MUSAFFAH // The capital's biggest shopping mall opened its doors yesterday, making it the first large-scale retail centre for some communities just off the main island.
Dalma Mall in Musaffah has 147,000 square metres of leasable space. Its target communities include Khalifa City, Officer's Club, Bani Yas and Raha Beach, said Mark Adams, the mall's general manager.
The facility is developed and owned by The Developers LLC and will eventually include more than 480 stores, a 14-screen cinema, a Fun City children's entertainment zone, restaurants, and a parking facility with 7,500 car spaces. The centre, opposite Mohammed bin Zayed City, "is the only one of its kind within a 20-minute arch", Mr Adams said.
Several retail chains are debuting their largest stores at the mall. The 2,130-square-metre Danube BuildMart, which sells hardware, gardening tools and home decor, is the largest in the UAE, according to assistant branch manager Bobby Nair.
Dubai-based Brands opened its biggest retail store, and its first in Abu Dhabi. It is the company's first store to include an entire women's section.
Retailers have expressed more interest as Musaffah and the surrounding areas become less industrial and more commercial and residential, said Mr Adams. Demand in the retail market has also picked up as other mall projects in the city, such as Yas Mall on Yas Island, have been stalled. The market may become saturated as other projects, such as Mushrif Mall and Central Market, are eventually completed. By 2013, Abu Dhabi's total retail supply is expected to nearly double to more than 2.5 million square metres, according to data from the property consultancy Jones Land LaSalle.
Dalma Mall is focusing its efforts on local residents who cannot reach Marina Mall or Abu Dhabi Mall without a hassle, Mr Adams said. Afra al Romaithi, who lives in Mafraq, was among the few shoppers walking around the mall. She brought her two young sons to buy some groceries at Carrefour and to do some browsing at the new Matalan store. "Going into the city itself is just too far of a trip, so I'm very happy to go to a mall that is closer to my home," she said.