DragonMart shopping emporium to more than double in size
Nakheel will add 158,000 sq metres of retail space and 5,000 car parking spaces to the 150,000 sq metre centre, which is already the biggest trading hub of Chinese products outside mainland China.
There are more than 3,000 shops in the complex, many of them selling goods at a discount.
The consulategeneral of China in Dubai estimates that there are about 3,500 Chinese-owned companies operating in the UAE, mainly in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
The 1.2km-long dragon-shaped mall, which was built in 2002, offers shoppers a bewildering choice, including stores selling fish tanks and grass.
The expansion will include cinemas, a food court, department stores and a large supermarket.
Work is expected to begin during the first half of next year. The engineering and architecture consultancy Dar Al-Handasah will oversee the design and construction of the extension.
Nakheel, which is restructuring US$13 billion (Dh47.7bn) of debt following the last financial downturn, is also planning to build two shopping centres at Jumeirah Park and Discovery Gardens.
The Jumeriah Park centre will provide 50,000 sq ft of retail space, while the Discovery Gardens community centre will create a 140,000 sq ft area for convenience stores and a recreation centre. Work on both is scheduled to begin during the first half of next year.
The scale of the DragonMart project is a sign of the developer's confidence in the centre, said Craig Plumb, the head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle.
"Dubai is probably saturated in terms of traditional retail malls but we have said for a while that there is scope for further development of community centres or community retailing, which would fit into this particular mould.
"To some extent a reflection of a shift in the market to more value for money retailing, which is something we have been seeing for a while now.
Mr Plumb says the retail market in Dubai has hit the bottom of the cycle.
"Given the fact that there's no new supply between now and 2013, this could be the next major addition to retail space in Dubai."
Published: August 23, 2011 04:00 AM