Monday, Sep 19, 2016

Abu Dhabi: Gulf Related, the developer of Al Maryah Central in Abu Dhabi, aims to capture 20 per cent of the emirate’s retail spending once the mall opens for business in 2018, a top executive of the company told reporters on Monday.

“The annual retail spend in Abu Dhabi is projected to reach $12.18 billion [Dh44.73 billion] by 2018 and our catchment in that should be about 20 per cent. We are confident of achieving that mark due to high quality brands and our experience in the retail field,” said Ken Himmel, co-managing partner of Gulf Related, which is developing the $1.05 billion (Dh3.8 billion) project on Al Maryah Island.

He said the slowdown in the economy is a concern but they are not over-projecting in what they are going to do with the mall.

“We are concerned about the economy but are not over-projecting on what we are going to do. We have a very low level of debt and that bodes well for the long-term stability. There is a good demand for retail space.”

The company announced on Monday that Al Maryah is 50 per cent leased, with over 785,000 square feet of signed leases.

Over 60 more brands will be added along with department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. This will be the first international store for Macy’s outside the US and Bloomingdale’s first store in Abu Dhabi.

Al Maryah Central will have 400 stores, two departmental stores, 125 food and beverage outlets and a host of entertainment facilities, including a 21-screen cinema with Imax and a family entertainment and sports entertainment complex once the project is fully completed.

Speaking about the construction work, Himmel said over 4,000 workers are involved in the project and they will handover retail stores by December next year and departmental stores by June.

“We are financially committed to complete the project in 2018. The mall will now be inaugurated in August instead of March as was announced earlier due to black-out dates in ordering of merchandise for departmental stores. So there is a period if you don’t open by April 1, literally all of the merchandise that’s being sold goes on sale because it is out of season.

“It was too risky and too tight to try to make a March or April date. 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.”

The company is also planning two additional towers including a residential property and a hotel tower.

Last year, the company secured Dh2.3 billion financing for the project from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. It is planning to raise additional money this year for the two towers that the company is planning to construct.

The company has signed agreements with top retailers including Dubai Holding Group, Majid Al Futtaim, the Chalhoub Group and Al Tayer Group, among others.

Gulf Related also announced on Monday that seven new restaurants will be added to The Galleria Mall inaugurated in 2013.

Saudi Arabia residential project to be completed in two years

Abu Dhabi: Gulf Related, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital and US-based Related Companies, said its 522-unit real estate project in Saudi Arabia would be completed in the next two years.

“We are half way through and will deliver it over the next 24 months. It is 100 per cent owned by Gulf Capital. All the units will be rented,” said Karim Al Solh, the chief executive officer of Gulf Capital.

He said that the company is working on an aggregate of over $2 billion worth of projects currently including Al Maryah Central, Saudi Arabia housing project and The Galleria.

The Saudi project will have a number of villas, townhouses and apartments.

— F.R.

By Fareed Rahman Senior Reporter

Gulf News 2016. All rights reserved.