UAE firm gains approval for $1.5B Abu Dhabi retail project

Published June 7th, 2015 - 03:00 GMT

Gulf Related, a leading regional real estate development company, said it has won approval from Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council to start work on the Phase One retail component of its $1.5-billion mixed-use project coming up on Al Maryah Island in the UAE capital.

A 3.1-million-square-foot mixed-use development, The Al Maryah Central aims to create an urban retail, leisure and entertainment destination to serve Abu Dhabi’s fast growing community.

UAE-based Gulf Related is a joint venture between Gulf Capital, a leading alternative investment firm in the Middle East, and US-based Related Companies.
Under the first phase, Gulf Related will deliver a 2.3-million-square-foot shopping destination, anchored by iconic US department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

The project will have about 400 stores, 90 food and beverage outlets, a 20-screen cinema, a medical centre, a crèche, health-club, a public library, food market in the first quarter of 2018. It will be fully connected to existing and future transport links.

The development will also deliver three rooftop parks atop the mall. Further phases will deliver two 400,000-sq-ft integrated towers set for completion by 2019; one with a hotel and serviced apartments and the other with luxury residences, it added.

Kenneth A. Himmel, the president and CEO of Related Urban and co-managing partner of Gulf Related, said: "Detailed Project Approval from the UPC for Phase 1 is yet another crucial milestone for Al Maryah Central, Gulf Related, our investors, retailers and the residents of Abu Dhabi, allowing us to meet our Q1 2018 opening date."

"This development will create an urban retail, leisure and entertainment destination on Al Maryah Island that will serve the rapidly growing customer base on Al Maryah Island as well as catering to the wider needs of Abu Dhabi city," noted Himmel.

"We are well placed to deliver against our schedule, with construction having commenced at the end of last year, and are rapidly progressing with our finance and leasing commitments, on which we expect to make further announcements in the coming months," he added.

Dr Karim El Solh, the CEO of Gulf Capital and co-managing partner of Gulf Related, said: "This milestone highlights our commitment to bringing high-quality, world class retail to Abu Dhabi, making Al Maryah Island a destination for residents and visitors near and far. Abu Dhabi is growing quickly, its economy is diversifying and expanding rapidly."

"We look forward to being part of that growth and helping Abu Dhabi reach its Vision 2030," he noted.

Mohamed Al Khadar, the executive director, Urban Development & Estidama Sector, UPC, said: "We have worked collaboratively with the team at Gulf Related for the past two years to enhance the project by ensuring it aligns with our suite of policies and guidelines, in addition to enabling the project to move smoothly through the approvals process."

"The project is currently working towards achieving a 1 Pearl Estidama Rating, which supports our mission for sustainable urban growth," stated the official.

"This is a development that will enhance the existing urban landscape on Al Maryah Island, bring high-quality retail to Abu Dhabi and supporting the Government’s Vision 2030 for diversification and growth in the UAE," he added.

The construction activities started on the site last November with the company signing up Bauer International for the bulk excavation and shoring work. This was followed by the awarding of a key contract to NSCC for piling.

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