The developer behind the US$1 billion Al Maryah Central retail project in Abu Dhabi has said that it has already leased 50 per cent of the retail space at the development, with 785,000 square feet of commitment secured from major UAE retail groups.
However, Gulf Central also stated that the project will not now open until August 2018, which is five months later than its scheduled opening date of March 2018.
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. New tenants include a 35,000-square-foot flagship Zara store, All Saints, Lululemon and Alice and Olivia.
It said the decision to delay the opening was taken after a long discussion with retailers.
Ken Himmel, the co-managing partner of Gulf Related, said that if it did not open by April 1, 2018, retailers would then be entering a period where that season’s stock would become out of seasons and would have to be discounted.
“If you don’t open in March, then literally your next time to open is August or September.
“As close as we are to our construction schedules, it was too risky or too tight to try to make a March or April date. The complications of something this big, no matter how hard everyone works to try to stay on a schedule, you have to make a judgement of how close to that you are going to get.
“We gave everybody much more comfort that with our August date, we could do a full, soft opening in August and then this thing really hits the road rolling in September. That way, nothing is on sale.”
He said that third party research by Australian consultancy Urbis had placed a total value for Abu Dhabi’s retail market of $12.18bn by 2018 and $13.67bn by 2020.
“Our catchment in that should be at least 20 per cent,” said Mr Himmell. “I would say maybe in the 20 to 30 per cent range as we start to stabilise.”
The company also announced a series of new deals with licensed restaurant operators to open units at The Galleria, which will be directly linked to Al Maryah Central. These include branches of La Petite Maison, Roberto’s Coya, Nusr-Et, Samar, Eat Greek and Loca.
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