found Muscat leading the way in the GCC region, with Dubai accompanying it in the global top-50.

Matthew Green, head of research and consulting at CBRE Middle East, said: “We know that consumers across the Middle East like to spend their money on retail, food and beverage, and leisure activities, particularly within the mall environment. The ongoing investment across the region is therefore catering to these needs, and with retailers from across Europe and the US continuing to look for alternatives to drive future expansion, the region offers a wide range of opportunities for consumers.

“The Middle East offers a tried and tested marketplace for investors with less risk than those normally associated with emerging markets. This is clearly reflected in the size of the development pipeline for the region, especially so for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. With demand for new stores being sustained across key markets, developers remain bullish on the outlook for the retail sector in the region.”

Within the Middle East, the UAE has the largest development pipeline, with a number of major malls set for delivery over the next three years. Nakheel’s Palm Mall in Dubai, which comprises around 111,000sqm of gross leasable area (GLA), is expected to be complete in 2018. The Point, which has a total GLA of 48,000sqm, is due to open in 2017. Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, the next super-regional shopping mall expected to be completed is Maryah Central, which will offer a GLA of around 146,000sqm.

The report also identified Doha as a city currently witnessing a transformation of its retail sector amid an ongoing construction boom in the build up to the 2022 World Cup, with around 1.2 million sqm of GLA likely to be delivered over the next three years alone. At nearly 264,000sqm of GLA, Doha Festival City, due to open in late 2016, is set to become the largest mall in the country, featuring around 550 shops, including over 100 F&B outlets and Doha’s first snow park as well as the region’s first Angry Birds theme park.

Beyond the Middle East, China remained the most active in terms of delivery of new space, the report said, with cities such as Chongquing, Shenzen, Chengdu and Shanghai all having over three million sqm of space under construction in more than 30 projects in each city.

Among the leading global cities for delivery of new space were Bangalore, Manila, Moscow and Mexico City, each of which completed over six million sqm in 2015, CBRE said.

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