By Parag Deulgaonkar
Al-Futtaim says venue will house Ikea amongst 100 other retail stores
Mall competition in Jebel Ali is set to become more intense with Dubai’s Al-Futtaim breaking ground on its 78,500 sq. metre “smart mall” on Monday.
The new mall will be part of the phase 1 of Wasl Gate mixed-use development, which will be home to more than 25,000 residents.
Located close to the Energy Metro Station and a few hundred metres from the existing Ibn Battuta Mall, the new mall will house 30,000-square metre Ikea store (the fourth one in the UAE), 4,000-square metre Ace as well as 100 retail stores.
The total leasable space will be 55,000 square metre, with parking for more than 2,000 cars. The mall is slated to open in the first quarter of 2019.
“The smart mall is part of a Greenfield mixed-use project and will be a landmark destination,” Omar Al Futtaim, vice chairman of Al-Futtaim, said before breaking ground on the project.
The second phase of Wasl Gate will comprise 1,457 residential units, a sports complex, K-12 schools with international curriculums, and a central park connecting the community’s commercial and residential neighbourhoods.
Christopher Wentzel, head of development, Wasl Asset Management Group, said the work on the two phases will commence concurrently though the entire timespan for development is 15 years.
“The development will also include space for start-ups and small and medium enterprises timespan.”
Wentzel said the project masterplan is in place with the phase one design of townhouses already completed and phase 2, comprising, apartments, likely to be completed in the next five months. The phase 3 is currently under study.
Asked what road improvements were planned to ease traffic congestion in the Jebel Ali, Wentzel said the masterplan includes major roads and infrastructure upgradation.
“We will be strengthening the junction here [near Jebel Ali Recreational Club] as well as on the parallel roads. There will be three major entry and exist points,” he said.
The central park will be almost half the old size of the 47.5-hectare Zabeel Park, Wentzel said.