Dubai: Believe it or not, yet another mall is rising in Dubai.
That's because the Lulu Group intends to double down on new UAE-based projects ahead of the Expo 2020, which will create new locations for its hypermarkets and mall developments, according to a top official.
The retailer, which in recent years had committed significant investments in Saudi Arabia and India, recorded a turnover of $6.9 billion for 2016.
On Wednesday, it announced the launch of a new mall costing around Dh1 billion at Dubai Silicon Oasis, which will be owned and operated by its retail asset division. It will have a gross leasable area of 900,000 square feet (within a built-up of 2.3 million square feet) and take 30 months to build.
The branding for the mall will be decided later.
The project was flagged off by Shaikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. It was attended by Mohammad Al Zarooni, Vice-Chairman and CEO of DSOA, and Yusuff Ali M.A., Chairman and Managing Director of Lulu Group.
“Expo 2020 will open up multiple location possibilities for Lulu... I don’t think we are anywhere near saturation in Dubai,” said Yusuff Ali.
“And it will not be just a Dubai expansion story for Lulu-Abu Dhabi’s Western Region development offers multiple possibilities. New residential areas will each require retail.”
The Silicon Oasis project represents one of the single largest the Group has launched recently.
The location already has a sizable resident base as well as those who populate its office properties. The nearest existing shopping destinations are the Outlet Mall on the Dubai-Al Ain highway and City Centre Mirdif.
The Lulu mall will have 300 plus outlets including 12 anchor stores. A Lulu hypermarket will take up 200,000 square feet.
There will also be a 12-screen cinema and 50 plus F&B outlets, in keeping with the trend of mall developers maxxing up on leisure and entertainment options in addition to shopping.
After a two-year hiatus, new mall projects in Dubai are generating a lot of momentum, with the main contract either being awarded - as with Nakheel’s Deira Mall on Deira Islands - or construction starting on-site, as is the case with the Meydan One Mall. More are to be announced.
“The Group has been quite flexible when it comes to our mall portfolio - currently at 17 locations,” said Yusuff Ali. “We are open to building our own and operating them as well managing for other developers, which we have done successfully in Abu Dhabi.”
Even with the hypermarkets and supermarkets, there are chances to build new. As per its current estimates, it should break the 200-location mark before 2020 itself. Currently, it stands at 133, with eight being added in the UAE and Saudi Arabia this year.