Nakheel triples retail space in Dragon Mart with opening of extension

The two-floor extension has a 12-screen cinema, a 250-room hotel and a multi-storey car park adjoining the complex.
Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah was the first customer through the doors of Dragon Mart 2’s new Géant hypermarket when it opened for business on Tuesday. Courtesy Nakheel
Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah was the first customer through the doors of Dragon Mart 2’s new Géant hypermarket when it opened for business on Tuesday. Courtesy Nakheel

Nakheel added 1.4 million square feet of retail space in Dubai with the opening of Dragon Mart 2.

The Dh1 billion extension is nearly double the size of the existing Dragon Mart. Presently, shops open in the extension make up 65 per cent of the available space, but the developer said the extension would be fully occupied within two weeks.

The two-floor extension has a 12-screen cinema, a 250-room hotel and a multi-storey car park adjoining the complex.

“We have 500 outlets with another 600 kiosks in this new retail space,” said Ali Rashid Lootah, Nakheel’s chairman. “This is the first delivery of Nakheel’s new expansion into retail. We want to capitalise on the success of our previous offerings.

“Dragon Mart gets 50,000 to 80,000 visitors every day and now we have given those customers a new destination for them to visit.

“We can see the benefit to the surrounding area as real estate rents have already jumped because of what we now offer. The extension will only be 70 per cent Chinese retailers, with a 9,000 square metre Geant as our anchor.”

Mr Lootah said all the mall space in Dragon Mart 2 was pre-leased, showing the appetite for retail space in the city.

Nakheel has 10 large new projects under development – ranging from the 3 million sq ft Deira Mall to the 432,000 sq ft Circle Mall in Jumeirah Village Circle – and a number of neighbourhood malls due for completion in the next five years.

On the Palm, Nakheel is due to deliver The Pointe, a 1.4 million sq ft, 135-outlet waterfront destination, across from Atlantis in December next year, and Nakheel Mall, which will have more than 300 retail outlets, in 2018.

The new Dragon Mart extension is looking to service the 70,000 residents of International City.

Geant, the anchor tenant, has opened its third-largest hypermarket in the extension, after Yas Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall, catering to local residents and Dragon Mart employees. The hypermarket operator has a long-standing relationship with Nakheel but said rents continued to weigh on profitability.

“The problem we are finding is that rents just keep going up and up,” said Mark Lack, Geant’s chief operating officer. “We have been in Nakheel’s Ibn Battuta Mall for 10 years, so the rent we have there is appropriate. But we pay the same rate for this new space in Dragon Mart 2, which isn’t bad, but it’s a new space. We have a fantastic relationship with Nakheel that allows us space in many of its malls, but Dubai isn’t cheap.”

ascott@thenational.ae

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Published: November 10, 2015 04:00 AM

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