Work on Reem Mall set to resume next year as architect appointed

National Real Estate first announced plans for the 360,000 square metre mall complex back in 2008.

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Work on a stalled US$1 billion shopping mall on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island is set to restart after the developer hired an architect and set an opening date of 2018.

Kuwait’s National Real Estate Company yesterday appointed the Dubai architects RTKL Associates to work on the ambitious Reem Mall.

National Real Estate said the mall will have 450 stores, 85 restaurants, family entertainment and “some of the largest hypermarket space in the region”.

The developer said it expected construction of the mall, located on the southern coast of Reem Island close to the Marina Square complex, to start in 2015 and finish in 2018.

“The Reem Mall will become one of Abu Dhabi’s new major retail, leisure, dining and entertainment destination, serving the new heart of the capital,” predicted Shane Eldstrom, National Real Estate’s vice president for development. “Our modelling for Reem Mall was always based on developing the project as Reem Island itself was building momentum as a residential centre.”

He said that the mall will be one of the largest and most ambitious projects undertaken by the developer, which is Kuwait’s fourth biggest company.

National Real Estate first announced plans for the 360,000 square metre mall complex back in 2008. The developer says it is on the verge of making “significant changes and improvements” to the original plan, which had called for 170 Carina View apartments and a four-star, 500-room hotel.

Although a construction contract was signed in 2009 with Bauer International, work on the scheme ground to a halt during the global financial crisis.

In the intervening years, an increasing number of developers have entered the lucrative Abu Dhabi retail market. Aldar’s 235,000 sq metre Yas Mall is due to open in November, while Gulf Related hopes to open its 214,000 sq metre Sowwah Central mall on Al Maryah Island in 2017 and TDIC plans to open a 168,000 sq metre luxury mall on Saadiyat Island the same year.

“Recent announcements of new super-regional malls such as Sowwah Central, Saadiyat Mall/The District and Reem Mall together with the planned Marina Mall extension could increase Abu Dhabi’s retail supply significantly in 2017-18,” said Craig Plumb, head of research at the property consultancy JLL’s Dubai office. “This additional supply could cause rents to soften in the short to medium term as developers compete to secure the best retailers.”

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