Abu Dhabi Municipality signs deals with developers for community malls

Further deals involving another community mall and facilities around two slipways

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Abu Dhabi Municipality has signed new deals with developers who are set to bring forward community malls at separate sites in the emirate.

The municipality signed deals on Wednesday with Abu Dhabi-based developers City Lights and Persistence for Property Development (Persistence), according to the head of investment Jassim Al Dhaheri. These were for new “community markets” in Al Wathba, Al Shamkha and Yas Island. City Lights will build the malls in Al Wathba and Al Shamkha, and Persistence will build the Yas project.

The deals have been signed under build, operate, transfer (BOT) agreements, with developers holding the plots for a 32-year term. They will have two years to build the malls and then a 30-year operating period before eventually handing them back to the municipality.

“They are all almost the same size,” said Mr Al Dhaheri. “They usually have an anchor supermarket, retail shops, coffee shops and some community service provisions. Also, where applicable, or where needed, we provide locals with government service counters to save them the hassle of travelling further.”

The Yas Island mall being developed is a 13,281 square metre retail centre on a 22,136 sq metre plot which will be within the existing villa community for Emiratis that currently exists in the area.

Mr Al Dhaheri said “our plan in total is to have 38 community markets. It depends on the developments and where they are mostly needed”.

Three more deals, including a further community mall and two small marina areas for boats and jet skis at Al Sadr and Al Bahya, were signed yesterday.

The mooring facilities and associated buildings at Al Sadr and Al Bahya will be developed by Emirates Investment Corporation (EMIC), while a smaller community market with a gross floor area of 2,700 square metres will be developed at Al Raha Gardens by Cornerstone Real Estate.

Mr Al Dhaheri said the signings follow four earlier agreements for community malls, including sites at Mohammed bin Zayed City and at Shakhbout City. He said that the municipality has used a tender processes to choose developers, with firms providing the best technical specifications and commercial terms generally picking up the BOT contracts. He said that there had been “huge interest” in the community mall projects tendered thus far.

Riyad Al Halabi, general manager of Persistence, said that its project will contain a supermarket, community services such as a gym and a nursery, a municipality service centre and other shops. He argued there would be “a high demand” for the project not only from residents in the existing Yas Island villa community but also from the nearby Yas Acres project, where Aldar Properties is bringing forward more than 1,300 villas.

“If you are living in this community and you want to purchase bread, cheese … you should not go to Yas Mall and spend time for parking. We are talking here about the basics. You need nurseries, you need a gym.”

He said that the Yas community mall would cost about Dh70 million to build and be completed by the end of 2019.


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