New Zealand-inspired mall opens in Ras Al Khaimah
Gleaming waterside Dh42 million retail outlet offers outdoor performance space to entertain shoppers
A sparkling new Dh42 million mall has opened in Ras Al Khaimah bringing a taste of New Zealand to shoppers at the waterside venue.
An outdoor seating area offers a glimpse of what is in store for visitors to the new Grove Village, who will enjoy performances and events as they shop around the usual plethora of stores.
Daring bike stunts entertained during Friday's grand opening, as did live music from bands invited to help the opening-day go off with a swing.
Families were keen to take an early look at the first community mall in the emirate, spread across 6,800 square metres made entirely out of containers inspired by a shopping mall in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“I always pass by the place and wondered what it will look like as it appears so unique from the outside,” said Mohra Al Ali, a 24-year-old Emirati who joined her friends at the opening ceremony.
“From the first step inside, I immediately noticed it is different to other malls.
"Although not all the shops are open yet, I think it will be one of my favourite places in the emirate."
The mall on Al Qawasim Corniche Road offers the usual variety of dining, services and entertainment options, with 33 shops spread across two floors.
Eight shops have already opened for business, with the rest expected to be ready within weeks.
Construction work began in late 2016 and was finalised last year.
The shopfitting soon gathered pace, with the first store opening its doors a Starbucks coffee shop.
It is the only branch in Ras Al Khaimah offering a drive-through service and is already proving a welcome addition.
“We were all excited when the Starbucks opened six months ago, it is like a dream came true,” said Jasim Al Shahhi.
The mall includes a Grandiose Supermarket, one of six now open across the country and the emirate's first organic supermarket.
An eco-friendly art exhibition called Sustain offered shoppers an insight into how to shop and live with the environment in mind.
In a spectacular opening ceremony, visitors were entertained with tricks on two wheels by triple world champion stunt-rider Jorge 'Viki' Gomez, a Red Bull sponsored athlete and BMX flatland cyclist from Madrid.
The show was played-out with a background of live music by the Sea Arts Omani and Royal Mariachi bands and attended by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of RAK and other dignitaries.
Developers Master Investment Group (MIG) said Grove Village had been crafted to develop an outdoor urban lifestyle and social hub.
“This mall will not only be a place for people to gather, socialise, shop or dine, but also become a platform for young people to showcase their talents in areas like singing, art and music,” said Sheikh Abdullah Al Qasimi, the group's managing director.
Another resident visiting with his family was impressed with the mall's outdoor seating areas and entertainment platform.
“When I found out the mall was being officially opened, I wanted the whole family to check the place out,” said Mohammed Omar, a 36-year-old Syrian father of two.
“The boys liked it and it will be one of the best places to go in winter because of its outdoor areas and open spaces.
"We love its unique location near the water."
Abdulkareem Al Ali, the 34-year-old joint owner of Ryooq Emirati café, hopes his traditional local cuisine will attract a new audience at the mall.
“Ras Al Khaimah has become a destination to many tourists and visitors from other emirates," he said.
"This opportunity will allow us to be part of this continuing success story.
“The location is perfect, and the mall is designed in a unique and different way.
"We had to do our best to be part of this new project."
Updated: September 28, 2019 12:22 PM