Nakheel awards Dh4.2 billion Deira Mall project to Unec

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Nakheel has awarded a contract worth Dh4.2 billion to build the new 10.3 million square feet mall at its Deira Islands master development to United Engineering Construction (Unec) as the Dubai-based developer expects an increase in contract awards this year.

The company said that compaction work to prepare the four million sq ft site has already begun, and that Unec is expected to start work on construction of the mall in the third quarter of this year, with a view to completing it in 2020.

Nakheel has said that its investment in the mall project will total Dh6.1bn. The mall will contain 4 million sq ft of leasable space for retailers, with more than 1,000 shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment outlets under a retractable roof that will open in the cooler, winter months. It will also house a 3.8 million sq ft car park with more than 8,400 spaces.

Deira Mall will also be the centrepiece of the surrounding Dh5bn Deira Boulevard – a new community of 16 21-storey towers and town houses containing almost 3,000 homes, which it is also looking to complete by 2020. A tender seeking contractors to build this was issued in January.

Nakheel said in December it is planning to award contracts worth at least Dh10bn this year, a 66 per cent increase from last year.

Unec is a privately owned, Dubai-based contractor that has picked up several major contracts for Nakheel in recent years.

The company, which was founded by Abdul Muwahid, its managing director, is already building the neighbouring Deira Islands night souq and Boardwalk under a Dh1.17bn contract and it is building the Nakheel Mall at Palm Jumeirah as part of a Dh1.2bn joint venture with Actco General Contracting.

The night souq project will contain space for 5,300 stallholders and up to 100 quayside cafes and restaurants. Speaking on a tour of the Deira Islands project in February, Ali Rashid Lootah, Nakheel's chairman, said that all of the stalls had been leased and that stallholders should be able to access their new units by the middle of next year, with the site due to open to the public by the end of next year.

“The rate we leased it at was very attractive,” Mr Lootah said.

Deira Islands is a scaled-down version of Nakheel’s Palm Deira project. It is made up of four reclaimed islands covering 15.3 sq kilometres. Of these, the two closest to the corniche are currently under development. Two deals have been signed with operators of resort hotels – Spain’s RIU and Thailand’s Centara – for Deira Islands and there are three more plots available. Mr Lootah has said he expects deals for two of these to be signed this year.

Meanwhile, Dubai-based Schon Properties has said that it has agreed on a Dh3.2bn joint venture with Sharjah-based Al Hamad Contracting that will allow it finally to bring forward a project on the Dubai Lagoons site.

The company said that the deal with Al Hamad Contracting will fast-track the development of iSuites, which is a serviced hotel apartment project containing 2,550 apartments, 52 restaurants and cafes, a 125,000 sq ft shopping mall and a man-made lagoon at Dubai Investments Park, so that it is completed by the time the nearby Expo event gets underway in October 2020.

The Dubai Lagoons site was a Dh3bn project that was initially launched by Schon Properties in 2005 but units were never built. In 2014, the project was eventually split into seven separate schemes. Three of these – Lily, Winterberry and Rowan – have since been acquired by Xanadu Real Estate Development, leaving Schon to concentrate on the delivery of iSuites.

Danial Schon, the founder and president of Schon Properties, said that Al Hamad Contracting’s involvement “ensures on-time delivery and the best quality”.

He said that piling and shoring work at the site was now complete and that the main construction programme will begin in January.

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