Abu Dhabi retail real estate on the rise

Abu Dhabi retail real estate on the rise
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Published February 10th, 2015 - 09:00 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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New and substantial retail space in Dubai will take another year or two to show up
New and substantial retail space in Dubai will take another year or two to show up
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Yas Mall

Abu Dhabi’s retail sector is playing on its strengths, that of having ample leasable space that can be delivered to potential tenants at the earliest. And with the Yas Mall coming into its own, those strengths are getting magnified.

Retailers, local and international, are paying heed. The Landmark Group debuted its ‘Fun Works’ concept — mixing the family entertainment concept of ‘Fun City’ with heavy doses of ‘edutainment’ offerings — at Yas Mall on Monday. “For Fun Works, we wanted a leasable space of more than 75,000 square feet to fit in all of the additional elements — 90 per cent of these have never been offered earlier — that are being added,” said Silvio Liedtke, Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Leisure. (A standard Fun City venue in comparison would be around 25,000 square feet.)

“And when you have 75,000 square feet and more at your disposal, the target audience is not limited to the immediate local community. This is what we intend to build up through the Yas Mall presence. Also, rather than the average time spend of 89 minutes at a Fun City facility, at Fun Works, we expect visitors to be there for anywhere up to three to four hours.”

For Japan’s Ace Co. Ltd, which owns the premium Zero Halliburton luggage brand, the chance to open its first flagship store in the capital was too big to pass by. It is a Zero Halliburton case that encloses the US President’s nuclear button.

According to Hiroaki Morishita, President of ACE Co. Ltd., the choice of Yas Mall “was not about having instant space ... it was about the right space. Space arises every now and then, even in the popular malls, but what’s most important is to have the right space.

“We had been in discussion with our partners, Areen Middle East, for several years on this. Both agreed we need to have a presence in the UAE, either in Abu Dhabi or in Dubai. We visited the UAE to study the location several times, and then decided to go ahead with the first store opening at Yas Mall.

“We generally prefer to open our outlets first in the capital cities, just like we did in Tokyo or Beijing. It was also the availability of the right space that gave Abu Dhabi and Yas Mall the edge to set up the stand-alone store for Zero Halliburton.”

New and substantial retail space in Dubai will take another year or two to show up, which includes the massive expansion works at the likes of Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall, as well as brand new ones being developed by Nakheel at key locations, including at Deira Islands, Dubai’s destination-in-the-making.

“Currently, the main challenge for brands looking at Dubai is finding available retail space at one of the major malls, all running at or close to full occupancy,” said Mat Green, Head of Research & Consultancy UAE, CBRE Middle East. “While Abu Dhabi is certainly becoming more competitive, Dubai remains the clear destination of choice for the majority of brands looking to enter the region for the first time, frequently using the emirate as a stepping stone to wider regional expansion programmes.”

But “Abu Dhabi currently has one of the largest retail development pipelines in the region, with a further 450,000 square metres set to be delivered by 2017, dependant on construction delays,” Green said.

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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