Reem Mall appointed a new contractor as costs teeter over US$1 billion for the development of the Abu Dhabi facility.
Al Farwaniya Property Developments, a trio of Kuwaiti firms including Agility, United Projects for Aviation Services Company and National Real Estate Company, has selected Itinera Ghantoot. The UAE-Italian joint venture will be the lead contractor for the US$1.2 billion development.
Al Farwaniya said that it has always maintained that the costs would be above $1bn. "As we have finalised the design specifications for what will become Abu Dhabi's most exciting retail destination, we [completed] construction and development costs," the developer said in a written statement to The National.
The company said that the project began stage one construction last month. “This is a major milestone toward delivery of Abu Dhabi’s new lifestyle, retail and entertainment destination,” said Shane Eldstrom, chief executive of Al Farwaniya.
However, the developer declined to provide the expected completion date. Al Farwaniya said: "We have established a clear timetable for construction and then opening of Reem Mall. We will communicate that timetable publicly when we believe it is appropriate."
Reem Mall is slated to include 450 shops, 85 food and beverage outlets and entertainment venues such as Snow Park Abu Dhabi. Yet the development has hit numerous snags, including a fallout with the previous contractor.
Last year, Agility and NREC said that it was in the final stages of securing $800m in bank loans to invest in building Reem Mall, but it wasn’t until last week that the consortium signed an agreement for a $457m loan with a basket of regional and international financiers. The seven-year credit facility, still subject to final approvals, will be provided by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Gulf Bank Kuwait, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
The mall, which was originally slated to be complete next year, will be situated in the Najmat district on Reem Island, an area which is expected to have 200,000 residents at completion.
“We look forward to delivering this iconic retail establishment to Abu Dhabi in the timeliest manner,” said Manea Al Balooshi, managing director of Ghantoot Transport and General Contracting.