Plans for new Abu Dhabi shopping centre announced

Abu Dhabi is to get a new shopping centre with Mubadala Real Estate announcing plans for a 33,000 square metre mall on Sowwah Island.

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Abu Dhabi residents will soon have another shopping option, just a bridge away.

A 33,000 square metre shopping centre, called The Galleria at Sowwah Square, is due to open in 2012 as part of Abu Dhabi's new business district on Sowwah Island.

Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality has entered into a joint venture with Gulf Related, a regional real estate development company, to develop the retail destination, it announced today.

"'The Galleria at Sowwah Square' offers Abu Dhabi's most compelling opportunity to create a distinct shopping and dining destination on the waterfront as part of a dynamic mixed-use environment that will include luxury hotel flags, Grade-A office space unparalleled in the region and Abu Dhabi's new Securities Exchange," said Kenneth Himmel, managing partner of Gulf Related (CK), in a statement.

The Galleria is part of the 114-hectare Sowwah Island mixed-use development, projected to have a working population of 75,000 residents and 30,000 residents.

Other developments underway as part of the capital's new Central Business District include the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi and Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotels.

The new development would be welcomed by residents in the capital, as it has a shortage of shopping facilities and many people drive to Dubai to shop, analysts say.

But as more and more shopping centres are being planned to cater to this demand, analysts warn Abu Dhabi may be heading for oversupply.

The Galleria is among several retail developments being built in the capital. Most of the mall developments in the UAE over the past five years have been in Dubai. But as construction slows in that emirate, where the market is saturated with retail centres, developers' focus has turned to Abu Dhabi.

While Dubai will have next to no mall construction for the next five years, the amount of retail space in the capital is expected to double to 1.8 million sq metres by 2015, the property broker Cushman & Wakefield says.