Plans for Dubai’s Mall of the World have made headlines all over the globe. But is there really a demand for this project, as well as the other retail developments the city plans to build?
A ranking of the 12 best shopping cities in the world by CNN earlier this year showed New York at number one, followed by Tokyo and London. Nestled in at number nine was Dubai.
In the years to come, when the newly-announced Mall of the World is fully completed — in about a decade’s time — it’s a fair bet that it will move up a notch or two on that, or any best shopping destination list.
The emirate’s mall evolution took another turn last week, and moved on to a new level.
The boom years saw malls move from the traditional collection of global retail brands in one development to being, according to Cluttons, “leisure destinations in their own right”. There’s Ski Dubai in the Mall of Emirates, iFly in Mirdif City Centre and the many attractions at Dubai Mall (an vast aquarium, an ice rink, a Sega indoor theme park and a set of fountains).
That evolution was due to take another step with the opening of Yas Mall in November this year, where the 235,000 sq m of retail space and 450 retail outlets will connect with the soon-to-be expanded Ferrari World attraction.
However, the Mall of the World announcement has surpassed all before it, and created headlines all over the world due to the sheer enormity of the project.
Plans for the development were first unveiled back in 2012, as part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City development, but the concrete plans and details have gone beyond many people’s expectations.
The world’s first temperature-controlled city will occupy a total area of 48 million square feet and will house the largest shopping mall in the world with an area of 8 million sq ft. The cost? A cool AED25bn ($6.8bn), according to the chief executive of Dubai Holding — the entity that is managing the project — Ahmed Bin Byat, who said it would take ten years to build.
“That (AED25bn) is how much it will cost when it’s ready. That is in about ten years so we are talking about a requirement of about AED2.5bn every year for the next ten years,” Bin Byat told Reuters last Wednesday.
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