Structure of Al Maryah Central mall in Abu Dhabi completed

The 2.8 million square foot mall on Al Maryah Island has reached what will be its full height, but its leasing is nowhere near complete.

Al Maryah Central will include a Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores. Delores Johnson / The National
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The structure of the new US$1 billion Al Maryah Central shopping mall in Abu Dhabi has been completed ahead of the mall’s planned 2018 opening.

The 2.8 million square foot mall on Al Maryah Island has reached what will be its full height.

At a media tour to celebrate the “topping out” of the building yesterday reporters were shown around what will soon become the centre’s new department stores Blooming­dale’s and Macy’s as well as four floors of smaller shops.

But despite the rapid progress on site, its developer Gulf Related said that it had leased about 50 per cent of space at the new super regional mall, with 785,000 sq ft of commitment secured from major UAE retail groups.

The developer, which is a joint venture between Gulf Capital and US developer Related Companies, said that it is in negotiations with retailers over another 180 stores and it expects to be 75 per cent leased by the summer.

“The market in Abu Dhabi is very competitive and retailers generally don’t need to open another store,” said Kevin Ryan, chief operating officer and managing director of Gulf Related. “I think some retailers have been waiting to see which of Abu Dhabi’s new malls is likely to go ahead and the good news is that now they have decided that we are the location where they want to be.

“We have seen a slight softening in the retail market and so the rents which we are currently negotiating are probably around 5 per cent lower than they would have been this time last year,” he added.

The company said that more than 60 brands have committed to the mall through major retail groups such as Al Tayer, Chalhoub, Majid Al Futtaim Group and Dubai Holding.

Tenants include a 35,000 sq ft flagship Zara store as well as a 21-screen Vox cinema with Imax, which will include a Gary Rhodes restaurant theatre.

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