Al Ghurair City expansion 'a no-brainer' for Dubai

One of the oldest malls in Dubai will unveil its 12,540 square metre expansion by next March.

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DUBAI // Al Ghurair City, one of the oldest shopping centres in Dubai, will unveil its 12,540 square metre extension as early as next March, the group says. The expansion of the mall, located in the heart of Deira, will add about 150 shops to its existing 200 outlets, and boost its size to 79,000 sq metres, said Shane Eldstrom, the senior manager for retail leasing at Al Ghurair City.

Construction on the new wing of the mixed-use development began in 2007 and is expected to be completed between next March and September, Mr Eldstrom said. "It's just such a no-brainer given the busy roads in front of the project," Mr Eldstrom said on the sidelines of ReCon, the retail property conference in Dubai. "I think ever since they built the original one they wanted to add on to it, given the amount of traffic that is in that neighbourhood."

Al Ghurair was one of the first shopping centres in the Middle East, said Mr Eldstrom, and opened before Dubai became a global retail centre. Since then, Dubai has had a shopping centre building boom, with the addition of developments such as Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall. But with all the new retail space comes steep competition, especially as UAE consumers have become more cautious with their spending.

David Macadam, the regional director of retail for Jones Lang LaSalle in the MENA region, said Al Ghurair City continued to be successful but with the recent addition of new retail space, such as the recently opened Mirdif City Centre, it would be difficult to bring in tenants and shoppers. "There is going to be increased pressure for attracting retailers, and attracting the demographics you need to shop," Mr Macadam said.

Mr Eldstrom estimates there are 250,000 people living in Deira and about 750,000 people in the catchment area. The average household income in the primary trade area is about Dh184,904 and Dh51,359 of that is disposable income, according to research conducted by GRMC consultancy. Michael Davidson, the chief operating officer of Al Ghurair City, said the demand would come mainly from the residents in the surrounding area, and from the new offices and five-star hotel that are also part of the new wing.