The 1.7 million square foot Sowwah Central will link with The Galleria, a luxury mall that opened in August, when it opens in 2017. Above, a rendering of Sowwah Central. Courtesy Gulf Related
The 1.7 million square foot Sowwah Central will link with The Galleria, a luxury mall that opened in August, when it opens in 2017. Above, a rendering of Sowwah Central. Courtesy Gulf Related

Al Maryah Island’s Sowwah Central aims to be launchpad mall for brands debuting in Gulf

Sowwah Central, an upcoming mall on Al Maryah Island, will be where retail brands new to the region choose to launch, according to the developer behind the project.

The 1.7 million square foot centre, which will link with The Galleria, a luxury mall that opened in August, is due to open in 2017.

“This will be the shopping centre where brands new to the region will gravitate, without question,” said Kenneth Himmel, the co-managing partner of Gulf Related, a partnership between Gulf Capital and Related.

“It’s the highest quality and it satisfies a very important dynamic about coming to Abu Dhabi. By locating in this shopping centre you don’t have to go to five locations. It’s so central and so accessible.”

Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of next year but the developer is already close to signing deals for centre’s two department stores, one of which will be a United States-based brand that has never opened an store outside the country.

In total, the developer is in negotiation for about 75 per cent of the space in the mall, which will include high street brands such as H&M, Zara and Massimo Dutti.

“We have [made] presentations to everyone, both in the US and here and as you know, all these brands to come here are in the hands of a local operator, Azadea, Apparel UAE, Al Tayer, Chalhoub,” said Mr Himmel. European brands have had a presence in the UAE for many years, but now more US companies are setting up in the country, he said.

“You are going see Abercrombie. You will see a lot of the brands coming here. Apple will start doing its own stores.”

The mall will feature a large selection of food and beverage and a family entertainment centre that could be different from anything else already on offer in the UAE.

“We have some very interesting people we are talking to because we have a lot of experience with this sort of thing in the US,” said Mr Himmel.

“Just to use as an example, we have relationships with a lot of the networks so this is not someone who is coming. But as an example we have a working relationship with Disney and Marvel. We can work on brands and intellectual property uses and actually work on bringing some uses here that are pretty unique. We are in dialogue with people about that,” he added.

Sowwah Central is one of two major malls due to launch in Abu Dhabi in 2017, the other being The District on Saadiyat Island.

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 


Copa del Rey, semi-final second leg

Real Madrid 0
Barcelona 3 (Suarez (50', 73' pen), Varane (69' OG)


Director: Lee Cronin
Stars: Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan
Rating: 5/5

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020

Company Profile

Name: Nadeera
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Founders: Rabih El Chaar and Reem Khattar
Sector: CleanTech
Total funding: About $1 million
Investors: Hope Ventures, Rasameel Investments and support from accelerator programmes
Number of employees: 12

Company profile:


Started: January 2018

Founder(s): Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech, micro finance

Initial investment: $1 million


Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi

Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania

Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia

Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola

Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

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