Ali Rashid Lootah (right), Nakheel chairman, discusses the concept of the new shopping mall, The Pointe, with other officials at its sales centre yesterday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Nakheel is looking to draw more tourists and new residents to the Palm Jumeirah with the addition of a new shopping mall.

Located at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah, across the bay from Atlantis Hotel, ‘The Pointe' will focus on its food and beverage and leisure offering. The 136,000 square metre mall will also feature computer-controlled fountains, a public walk, monorail access and boat rides between The Pointe and Atlantis Hotel.

"It will be a real tourist destination not only for The Palm residents but also for visitors. The population on the Palm Jumeirah is around 30,000 and we expect that to grow with all these new amenities. There will be new ideas which will enhance the Palm Jumeirah. These will be announced in the second half of this year," Ali Rashid Lootah, chairman of Nakheel, said.

Raising bank finance

According to Lootah, the development will be worth at least Dh300 million. Nakheel is currently in talks with banks to raise project financing.

"We have all the financial options available. We're in talks with banks who are showing interest," Lootah said yesterday.

The project aims to be completed by the end of 2013.

Nakheel is also due to begin work on the Palm Jumeirah's other retail offering, the Palm Mall, which will add a further 800,000-900,000 square feet of leasable retail space to the development.

"We hope we can launch it this year. Realistically, we would probably be able to launch sales in mid to end of February," Lootah said.

This year, Nakheel is focusing on developing its retail offering. In August, it announced its plan to more than double the size of Dragon Mart Mall by adding 1.7 million square feet of retail space and 5,000 parking spaces.

According to Lootah, their expansion plans at Dragonmart have been met with a positive response, with 60 per cent of the new space already leased out. He also announced plans to expand retail space at Ibn Battuta Mall, details of which will be announced later in the year.

Lootah recently said Nakheel was on track to deliver 7,000 units this the year. It has also announced the handing over of 1,000 villas at Jumeirah Village.

Nakheel suspended around 100 projects and completed a $16-billion debt restructure when Dubai's real estate sector softened.

Last year, the developer announced the completion of its restructuring, including $8.71 billion of government debt which was converted to equity last year. Nakheel plans to issue the second tranche of its Islamic bond by June, which will be used to settle contractor claims.

Handovers drive profits

Nakheel reported a net profit of Dh526 million for the first half of the financial year ending December 31, 2011 on Dh1.5 billion revenues, mainly driven by the handover of properties in a number of projects.