18 November 2008Ñ Aldar Properties, Abu DhabiÕs leading property development, investment and management company today unveiled plans to build a signature Super Regional Mall as part of Abu DhabiÕs premier retail and leisure destination at Yas Island.
Courtesy Aldar
The Abu Dhabi developer hopes to lure punchdrunk Western companies to the richer pickings of the Gulf.

Aldar showcases Yas Mall in Cannes

Aldar Properties has taken its latest retail endeavour on a European roadshow as it seeks to interest companies looking for a lifeline from ailing retail markets in the West. Executives with the Abu Dhabi-based property developer are in Cannes today at the International Market for Retail Real Estate (MAPIC) to debut the signature Yas Mall, a centrepiece of Aldar's Yas Island project.

"The timing is fantastic because the [European] brands want to maintain margins, market shares, and they may be struggling to find that in their home markets, but they will get it in the emerging markets," said Fred Douglas, the director of leasing for Aldar. Due for completion in early 2011, Yas Mall will house 700 retail and catering units, including four major department stores and six hotels.

According to Philip Vaughan, the director of retail development for Aldar, the centre will span a gross leasable area of 460,000 square metres and, together with the adjoining theme parks, will total a massive 780,000 sq metres of retail and leisure space. "The mall will serve one of the most affluent populations in the world, with Abu Dhabi already ranking among the world's top list in terms of GDP per capita," said Mohammed al Mubarak, the chief commercial officer at Aldar. "The capital's local population is expected to increase by 40 per cent in the next five years - by then, Abu Dhabi hopes to draw some 2.7 million tourists."

While financial turmoil across the globe has thrown into question the future of many real estate projects, Mr Douglas said he was confident that Yas Mall was on track for its target completion. "I'm not saying that the UAE will not be affected by what's going on, but I would say that the cold breeze is coming through and we have got a few more sweaters on," he said. "But with regard to Aldar's retail portfolios, this whole thing should have passed by the time we are online."

Yas Island will be home to the world's first Ferrari theme park, a water park and the 2009 Formula One Yas Marina Circuit, which will host the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November next year. vsalama@thenational.ae

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Other ways to buy used products in the UAE

UAE insurance firm Al Wathba National Insurance Company (AWNIC) last year launched an e-commerce website with a facility enabling users to buy car wrecks.

Bidders and potential buyers register on the online salvage car auction portal to view vehicles, review condition reports, or arrange physical surveys, and then start bidding for motors they plan to restore or harvest for parts.

Physical salvage car auctions are a common method for insurers around the world to move on heavily damaged vehicles, but AWNIC is one of the few UAE insurers to offer such services online.

For cars and less sizeable items such as bicycles and furniture, Dubizzle is arguably the best-known marketplace for pre-loved.

Founded in 2005, in recent years it has been joined by a plethora of Facebook community pages for shifting used goods, including Abu Dhabi Marketplace, Flea Market UAE and Arabian Ranches Souq Market while sites such as The Luxury Closet and Riot deal largely in second-hand fashion.

At the high-end of the pre-used spectrum, resellers such as Timepiece360.ae, WatchBox Middle East and Watches Market Dubai deal in authenticated second-hand luxury timepieces from brands such as Rolex, Hublot and Tag Heuer, with a warranty.

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Company/date started: 2015

Founder/CEO: Mohammed Toraif

Based: Manama, Bahrain

Sector: Sales, Technology, Conservation

Size: (employees/revenue) 4/ 5,000 downloads

Stage: 1 ($100,000)

Investors: Two first-round investors including, 500 Startups, Fawaz Al Gosaibi Holding (Saudi Arabia)

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