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Sun 16 Dec 2007 02:39 AM

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Burj Dubai mall opens its doors

Phase one of Souk Al-Bahar launches in $20bn development with 50% of retailers to open by year-end.

Emaar Malls, a subsidiary of Emaar Properties, said yesterday it had opened the first phase of a shopping mall in the $20 billion Downtown Burj Dubai development.

Phase one of the Souk Al-Bahar has more than 50 shops and the largest of the development's three supermarkets, along with a range of restaurants and cafes. Over 50% of retailers will be open by the end of 2007, with a continuous rollout of retail and food & drink outlets in the following six months, Emaar said in a statement.

The mall has a gross leaseable area of 164,700 sq ft (15,300 sq metre) and will have more than 100 stores when it is completed next year.

Phase one will be marked by weekend entertainment during December, and the ‘coming alive’ of the Bouelvard, which will transform the area in to a community festival.

Emaar Malls said last month it was looking to borrow to finance an 11-fold expansion in retail space in the Middle East and Asia in a decade.

Emaar Malls has around 11 million square feet (1.022 million sq metres) of retail space, including in properties under development such as the Dubai Mall, said Emaar Malls Chief Executive Rashid Doleh. That would rise to 100 million sq feet in 10 years, he said.

The Dubai Mall is part of the Downtown development as is the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building.

Emaar, the largest Arab property developer by market value, aims to get 15% of its revenue from recurring operations such as hotels, serviced apartments and retail properties by 2010, the company said in May.

Emaar makes around 90% of its revenue in Dubai, much of that from sales of land and property.

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