Muscat: Oman Avenues Mall (OAM) plans a massive expansion over the next few years, which will include new entertainment facilities, a multi-million rial hotel, and a fresh customer experience. Also, 1,000-2,000 jobs will be created as the mall aims to transform a visitor’s experience.
The work at the mall has been divided into four phases. Phase one is already nearing completion and includes a prayer hall extension, common facility rejuvenation, and improving public transport.
The second phase will see a US$20 million 15-screen Cinepolis multiplex to be completed in Q1 2019, among other entertainment and retail facilities.
Phases three and four will witness construction of mixed use development projects, including offices, a hotel and premium residences. “We plan to invest a lot into creating a better experience for our customers in the future. A richer retail mix and more entertainment facilities are already on the cards. We have invested some OMR2 million in the multiplex to be opened next year, which will also be the biggest in Oman. Moreover, we plan a four-star hotel as part of the mall.
“The mixed-use development project will need an investment of some OMR40 million,” Gogi George, GM, leasing and development at OAM, said.
The hotel will be located on the parking plot between the mall and the Oman Oil petrol station, which is also a Lulu Group property. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2019 and completed by early 2022.
George further said that physical expansion of the mall was also being planned and the group is in contact with retailers to analyse the appetite in the market. “The appetite for physical retail spaces is still strong and any disruption will be seen only after the next couple of years,” he said, referring to the issue of retail markets going digital.
According to the data by OAM, daily walk-ins fluctuate from 30,000 to 40,000 to reach more than a million every month. Both of these are expected to rise with the expansion plans. OAM is also nearly ready with a new bus station, constructed in partnership with Mwasalat, and plans a sustainable local employment strategy.
“Most of our managers at the mall are Omanis. We are looking at more opportunities where we can create such sustainable jobs. As expansion plans go forward, we can have some major employment opportunities, especially in the hospitality sector,” George added. Cinepolis is a leading world-class cinema exhibitor that offers guests an enhanced movie-going experience through its unique cinema and theatre concepts. Being the fourth largest cinema exhibitor in the world, Cinepolis operates across the globe with locations spanning from the United States to the Indian sub-continent.
A Mexican chain of movie theatres, Cinepolis entered the Middle East through a partnership with privately owned business conglomerate Al Tayer group, which is a prominent retail operator representing franchises such as Bloomingdales, Macys, Harvey Nichols and GUCCI, among others in the region.
The Cinepolis multiplex currently designed for OAM will accommodate approximately 1,500 seats, with an exclusive VIP lounge, as well as other experiences that are to be introduced in Oman for the first time.
To keep up with the significant increase in the number of customers visiting the mall, the third phase will include physical expansion, for which OAM will be extended to add more room for anchor stores, restaurants, and entertainment options.
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