The opening of the first phase of Mall of Arabia, which will outsize Dubai Mall when complete, has been pushed back until 2012, officials say.
Mall of Arabia opening delayed to 2012
DUBAI // The opening of the first phase of Mall of Arabia, which will outsize Dubai Mall when complete, has been pushed back until 2012, officials say. The first section of the mall, with roughly 371,612 square metres of leaseable retail space, was scheduled to open at the end of 2010 but was delayed to wait for the ramps, junctions and overpasses leading to be completed, said Myra Searle, the senior vice president of retail at City of Arabia. "The main key things are access points. When Dubai Mall opened, they had a lot of access issues," she said. "We're actually waiting for their (access points) completion date so we know we have free flowing access, because that's very much what its dependent on." Mall of Arabia, located in the City of Arabia mixed-use development in Dubailand, will have a total gross leaseable area of 929,030 square metres when complete, making it larger than Emaar's Dubai Mall. Eighty-nine per cent of the mall has already been pre-leased to tenants, she said. Retail rents in Dubai have fallen by roughly 33 per cent since the peak of 2008, according to real estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield, as consumer spending has fallen and retailers have become reluctant to expand during tough economic conditions. Michael Atwell, the head of Middle East operations at Cushman and Wakefield in Dubai, said delaying retail projects in this climate is the right move. "Visitors and spending has reduced," he said. "It is not just a regional problem, it's a global problem."