Just walk in: CITY WALK follows the open mall concept and features a long promenade running along shops and restaurants Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS

Dubai: A little over a year since its launch in October 2013, the CITY WALK mall has caught the fancy of residents and tourists alike.

Developed by Meraas Holding, the shopping centre, located in Jumeirah 1 at the junction of Al Wasl and Al Safa Roads, follows the open mall concept and features a long promenade with shops and restaurants running along it.

There are 52 outlets that make up a variety of high-end lifestyle options in retail, grooming, wellness and F&B sectors. The mall also has a children’s play area alongside an interactive water fountain. 

Perfect fit

Veronica Smulders, Managing Director of the South American fashion outlet Michelle Belau, says the outdoor mall is just right for her store. “This is our flagship project in CITY WALK. Our stores back home have a concept of facing the promenade and the streets. CITY WALK’s open mall concept fitted our requirement in that sense,” she said.

“We opened the shop in October 2013 when the mall was officially launched. The turnout has been good so far. For most of nine months in a year we have a good flow of customers. In the mornings we usually see a lot of western population while you can see a lot of the Emiratis in the afternoon,” said Smulders who is leasing 160 square metres of space at the mall.

Another retail outlet owner – Devayani Dayal, CEO, She Moves – is also leasing 700 square feet of space near the P3 parking area.

“My clothing brand is a niche concept and we sell active and dance wear. Having a shop in CITY WALK is really interesting because we are in a prominent location. But with F&B being a strong element in the mall, it can be challenging for us to find customers sometimes. We do rely on our regular clientele, but the mall has helped us spread our customer base,” she said.

“With the weather being favourable between December and March, we tend to see a lot of walk-in customers during this time. Summer and Ramadan do represent a challenge though,” said Dayal. 

It’s a hit

Notwithstanding the challenges, retailers are more than happy with the way the mall is turning out, especially the footfall it has seen.

Maryam Fattahi Salaam, Owner of Physique 57 Studio, said: “Many of our clients come from Downtown Dubai, Umm Suqeim, Palm Jumeirah, Arabian Ranches, Emirates Hills and even Sharjah. We have also seen some people coming in from Umm Al Quwain and Abu Dhabi. We are pleased with the footfall here.”

As XPRESS takes a tour of the mall, it doesn’t take long to realise that the place is a hit.

Emirati visitor Ahmad Al Saif could not agree more. “I live in Mirdif and come all the way here to get a haircut at 1847. So you can imagine how much I like being here.”

While his two children, 11-year-old Saif and three year-old Mahra, excitedly play around the children’s area, Ahmad orders frozen Mochi Creams at Edo Sweets for his family.

“I like the open mall concept where all the shops are right next to the streets. This way everything seems just a hop away. If you come early in the morning around 10am you won’t get stuck in traffic and there will be plenty of parking too,” he added.

But for Indian expat Neelam Jaggi who is having her monthly ‘kitty party’ with friends at Pappa Roti, finding parking can be quite a challenge for her.

“It’s a nice place to come, but the traffic and parking can be quite a menace.”

Another visitor to CITY WALK, Omar Al Tahar, a student at the Dubai Men’s College, makes a quick dash to Rice Creamery to pack some desserts for his family. “It’s a convenient place to hang out and I like the variety of eateries here.”

But for Jordanian expat Aimar Qusous it is the proximity of the mall to his Jumeirah house that brings him here regularly.

“I love it here. It is cosy, and the prices at food and beverage outlets here are reasonable. It is not exorbitantly expensive like in some other malls,” he said.

The mall has four entry and exit points and 600 parking slots. Valet parking costs Dh100 and is available from 10am to 1am.

Last year developer Meraas awarded a Dh765 million contract to build the second phase of CITY WALK. Construction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.