The Dubai Mall, opened yesterday (November 4, 2008) at 2pm with close to 600 retailers opening their doors for business – marking the world’s largest-ever single-day mall opening in retail history.
Emaar Malls Group, the developer of The Dubai Mall marks the opening with a series of high profile events, beginning with a public unveiling of the highly anticipated Dubai Aquarium & Discovery Centre at 4pm, today. The festive vibe will resonate throughout the mall with fashion shows taking place in the Fashion Catwalk, public skating at Dubai Ice Rink and high profile exhibits, galleries and performers providing entertainment for the entire family.
Besides its retail attractions including the Middle East debut of several global, high-profile brands such as Waitrose and Hamleys, The Dubai Mall has varied lifestyle and leisure offerings including a sprawling Gold Souk, the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink and the multimedia-rich Fashion Catwalk atrium. The Dubai Aquarium & Discovery Centre is already in the global spotlight having clinched the Guinness World Record for the ‘World’s Largest Acrylic Panel.’
The Dubai Mall is centrally located in the Downtown Burj Dubai development – ‘the new heart of the city’ – just off Interchange One on Sheikh Zayed Road. Visitors can reach The Dubai Mall via multiple access roads from Sheikh Zayed Road, Financial Centre Road (previously called Doha Road), Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Burj Dubai, the newly opened bridge off Interchange One and through a direct access road near Emaar Square off Sheikh Zayed Road. The Dubai Mall will have a total of over 14,000 spaces for parking across three car parks, with valet services and a car locator ticketing system.
Sprawling over 12 million sq ft - equivalent in size to more than 50 soccer pitches – with an internal floor area of 5.9 million sq ft and a gross leasable area of 3.77 million sq ft, The Dubai Mall is the flagship development of Emaar Malls Group, the shopping malls subsidiary of global property developer Emaar Properties.
When fully operational, The Dubai Mall will have over 1,200 stores of which nearly 165 retailers – equaling 1.1 million sq ft, or 30% of the total gross leasable area of the mall - are either new to the region, or opening standalone or flagship stores for the very first time in Dubai. The retail mix includes two anchor department stores – Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s, both opening their first store in the Middle East at The Dubai Mall; 220 gold & jewellery outlets; 160 food & beverage outlets including Dubai’s largest food court with 40 outlets; a supermarket and an organic food mart.
Mr Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, said: “The Dubai Mall is Dubai’s tribute to the world of retail and leisure. With the mall, we have set a strong platform for growth for the retail sector, one that reflects Dubai’s forward-looking model of creating robust business opportunities for enterprises from around the world. The Dubai Mall is, indeed, a confident affirmation of the strong economic fundamentals of the Dubai economy.”
He added: “We are thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai for encouraging us to stretch our business model, and create a shopping destination that is among the elite malls of the world. The Dubai Mall will address the world-class shopping needs of a population of over 2 billion people in the catchment markets of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.”
“The Dubai Strategic Plan envisages an annual GDP growth of 11 per cent and correspondingly a rise in per capita income,” said Mr Alabbar. “The Plan also aims to reach an annual target of attracting 15 million tourists by 2015. This in turn translates to greater purchasing power and a demand for world-class retailing. The Dubai Mall is a response to that demand and will be the choice retail and leisure destination regionally and a magnet for tourists across the globe.”
Mr Jim Badour, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said: “With the opening of The Dubai Mall, we have the largest number of retailers together-ever for the first time in a mall opening. Malls, now, are not just destinations for shopping – they need to offer a complete experience, and with The Dubai Mall’s integrated offer of retail, leisure and entertainment, The Dubai Mall is positioned as the premier lifestyle destination that revolutionises shopping experiences globally.”
Mr Yousif Al Ali, General Manager, The Dubai Mall, added: “With The Dubai Mall, what matters is not the size but the qualitative difference that we offer to our visitors. All public areas of the mall are now open to customers, and we are readily positioned to cater for the key retail, tourist and festive periods marked by the UAE National Day, Eid Al Adha, New Year and the Dubai Shopping Festival.”
Dubai Aquarium & Discovery Centre will feature over 33,000 aquatic animals including sharks and rays, while the Discovery Centre is an educational window to marine life’s myriad attractions. The Gold Souk with 220 retailers is designed to reflect traditional Arab architectural ethos, and is a celebration of Dubai’s regional hub status in gold and jewellery trade.
Other attractions include The Grove, with its fully retractable roof, which will bring in an outdoor community feel with tree-lined walkways, a lifestyle retail mix and a mix of casual dining cafés and restaurants. The family entertainment precinct, opening in 2009, includes KidZania®, an 80,000 sq ft innovative children’s ‘edu-tainment’ concept, SEGA Republic®, a 76,000 sq ft high adrenaline indoor theme park and a 22-screen cineplex, the largest in Dubai.
The adjoining 5-star hotel, The Address, Dubai Mall and serviced residences will open in the first quarter of 2009, while the adjacent The Address, Downtown Burj Dubai, is now open. The mall’s extensive waterfront promenade will be lined with an array of themed cafés and restaurants, overlooking the spectacular Dubai Fountain and Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world.
Emaar’s expansion into shopping malls is in line with its Vision 2010 to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. Emaar Malls Group has already opened Souk Al Bahar, a modern mall with Arabesque architectural features in Downtown Burj Dubai, and will open the Dubai Marina Mall, in the vibrant Dubai Marina in late 2008.
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