Nakheel has awarded a Dh375 million contract to build a retail complex on the tip of the Palm Jumeirah.
The long-awaited development will to help to plug a big gap on the man-made project, which to date has no major shopping mall.
The 136,000 square metre “Pointe” project will comprise 200 shops and restaurants as well as a fountain display and giant screens, Nakheel said yesterday.
Gulf Technical Construction, a unit of Dubai’s Drake & Scull, is expected to start work on The Pointe by the end of this month and construction is due to complete in 2016.
A Nakheel spokesman said that a tender opened last year for construction work to build the much bigger Dh2.5 billion Nakheel Mall, also on the Palm, had been extended by a month at the request of contractors.
Nakheel, one of the companies at the heart of the Dubai World crisis in 2009 has been planning to start work on The Pointe for some time.
Last February, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, gave the green light to Nakheel to proceed with both The Pointe and the Nakheel Mall.
“It is good that there is sufficient confidence to progress with this project,” said Craig Plumb, head of research at the property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle’s Dubai office. “Residents on the Palm have complained about a lack of shopping and this sort of offering will appeal to the increasing number of tourists staying on the Palm. The offering sounds a little like that on offer at The Dubai Mall, but with tourist numbers growing at 15 per cent Dubai can support an increasing number of tourist destinations.”
Nakheel said that The Pointe will be accessible by the Palm Monorail that will soon be connected to the mainland tram currently under construction and it will also be served by water taxis to shuttle guests from nearby hotels.
“My main concern is that there could well be traffic issues at the Pointe,” said Mario Volpi, managing director of Prestige Real Estate. “The Palm is a bit like JBR with only one entrance and one exit and it could get congested if parking is not carefully managed.”
Last summer Nakheel said that it was seeking private finance to build its Nakheel Mall which it hoped to construct through a build, operate, transfer mechanism. The mall is expected to include a 4,200 square metre Waitrose supermarket, two anchor department stores and a nine-screen cinema.
Last month Nakheel reported a 27 per cent increase in profits as it completed more than 3,150 new homes.