x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

TDIC weighs plans for mall on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island

The flagship developer of cultural and residential projects in Abu Dhabi says it is hoping to build a mall on Saadiyat Island.

TDIC is looking at developing a mall next to the museums on Saadiyat Island. Lee Hoagland / The National
TDIC is looking at developing a mall next to the museums on Saadiyat Island. Lee Hoagland / The National

The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the flagship developer of cultural and residential projects in Abu Dhabi, says it is hoping to build a mall on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

The government-owned master developer said it hoped to build a shopping centre to complement the Louvre, Guggenheim and Zayed National museums it was building on the island off the coast of the capital.

"You have the biggest three museums in the world and that will bring a lot of tourists to Abu Dhabi. We are looking at developing a mall on Saadiyat next to the museums. I cannot say exactly how big it will be because we are still in the planning stages but it will also be announced in a few months," said Ahmed Al Fahim, TDIC's executive director of sales and leasing, at the Cityscape Global exhibition in Dubai.

According to the property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle, the amount of retail space in Abu Dhabi is set to increase by 41 per cent over the next two years, from 1.68 million square metres in the second quarter of this year to 2.37 million square metres as a series of new shopping centres - including Aldar's 235,000 square metre Yas Island mega mall - hit the market. But Mr Al Fahim said that there would be enough demand in the market for both the Yas Mall and the Saadiyat Mall. "Abu Dhabi doesn't have many shopping centres. If I look at Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Dubai has much more. Abu Dhabi is still lacking that. It is looking for a good quality shopping centre.

"The shopping centre that we are talking about is complementing the museums so people can walk between the museums and can have that shopping experience to complement the experience. So you can have a nice meal etc," he said.

"If I take the example of Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar they are next to each other.

"This complements a different clientele ...That's why I say it's suited within the concept around it."

TDIC is putting together ambitious plans for the whole of Saadiyat Island, which it says will eventually be home to the new mall, museums and thousands of homesand also to New York University Abu Dhabi's permanent campus, which is set to open in 2014.

lbarnard@thenational.ae