The Galleria Al Maryah Island's expansion is finally open for business - and a lot of leisure and entertainment, thanks to one of the most sophisticated lifestyle destinations ever unveiled in the region.
Abu Dhabi’s newest retail and lifestyle destination has officially opened on Al Maryah Island.
Complementing the established luxury-focused Galleria Mall, the expansion offers a high street portfolio with a high-end experience, the expansion has been eight years in the planning, and brings together a collection of retail, lifestyle and entertainment.
Around 80 percent of the retail space is already leased, with the remainder to roll out in phases over the coming months. The opening of the expansion will bring to 70 the number of dining venues at the destination, including The Cheesecake Factory, and P.F Chang’s, as well as a new dining concept called Central Kitchens.
“We have opened our doors to The Galleria Al Maryah Island’s expansion and launched a new era of shopping, dining and entertainment for the capital,” says Daniel Parry, managing director of Gulf Related, which represents a joint venture between Related Companies and Gulf Capital and worked on the project for the past eight years. The regional real estate developer launched The Galleria Al Maryah Island’s Luxury Collection in 2013.
The lifestyle destination was developed for the people of Abu Dhabi and caters to every member of the community with a unique offering that includes rooftop parks, entertainment for all ages and leading shopping and dining experiences.
“The first inkling of the idea for the expansion came up in 2012, a year before we actually opened next door,” reveals Parry. “We knew we wanted to do more, in addition to the luxury offering. We believe firmly in development through research and we studied the market carefully. It’s not a ‘build it and they will come’ approach. We asked what the community was looking for. Abu Dhabi is an incredibly young community; 33,000 babies are born every year, and we asked: where do families with young babies and children go, especially in summer?”
To the mall, it seems is the answer, but the master plan for the expansion has pushed the boundaries of a traditional mixed-use retail-driven destination.
“We identified that was what needed on the island was something that would appeal to the broadest spectrum. We discovered that the combination of luxury, licensed restaurants, luxury hotels and offices combined with the retail in the expansion created a destination that was a very compelling story,” says Kenneth Himmel.
“This is a game-changing project in the community. This year I opened Hudsons Yard and the Galleria, two of the most exciting projects I’ve done in my life. We changed the west side of New York forever and in this project we have changed the face of Abu Dhabi. As people come in here, jaws drop. And the tenants and rents will get better and better.”
The fruit of that data-driven planning and design includes wider lifts, so strollers can be easily accommodated, as well as baby changing facilities that can be accessed by men or women.
“Normally we start with mass and add the luxury, but we did it the other way around,” notes Parry. “And the luxury has done extremely well. For the expansion, we have taken the same design philosophy as in the luxury part of the Galleria Mall and amplified it. The mall is 500 metres end to end and has two kilometres of shopping here. The attention to detail, the little touches… are to make it feel like your home from home.”
Unique art installations, created exclusively for The Galleria by local and international artists, pay homage to the culture and heritage of Abu Dhabi. Decorating public spaces, artists including Sheikh Firdous, Julia Ibbini, Ahmed Al Zarooni and Soroshi Michelle highlight traditional arts such as Sadu Weaving and Nabati poetry. Installations also highlight Abu Dhabi’s landscape, multiculturalism and future.
“We are really focused on the community experience and our tag line is ‘eat, play, shop.’ The Galleria Al Maryah Island with its expansion now open represents the best edit across every class – luxury, high street and value. We are bringing best in class to a region that has always been a leader in entertainment within malls.”