The massive new project in Dubai is set to become a major tourist destination for the world traveller
IN LINE with Dubai’s ambitions to position itself as the cultural, tourist and economic hub of the region, plans have been unveiled for what is expected to be the world’s first temperature-controlled pedestrian city enfolding a series of superlative projects – namely the world’s largest indoor theme park, largest shopping mall and largest celebration centre.
UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum last month launched the Mall of the World, which spreads over a total area of 48 million sq ft along Sheikh Zayed Road.
The landmark project, spearheaded by Dubai Holding, is set to also include a theatre district to rival London’s West End, or New York’s Broadway.
The mega indoor theme park will be covered by a glass dome that will be open during the winter months.
The shopping mall will cover an area of 8 million sq ft, taking the form of an extended retail street network, which marks a departure from the typical shopping mall concept currently available in Dubai.
Additional districts within the project will include a dedicated wellness zone catering to medical tourists, a cultural celebration district as well as a wide range of hospitality options comprising 20,000 hotel rooms catering to all types of tourists.
Once completed, the city is projected to become a year-round destination, welcoming around 180 million visitors annually.
Commenting on the new project, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible. This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision.”
Integrated Pedestrian City
The new project will introduce the innovative concept of an integrated pedestrian city connected to the mall and offering a wide range of leisure, retail, cultural, wellness, recreation and hospitality options under one roof.
The 7-km-long promenades connecting all facilities will be covered during the summer and open during the winter, ensuring a pleasant temperature throughout the year.
The project will see the addition of 100 hotels and serviced apartments buildings, including 20,000 hotel rooms. It will include designated parking areas with a capacity to host up to 50,000 cars on the ground level.
Dubai Cultural District
This district will be the hub for national and multinational cultural festivities and events in the UAE, accommodating some 15,000 revellers. A dedicated theatre district with host of venues similar to some of the world’s renowned landmarks such as London’s West End and New York’s Broadway. The Celebration Walk, similar to the Ramblas Street in Barcelona, Spain, will connect the cultural district to the rest of the mall. It will include a range of conference, wedding and celebration halls
Another component of the mall is the Wellness District, which will cover a total area of 3 million sq ft dedicated to providing wellness and rejuvenation services.
Commenting on the project, chairman of Dubai Holding Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi said: “Mall of the World presents an innovative concept in the international hospitality sector, further strengthening Dubai’s appeal as a tourism hub with a wide range of options. This project is a product of extensive research studying international and regional tourists’ requirements and preferences. The objective is to create an integrated city with a plethora of best-in-class options within pleasant environments. The project will be developed in phases in alignment with the gradual growth of family tourism in Dubai.”
Ahmad Bin Byat, chief executive officer of Dubai Holding, says: “We are ready to move forward with this unique concept, whose distinctive offering and strategic location will play an instrumental role in advancing the growth of Dubai’s tourism sector. The project will follow the green and environment-friendly guidelines of the Smart Dubai model. It will be built using state-of-the-art technology to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, ensuring high levels of environmental sustainability and operational efficiency.”
Commenting on the Mall of the World, Faisal Durrani, international research and business development manager at an international real estate services consultancy Cluttons, says: “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, creating destinations in their own right, while catalysing the development of wider surrounding areas.”
The announcement follows Nakheel’s recently revealed plans for a 6.15 million-sq-ft mall on Deira Islands, complete with a theme park that will be the world’s largest indoor theme park.
The leading developer is also building the new Nakheel Mall on Palm Jumeirah, (see Contractors), a night suq at Deira Islands, The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah, extensions to Dragon Mart Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall and retail centres at five Nakheel communities across Dubai.
According to Cluttons, mega mall development is critical to unlocking Dubai’s vision.
The firm 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.
Durrani says: “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.”
He says Dubai has a very significant portfolio of existing shopping malls and the string of new mall developments looks set to push the emirate further ahead of the region’s other emerging economies.