Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim will open its largest mall in the Northern Emirates – City Centre Al Zahia in Sharjah – by 2020.
The mall operator, which will increase its investment in the UAE by $8.17 billion (AED30bn) to $13.08bn (AED48bn) by 2026, will invest $708 million (AED2.6 billion) in developing the new city centre.
The super-regional mall will have a gross leasable area of 136,200 square metre and will be part of the Al Zahia community, developed jointly by Majid Al Futtaim and Sharjah Holding.
The two-level City Centre Al Zahia will house a 15,100 square metre Carrefour Hypermarket, 16-screen VOX Cinemas, a 2,350 square metre Magic Planet along with a mix of 360 plus retail brands.
“Our mall will serve a catchment area of over 1.9 million people including residents of other Northern Emirates,” Ghaith Shocair, chief executive officer for shopping malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, told reporters after breaking ground on the project. Sharjah-based Consolidated Contractors International Company has been awarded the construction contract.
When asked if the increasing supply of retail space in the UAE was a concern for the industry, Shociar said the increase in space will benefit consumers and malls offering the “right mix of product and services will succeed”.
“New retail supply are all good things as it is all about the consumer. Developers and operators who are able to establish a high level of connection and establish a right level of product to attract consumers will succeed. But those who ultimately cannot meet the challenge are going to face hard times.
However he stated that developers and authorities weren’t likely to flood the market with retail space.
“We will wait to see whether the market can absorb the amount of supply that comes in. We have to remember that supply is not about a headline number. While you may hear about announced supply, it is important to know when that supply will hit the market because there are levers that developers or authorities will use to time the entry into the market.”
At present, City Centre Sharjah is currently undergoing a $70.84 million (AED260m) redevelopment completion expected in the fourth quarter 2017, while City Centre Ajman will double in size to 52,000 square metre at an estimated cost of $163.48m (AED600m), with expected completion by third quarter of this year.