Ahmad Galal Esmail, Majid Al Futtaim Ventures CEO, flanked by Shane Eldstrom (left) and Damien Latham, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment at the press conference. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

DUBAI: The opening of a long-delayed $1 billion megamall on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi has been pushed back to 2020, the chief executive of developer Al Farwaniya said on Sunday morning.

Citing design changes and issues with the approval process as causes for the delay, Chief Executive Shane Eldstrom told reporters that he expected the main contract to build Reem Mall to be awarded “in the third of fourth quarter.”

He added that the debt portion of the project’s financing will come from a “mix of local and international banks,” who are also set to be announced in the final two quarters of 2017.

Originally set to open in 2018, Eldstrom confirmed that the project will cost “just over $1 billion” to complete.

A $101.5 million loan was announced in February 2017, in conjunction with National Real Estate Company (NREC), a Kuwait-based developer.

The mall is set to feature a snow park, cinema complex, and family games centre, making up 10 per cent of the total 2 million square feet of leaseable space.

It was announced at the press conference that Majid Al Futtaim had been selected to operate these facilities.

The Dubai-based family corporation already runs indoor snow parks at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, and Mall of Egypt in Cairo.

The competing Al Maryah Central, another $1 billion megamall in Abu Dhabi that is set to open in 2018, will also feature a 21 screen Vox cinema complex, complete with IMAX and 4D facilities.

Eldstrom said that he was “not disappointed” to see Vox and Majid Al Futtaim partner with Reem Mall’s key competitor whilst also working with them, stating that the market in Abu Dhabi was “more than ready to absorb all of the incoming supply.”

Some analysts dispute this, claiming that there is an impending oversupply of leasable space in the capital.