x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Roadworks delay capital's new Mushrif Mall until March

The opening of the 180,000 sq m shopping centre in the middle of Abu Dhabi Island will finally take place 11 months late.

The opening of Mushrif Mall, a 180,000 square metre shopping centre in the middle of Abu Dhabi Island, has been delayed until the end of March because of roadworks in the surrounding area, its developer says.

The shopping centre, which is being developed by Line Investments and Property, was expected to open in the fourth quarter of last year.

Saleem VI, the general manager of the Emke Group, Line Investments's parent company, said the mall launch was now planned for the end of March because of work on the roads near the mall's entrance.

"It's almost finished," Mr Saleem said. "Shop fittings are going on."

This is the second delay on the shopping centre, which is being built at a cost of at least Dh1.2 billion (US$327m). It was originally expected to open in April last year but encountered construction delays.

The mall, which will feature a Lulu Hypermarket, also owned by Emke, will cater to residents in the Mushrif area of Abu Dhabi near Muroor Road and 25th Street.

Shops are targeted to the mid-range to premium shopper segment, and Emke Group aims to have 10 million visitors at the mall in the first year.

Analysts say Abu Dhabi has a shortage of shopping facilities and that many residents drive to Dubai to shop. But this could be about to change.

Mushrif Mall is among several retail developments being built in the capital. Most of the mall developments in the UAE over the past five years have been in Dubai. But as construction slows in that emirate, where the market is saturated with retail centres, developers' focus has turned to Abu Dhabi.

While Dubai will have next to no mall construction for the next five years, the amount of retail space in the capital is expected to double to 1.8 million sq metres by 2015, the property broker Cushman & Wakefield says.

Abu Dhabi has 936 sq metres of retail space per 1,000 people.

aligaya@thenational.ae