x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Deerfields Townsquare may miss Ramadan shopping rush

Deerfields Townsquare, a community mall which was due to open two months ago, could miss the retail Ramadan rush as it continues to await a safety approval.

Deerfields, located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi in Al Bahia, was due to open on May 6 but executives have been waiting for a non-objection certificate from the Civil Defence department. Lee Hoagland / The National
Deerfields, located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi in Al Bahia, was due to open on May 6 but executives have been waiting for a non-objection certificate from the Civil Defence department. Lee Hoagland / The National

Abu Dhabi's new Deerfields Townsquare mall, which was due to open two months ago, may miss the Ramadan rush as it awaits opening approval.

The shopping centre on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi in Al Bahia was due to open to shoppers on May 6, but executives have been waiting for a non-objection certificate from the Civil Defence department.

It is understood there has been a change in safety regulations that were tightened following the fire last year in a Doha mall that killed 19 people, including 13 toddlers.

"They have to do their job and I understand," said Berna Ramey, the mall's marketing director. "They [haven't given] us a date for me to be able to release the date. But what we did with our retailers is the minute we get a civil defence approval, we are going to open the doors."

The mall, which is a short drive from Khalifa City A, Al Reef and Al Raha Beach, will feature about 162 stores, a family entertainment centre, restaurants and a cinema, with 80,000 square metres of leasable space.

About 50 stores are ready to open when the centre secures the approval, said Ms Ramey, including the mall's anchor, Carrefour.

"When we went to Carrefour, we asked them: 'Let's say we get it tomorrow, would you open?' They said it doesn't matter, if it is the middle of Ramadan or the first day of Ramadan we are going to open, because they are ready," she added.

Centrepoint is also close to completion, but H&M will open new branches only twice a year in March or October, added Ms Ramey.

Other brands will include Starbucks, Mothercare, La Senza, Aldo, Tim Hortons and Charles & Keith. In the food court, there will be a McDonald's, Burger King and Subway, among others, while restaurants include India Palace, Johnny Rockets, Shakespeare & Co and Chili's.

The mall is one of a number under construction in the capital.

More than 800,000 sq metres of new shopping centre space is currently being built, according to research from the global property adviser CBRE.

Other projects due to be completed this year include The Mall at World Trade Centre and The Galleria. Yas Mall, which is set to become the UAE's second-largest shopping centre, is scheduled to follow in March.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae