UAE shopping mall development goes into overdrive

A slowdown in economic growth across in the UAE has so far not deterred the region’s shopping mall developers, with the development of new retail space growing at a faster rate than last year.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have a combined total of 626,887 square metres of retail space under construction, an 11 per cent increase on figures from last year, according to industry analysts CBRE.

The UAE’s growth in retail space under construction comes amid a slowdown of retail construction worldwide, outside of the Asia Pacific ­region.

Dubai has 361,127 sq metres of retail space under construction, making it the most active mall building city in the EMEA region behind Moscow and Kiev, thanks to mega projects including the Nakheel Mall and The Point, on the Dubai Palm.

Abu Dhabi’s retail pipeline, standing at 265,760 sq ­metres, is dominated by Maryah Central, which will offer about 146,000 sq metres when it is completed in 2018, as forecast.

“The Middle East offers a tried and tested marketplace for investors with less risk than those normally associated with emerging markets,” said Matthew Green, CBRE Middle East’s head of research and consulting.

“This is clearly reflected in the size of the development pipeline for the region, especially so for Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“With demand for new stores being sustained across key markets, developers remain bullish on the outlook for the retail sector in the region.”

Retail spending in the UAE is forecast to increase by 7 per cent to US$53.7 billion during this year, according to projections from Euromonitor International.

Oman led the Arabian Gulf region for shopping centre completions last year, ­according to CBRE, with 101,000 sq metres delivered and Dubai trailed with 76,721 sq metres.

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