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Yas Mall is already 60 per cent leased ahead of its opening next year. Picture courtesy Aldar
Yas Mall is already 60 per cent leased ahead of its opening next year. Picture courtesy Aldar

Yas Mall entertainment centre to feature 'world first' attractions

Aldar hands over a 6,500 square metre family entertainment centre for fit out ahead of schedule which retailers say will feature two 'world first' attractions.

ABU DHABI // Aldar has handed over a 6,500 square metre family entertainment centre at Yas Mall for fit out which will feature two "world first" attractions.

The mall, on Yas Island, will be the second largest shopping centre in the Emirates when it opens in the first quarter of 2014.

Construction is slightly ahead of schedule, according to Fred Douglas, Aldar's director of retail leasing, and the family entertainment centre was handed over almost a week early.

Landmark Group is building what it claims to be the first entertainment centre of its kind, called FunWorks, which will focus on "playful learning".

"We are going to launch two new attractions that will be the first in the world, exclusively designed for this location," said Silvio Liedtke, chief operating officer of Landmark Leisure, who refused to reveal more detail.

"We also designed a play structure which is probably the most complicated ever attempted in this part of the world, so there are a lot of exciting elements," he added.

Education will be a key feature of the entertainment centre, offering children the opportunity to learn as they play.

"I don't want to give too much away at this point but to give you an idea, there will be one pavilion which will all be about energy consumption," said Mr Liedtke.

"If you do something the energy they generate with that will be transformed into something tangible to see. This way they can learn how energy works, hence the name FunWorks. It's all about improving the cognitive skills of children."

It is a feature missing in family entertainment centres in the UAE, which tend to be "crash, bash and beat em'up" type concepts, said Mr Douglas.

"What we are seeing in FunWorks is we have a combination of the pure adrenaline rush and the educational slide, so it's a combination of both and I think that's quite unique," he added.

Yas Mall is currently around 60 per cent leased at the moment, but Aldar is in the midst of discussions which could bring it up to around 85 per cent. They include talks about "two major international brands" which would be brand new to the region.

The mall will feature around 450 stores, a cinema and a large food and beverage offering which will be anchored by the Cheesecake Factory.

gduncan@thenational.ae

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