The city of Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi, is opting to become one of the major shopping hubs in the Arab Gulf region. Last week, a major commercial center has been launched in the city, much like several other malls already operating in the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, reported Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily.
Although the new Al-Jimi mall primarily targets the 250,000 local residents of the city itself, it is expected to attract shoppers from other Emirates as well. The total cost of constructing the three-story, 46,000 square-meter, shopping complex is estimated to have reached 45 million Emirati dirhams ($12.2 million).
Designed as a world-class shopping and entertainment destination, Al-Jimi represents a step in a series of UAE government initiatives to further develop the economy of Al-Ain. Until recently Al-Ain had only several small traditional souk areas operating, but things are changing with two large malls due to open in 2001, aiming to transform the city into a shopping, tourism and entertainment destination.
According to the Gulf Today newspaper, the project is owned by Al-Ain municipality, and was executed in partnership with Addar Real Estate ― the developers and operators of the shopping center. The project was based on an overhaul of the existing Al-Khabisi market, which was built in 1985 and is located in the heart of the city.
Apart from the primary retail area, Al-Jimi will also feature a multiplex cinema, a multi-cuisine food court and 1,000 car parks. It was also reported that the Foton World company will operate an educational rainforest theme entertainment center within the mall, anticipating up to five million visitors a year. ― (MENA Report)
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