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INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT - SHOPPING, LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT CENTRES

Dubai’s public beaches listed among top beaches worldwide
posted on 27/07/2015

Public beaches in Dubai were listed among the top 10 in cities popular among tourists by a UK daily newspaper.
The Telegraph listed Dubai's public beaches among the most popular worldwide along with other beaches in cities like Paris, Sydney, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barcelona, Athens, Los Angeles, and Cape Town.
The selection reflects the considerable efforts made by Dubai Municipality in the management and development of public beaches, said Alia Abdul Rahim Al Harmoudi, Director of Environment Department at Dubai Municipality, who described Dubai's beaches as one of the most important landmarks in the emirate visited by thousands of residents and tourists throughout the year.
Alia revealed that Dubai Government has spent nearly Dh200 million over the past three years to develop Dubai's public beaches starting from Al Mamzar Creek to Dubai Marina. She said the best facilities and services available at these beaches is what placed them in the top 10 list.
Alia mentioned that the municipality is currently working on accrediting most of Dubai's public open beaches under an international programme by the UN.
"The effort and interest in improving the services in all the beaches has helped in the nomination of Dubai for the global accreditation,” she said.
The municipality, she said, is also working on strengthening the safety and rescue services in all the open beaches in the emirate and improving the quality of the coastal environment by launching educational campaigns on how to protect the environment and how to stay safe when visiting beaches.
Alia added that Dubai Municipality is keen on equipping Dubai's public beaches with the best attractions to keep families entertained such as the Smart Palm project which is now providing visitors free internet access at beaches. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/dubai-s-public-beaches-listed-among-top-beaches-worldwide-1.1556238

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Capital's beach to get world-class facilities
posted on 27/07/2015

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality is upgrading its Al Bateen Beach in order to raise the standard of beach facilities used by visitors and residents of the emirate.
The municipality has released a public tender inviting bidders to submit proposals for upgrading the project - that comprises the Ladies Beach, Open Beach, and the Walk. Last date to submit their bids is September 15.
The project features a creative style for upgrading the Ladies Beach, as well as the Open Beach, with the addition of a stunning Walk at the waterfront. The move seeks to make the beach a vibrant recreational spot for residents and visitors of Abu Dhabi Island.
There will be new facilities with key water attractions and businesses, such as restaurants, cafes and retail outlets in an area spanning 6,062 square metres.
The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the private sector, where developers will finance and develop the project and in return will be entitled to benefit from the use of the municipality's lands through an agreement (Musataha), following which ownership of the project will devolve upon the Abu Dhabi City Municipality.
The community-oriented service project is a further illustration of the ongoing public-private partnership model.
The overall objective of the project is to offer multiple recreational options at world-class standards matching the aspirations of Abu Dhabi and its residents for prosperity, integrated life experience, as well as modern and sustainable services.
Al Bateen Beach and Walk project, which is located in Al Bateen residential district of Abu Dhabi city, is aimed at revamping the beach which had been partly upgraded and opened. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/general/capitals-beach-to-get-world-class-facilities

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Emaar Malls’ Q2 net rises over 40 per cent
posted on 23/07/2015

Emaar Malls Group, owned by Emaar Properties, registered a second quarter net profit of Dh412 million, a 43 per cent jump.
Revenue in the quarter to June jumped 11 per cent to be at Dh727 million, compared to Dh653 million in the same period last year, the company said in a statement.
During the six months to June, Emaar Malls recorded a 37 per cent growth in net profit Dh845 million. Revenue for half-year of 2015 was Dh1.462 billion, up 16 per cent higher compared to the same period last year.
Tenant sales across all Emaar Malls assets were Dh9.6 billion, which was almost similar to last year retail sales performance. Base rent renewal rates recorded a significant increase of 30 per cent for leases renewed during first half 2015 across all its malls and retail assets. Overall GLA (gross leasable area) occupancy across Emaar Malls assets increased to 96 per cent.
"We are committed to creating long-term value to Dubai's economy through our expansion plans and our emphasis on providing value-added lifestyle experiences to the mall visitors,” Mohammad Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Malls, said in a statement.
"A key contributor to the recurring revenues of Emaar Properties, our shopping malls and retail business is also setting international benchmarks in the industry. This is highlighted by the robust footfall and tenant sales at The Dubai Mall, our flagship asset,” he added.
With a total GLA of about 6 million sq. ft., Emaar Malls has GLA occupancy rate of 96 per cent. Emaar Malls is expanding The Dubai Mall's Fashion Avenue, which brings the largest number of high-end international fashion brands under one roof, by one million sq. ft. built up area to welcome a larger assortment of leading fashion brands.
The leasable area, through this expansion, is about 15 per cent of the current mall and is expected to be completed in 2016. Other assets under Emaar Malls include Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar and Gold & Diamond Park, as well as community shopping centres. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/retail/emaar-malls-q2-net-rises-over-40-per-cent-1.1554705

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Dubai retailers enjoy Eid sales surge, high footfall
posted on 18/07/2015

With the 'Eid in Dubai - Eid Al Fitr' celebrations in full swing, Dubai's retailers have been witnessing a boost in sales, with some of them anticipating a double-digit growth during the citywide festivities which ends on Wednesday.
Besides the opportunity to choose from a line-up of events, entertainment and attractions during Eid in Dubai, residents and visitors can also pick up offers and discounts across the fashion, cosmetics and furniture sectors.
The jump in retail sales during 'Eid in Dubai' comes at a time when malls and souqs across Dubai have launched special offers and promotions, including the Eidiyat Dubai promotion, offering shoppers spending Dh200 at participating malls a chance to win Dh1.5 million in prizes.
'Eid in Dubai - Eid Al Fitr' is organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). DFRE's Media Centre spoke to some fashion and lifestyle retailers to understand how they have been faring so far during the Eid season.
"The retail sector is expecting a huge increase in footfall, especially since families from the GCC countries are converging in the country to celebrate Eid. And we are expecting more than 10 per cent growth in sales during Eid," said Ismail Al Fahim, group commercial manager of Paris Gallery.
"Perfumes have always been the best performing segment during Eid as they are more suitable for gifting compared to cosmetics. However, the cosmetics segment also will do well during this time as brands roll out many offers for female customers who often make huge purchases during this time," Al Fahim added.
Pallavi Bhatia, business head of Label 24, said: "Since Ramadan falls in summer, most customers prefer shopping before the start of the holy month. We have people from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar coming to Dubai for shopping. There is an increase of 40 to 50 per cent sales during the period before Ramadan. As usual, the first few days of Ramadan were slow, but sales again picked up during the last 10 days before Eid as shoppers plan for the festivities ahead." – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/dubai-retailers-enjoy-eid-sales-surge-high-footfall

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Eid Al Fitr: Revellers flock to Expo Centre Sharjah
posted on 17/07/2015

A host of amusement and shopping activities at the on-going Ramadan and Eid Exhibition has made Expo Centre Sharjah the most happening place during the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
The exhibition, which got under way on June 25, will continue until tomorrow and serve as a major family and tourist attraction during the holidays.
The exhibition hours too have been revised for the Eid holidays. The show will remain open from 5pm to 11pm against 7.30pm to 2pm during Ramadan. Admission is free for all. Apart from the regular outdoor and indoor entertainment areas, food courts, free health check-up, amusement rides and games and raffle draws, there will be additional events like adventure activities, magic shows, cartoon characters and folk dances.
"The support and guidance of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Expo Centre Sharjah have played a great role in helping us deliver an impressive show. This will encourage us to present a bigger and better show next year," said Naser Al Bahri, General Manager of Al Hader Exhibitions & Conferences, which is organising the show for the first time in the 28-year history of the Ramadan and Eid Exhibition.
The participation of both local and foreign exhibitors have made the show the best multi-products event in the region that caters to the diverse needs of the national and expatriate population in the country, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, said.
"Besides shopping, there is a slew of other programmes that makes the event popular with residents and visitors alike...A rich repertoire of Ramadan cuisine from the world over is another attraction," added Midfa.
The exhibition also features cultural programmes, heritage village, games and workshops, charity corner and several other activities targeted at visitors of all ages. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/sharjah/eid-al-fitr-revellers-flock-to-expo-centre-sharjah

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UAE now one of top 10 markets in the world for retailers
posted on 16/07/2015

The UAE has been named as one of the top 10 markets for retailers in the world.
The Retail Operations Index by the construction consultancy Arcadis found that the UAE was the eighth-most popular global location among international retailers – the highest in the Middle East.
The index was based on five key criteria: quality of infrastructure; market demand; the economic environment; the ease of setting up (including business freedoms); and the ease of operating in a country.
The UAE scored highly for the quality of its infrastructure and its economic environment (third in both categories), but lower (11th) for market demand and the ease of establishing operations. However, Arcadis said that the "quality of transportation and ease of getting up and running” is holding back other countries in the region.
The top three nations in the list were Hong Kong, Singapore and the US.
Qatar was ranked 15th, Saudi Arabia 18th and Kuwait 32nd. Egypt was the lowest-ranked nation of the 50 countries in the survey.
Arcadis said that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were ranked lower because their infrastructure was not as well developed. They are also more restrictive in terms of regulations.
"The strategic location and physical presence of a store will continue to help successful retailers in the UAE make the greatest use of their store portfolios and brand marketing to attract customers,” said Christopher Seymour, head of Middle East markets at Arcadis.
He added that the quality of infrastructure, particularly the metro system linking to malls, was "a key factor contributing to a retailer's success as the growing young population and increased number of expats and tourists make the decision on where to shop based on their accessibility from direct metro links”.
Economic stability was also considered to be a factor, as was the buoyant tourism market. For international retailers, trade freedom, foreign ownership rules and a strong logistics market were factors in helping to create a stable basis for operations.
According to JLL, Abu Dhabi currently has 2.6 million square metres of retail space, with another 250,000 sq. metres due to be delivered by the end of 2017. Dubai has 2.9 million sq. metres, with 786,000 sq. metres more due in the same period.
Last September, Dubai Holding announced plans to start work this year on the first phase of the world's biggest shopping mall, the 4.5 million sq. metres Mall of the World. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/retail/uae-now-one-of-top-10-markets-in-the-world-for-retailers

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Development on US$1 billion Reem Mall to start soon
posted on 11/07/2015

The development of Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi's up-and-coming entertainment, dining and shopping destination, has taken a significant step forward after the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, or UPC, granted approval for the project's concept plans.
The concept planning report approval represents a significant milestone for the $1 billion project and keeps it on track to open in 2018.
The news comes just weeks after the UPC gave the go-ahead for the Reem Island Integrated Concept masterplan. Reem Mall forms a significant elements of the overall vision for Reem Island, which will eventually become home for 210,000 residents.
Once completed, Reem Mall, developed by National Real Estate Company in partnership with United Projects for Aviation Services Company, or UPAC, will deliver two million sq. ft. of retail, leisure, and dining and entertainment choices, with some 450 stores including 85 food and beverage outlets.
Shane Eldstrom, chief operating officer of Reem Mall, said: "The UPC approval represents a major milestone in the development of Reem Mall, allowing the project to move closer to the construction phase. Subject to all required permits."
He said the ground-breaking will take place this year.
UPAC is one of Kuwait's leading real estate management companies. Under the agreement, UPAC will invest up to $224 million in the project through its real estate subsidiary, Al Arfaj Real Estate Company. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/development--on-1-billion-reem-mall-to-start-soon

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Ramadan Night Market draws 1,000 visitors in first 30 minutes
posted on 04/07/2015

Residents made a beeline for the Ramadan Night Market as it opened on Thursday evening, with around 1,000 visitors streaming in within the first 30 minutes.
The event is all geared up to entertain children and adults alike, with a host of attractions for all, particularly families, to enjoy a night out. Over 300 retail outlets have been set up and an array of activities are on offer.
Want to get a selfie with the Mirror Man in all his radiance. Wonder what it is to stand next to a living statue? The night market has a number of such sights that arouse curiosity and amazement in equal measure. There is even a stall offering handwriting analysis.
A henna majlis for ladies and a host of play activities for children promise to be top draws. Apart from these, there are over 50 food outlets serving cuisines from different cultures through the night.
And then there are shopping avenues. Jewellery, garments, cosmetics, furniture — there is a huge selection of goods on sale.
Merry laughter and music from the kids' corner besides the voices of visitors bargaining for curios fill the air, giving it a truly bazaar-like feel.
"The beauty of the festival is not just the memorable shopping experience, but the fact that it is made so much more enjoyable courtesy the entertainment provided to all groups of people,” said Sunil Jaiswal, President of Sumansa Exhibitions, the event organiser. "This is a place where visitors can come to relax, hang out with friends and take in the amazing environment.”
There is one stall that offers visitors an array of original products rarely found in the market — recycled furniture.
Jad A. Hosn, executive manager of spacesaving.co, explained, "This chair and couch is made from 100 per cent recycled paper and can go from 20 centimetres in size up to four metres when you stretch and expand the paper. This recycled couch can withstand up to one tonne and can fit six to eight people on it.”
Visitor Sarah Ganem, a 27-year-old Dubai resident who hails from Kuwait, said that the Ramadan Night Market this year is better than its previous editions, particularly in terms of the variety of food choices on offer.
"This is the ideal place for a family night out because every member will find something that interests them — from shopping merchandise to food,” said Sarah.
Samira Ahmad, a 49-year-old from Yemen, brought along her children and daughter-in-law to enjoy a night out. "It is a brilliant idea to have such markets; however, I would love to see more countries participating in this bazaar-like event,” she said.
"I found the henna tent set up as a majlis area very interesting since henna plays a big role in the culture of the region.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/culture/ramadan-night-market-draws-1-000-visitors-in-first-30-minutes-1.1544902

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UAE's Global Village in Dubai receives prestigious TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
posted on 08/06/2015

Global Village, Dubai's leading family and cultural entertainment destination, has received the prestigious Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site.
The award follows the park receiving positive reviews that are consistently rated a minimum of 4 out of 5 by millions of monthly visitors on the TripAdvisor website, the world's largest travel review site. TripAdvisor has 340 million unique monthly visitors and has reviews of more than 4.9 million attractions and restaurants.
Global Village is one of Dubai's major seasonal events with a large number of families from the UAE, other GCC countries, and further abroad, visiting over its 5 month season.
The 20th season of Global Village will begin on 3 November, 2015 until 9 April, 2016.
Products are available from over 70 countries around the world, and with cultural shows taking place at every pavilion; guests can see what dances and music set each country apart.
Guests have 25 dining experiences to choose from all over the world, as well as 150 kiosks with snacks and beverages to try.
The Heritage Village has its own area in Global Village to showcase the amazing culture and heritage of the UAE, by educating visitors as to how people lived in the UAE many years ago. The Heritage Village shows how Emiratis' houses would have been like and how they lived in the desert.
In line with Dubai's vision for 2021, and in the run up to Expo 2020, Global Village is committed to bringing local residents and guests in the UAE high quality family entertainment and as well as interact with cultures from all over the world. Global Village has worked consistently to making Dubai a fantastic family destination for tourists and local residents.
Ahmad Hussain, Chief Operating Officer at Global Village, said, "We are very proud to have been awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor and believe there is no greater testament than the support and validation of our customers and visitors, who have consistently voted and reviewed us as one the best in the world.
"Global Village will continue to strive towards the commitment of the nation's 2021 vision of creative innovation as well as to provide the best in entertainment and excellence in customer experience." The immensely popular family destination that has 70 countries represented across 31 pavilions at Global Village is a true reflection of the cultural diversity in Dubai and has witnessed a 15% growth in visitor numbers year on year since its inception nearly 20 years ago.
TripAdvisor is a travel website company that provides people with a platform to rate and review destinations they have visited. The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is awarded to properties and attractions that consistently receive outstanding reviews on TripAdvisor from people who have visited the destination. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395281607560.html

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Yas Mall wins 'Best International Shopping Centre'
posted on 05/06/2015

Yas Mall has won the 'Best International Shopping Centre' at the tenth anniversary of The Global RLI Awards 2015, hosted at Meydan Gallery by magazine Retail & Leisure International.
Judged on the mall's exemplary customer care; diverse offering in fashion, F&B and entertainment; mall layout and ease of navigation; maintenance and cleanliness; the UAE's newest retail destination beat off stiff competition from other malls in the country and internationally in China and Turkey.
Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer at ALDAR Properties PJSC, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have won this high calibre, international award beating a short list of impressive competitors. It is testament to the hard work of the whole Yas Mall team and all of our retailers. This recognises the very high standards that have been achieved by everyone in our first year of opening." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395281490140.html

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UAE retains top 10 retail spot for emerging markets
posted on 04/06/2015

The UAE retained a Top 10 ranking among retail destinations within the emerging markets universe, in the latest A.T. Kearney Global findings. This is the eighth straight year the UAE gets to do so, though there is a slippage from last year's fourth position.
UAE retail sales were up 6 per cent to US$70.9 million last year, in A.T. Kearney's projections. During the same period, there was a 7 per cent increase in retail capacity to 1.6 million metres. And more are on the way.
On a compounded basis, retail sector volumes gained 5.3 per cent on a compounded annual basis between 2010-14.
Clearly, the decline in Russian and other tourist arrivals will not put a brake on the pace of new developments as mall owners and retail chain owners look to the future rather than the now.
"The UAE is exhibiting a pattern typical of most retail hubs … the UAE's economic strength has allowed it to attract the biggest retail brands in the world, introducing them to further lucrative markets in the rest of the GCC and beyond,” said Shamail Siddiqi, Principal of the Consumer and Retail Practice, A.T. Kearney Middle East.
And who will the new developments attract? Luxury brands will continue to steam in as well all manner of F&B concepts, according to the report.
‘Although the market is near saturation, Dubai is cementing its position as the Middle East's retail hub,' the report notes. ‘The city's grandiose retail development has an increasing focus on the luxury segment.'
‘Despite the record drop in oil prices, retail sales growth is expected to continue. Indeed, the retail space pipeline remains strong, with several major projects underway in Qatar, the UAE, and Oman.
‘Kuwait has felt the impact disproportionately, due to its high reliance on oil and relative lack of diversification.'
A.T. Kearney bases its ‘Global Retail Development Index' on several parameters, including a particular market's attractiveness for retailers, the element of country risk involved, level of saturation the retail sector has attained, and the time pressure related to entry, among others. Each parameter is then assigned a certain ranking to come up with the final ranking.
China, Uruguay and Chile took the top three positions. Among Gulf states, Qatar entered the Top 10 for the first time, placing fourth, while Saudi Arabia was on 17th.
‘Luxury remains a bright spot in emerging markets, as the wealthy have proven less vulnerable to economic woes than the general population,' the report states. ‘Mall developers have taken advantage of increased consumer spending and mobility.' – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/retail/uae-retains-top-10-retail-spot-for-emerging-markets-1.1529523

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Seven Emirates Investment welcomes ‘7-Eleven’ store chain to the region in co-operation with DED
posted on 03/06/2015

Dubai's reputation as a magnet for multinationals and international investors will get another strong endorsement this year with the 7-Eleven global franchise opening its first store in the city in September 2015.
Khamis Al Sabousi, President of Seven Emirates Investment, and Omar Bushahab, Chief Executive Officer of Business Registration and Licensing, BRL, sector in DED held a press conference to announce the arrival of the international convenience store chain.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED, and representatives from 7-Eleven stores in Japan and USA as well as strategic partners in the business, attended the event.
Bushahab commented, " We are delighted to see Seven Emirates Investment taking off with the opening of the first 7-Eleven store set for September 2015. It's a critical step forward for Seven Emirates Investment, which also underlines the ease of doing business in Dubai and its successful economic policy on one hand and the confidence international companies have in the emirate on the other hand."
The Seven Emirates Investment President said that bringing a leading retailer like 7-Eleven to the region is part of his company's efforts to develop existing supply chains, provide innovative nutritional solutions, and encourage young people to explore franchising as a business model by also providing the support and training required. "Franchising promotes growth of private businesses and helps ambitious youngsters achieve their goals, while ensuring their participation in the development of the retail sector."
"Dubai attracts millions of tourists to its shopping and entertainment facilities annually, and has been rated the second leading shopping destination globally for the fourth year in a row. Likewise, Abu Dhabi stood third among top markets targeted by international brands and new entrants in 2014. Dubai also occupies first place worldwide in the co-existence of nationalities, with people of over 200 nationalities living in the city. We will see that our stores keep up to the standard of development as well as the blend of cultures and nationalities in the UAE, and that the consumer finds all his daily requirements in 7-Eleven stores," said Al Sabousi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281397086.html

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Al Maryah Central: Glitzy mega mall in the making in Abu Dhabi
posted on 02/06/2015

The developer of Al Maryah Central — the glitzy mall in the making in Abu Dhabi — dispensed with the guessing game when it came to their anchor tenants... or at least two of them.
Right at the outset of the project, it was announced that the signature US department stores, Macy's and Bloomingdale's, will be in residence when the mall opens in the first quarter of 2018.
This was quite unlike the typical mega-mall developments in the UAE (and even across the Gulf) where anchor tenant details are released well into the development programme, and, in some instances, even closer to completion.
For Gulf Related, at the helm of Al Maryah Central (the first phase itself is expected to cost $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion)), there were multiple benefits from naming Macy's and Bloomingdale's right out.
The two stores — both being introduced to Abu Dhabi for the first time — will each take up 200,000 square feet from the overall mall's 1.7 million square feet.
"It was important that we signed agreements with two of the US' most prominent department stores... We see them as partners in helping make this project a success,” said Kevin Ryan, Managing Director of Development at Gulf Related. "We are in the process of finalising deals with other key fashion anchors as well as cinema, food market, and family entertainment operators.
"Al Maryah Central is a true fashion centre — it is not a typical hypermarket-anchored design. There will be a mix of new brands as well as brands consumers in Abu Dhabi know well, ensuring there is something for everyone. We are working with all the key brands now. However, we are keeping space available for some who are not yet in the region.”
These arrivals are what will ensure Abu Dhabi retains its standing as the place global retailers need to be. In the last two years, the city's various shopping destinations — Yas Mall, the retail component at Abu Dhabi World Trade Centre Etihad Towers, and The Galleria — have created the capacity to make it happen. Al Maryah Central mall keeps that process an on-going one.
"Together, the Al Maryah Central mall and The Galleria create a retail district of over 2 million leasable square feet,” said Ryan. "In total, we will have around 400 stores and 145 F&B outlets.” (The Galleria has a further 115 stores and 25 F&B concepts.)
Al Maryah Central will be linked at several locations to its neighbour, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, which includes The Galleria. Ryan says there will be perfect symmetry between the retail clusters.
"Gulf Related clearly envisions our consumers, whether shopping or dining, will visit both on the same visit,” Ryan said. "Al Maryah Central also provides a unique opportunity is part of Abu Dhabi Global Market and therefore part of the soon-to-be implemented free zone. All of our leasing programme has taken Abu Dhabi Global Market and the anticipated growth in customers into consideration.
"The Galleria will continue to offer luxury retailers and complementary upscale brands, as well as a wide range of casual dining, cafes and destination waterfront restaurants.
"A major point of difference at Al Maryah Central will be the family entertainment offerings — currently not available in Abu Dhabi. "Adding to this, we are designing an outdoor component with three roof-top parks featuring numerous attractions and gathering spaces that provide for a range of activities, film screenings and themed events.
"Al Maryah Central will be a really great place to live, work and play and a This centre will be a game-changer for Abu Dhabi — and the UAE — in terms of customer journey, product offer and convenience. Al Maryah Central will be central — physically and emotionally.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/retail/al-maryah-central-glitzy-mega-mall-in-the-making-in-abu-dhabi-1.1527885

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Nakheel out to make a ‘Pointe’ with Dh800m project
posted on 27/05/2015

Completion of The Pointe, a project located on the Palm Jumeirah that could well become Dubai's priciest waterfront-based dining and entertainment strip, is set for the first quarter of 2016, according to Nakheel, its developer.
Construction has already crossed the 30 per cent mark while on the leasing side, more than 100 outlets out of the 145 available have been taken up.
The 1.2km project, which is located right on the tip of the island and across the bay from the Atlantis, is expected to cost Dh800 million.
The Pointe could attract between 40,000 to 50,000 visitors a day in its first full year of operations, according to a senior Nakheel official. Of this, 60 per cent could comprise tourists staying at hotels on the Palm.
Of late, water-side leisure locations such as The Beach (from Meraas) and The Walk have been visitor magnets, while Dubai Parks & Resorts is building a themed area around the water as part of its Riverland attraction.
Palm premium
"Anything on the Palm comes attached with a premium — the same will be the case for The Pointe,” said Omar Khoory, director of retail at Nakheel.
He, however, declined to get into the specifics of the lease rate band.
"As for the individual F&B concepts, they can offer anything from a burger to fine dining,” Khoory said.
"With all the tourist traffic we are projecting to this destination, we could not limit the Pointe to being an all-exclusive destination.”
The bigger format outlets would be around 10,000 square feet, one of which will be used by Nakheel's hospitality division for its own F&B concept. The first fit-outs could start from the third quarter of this year.
Across the island, the retail and hospitality components are being topped up. First up — in August — will be the launch of the retail component of the Golden Mile, which Nakheel acquired from IFA. Khoory confirmed that all of the earlier lease commitments entered into by the IFA would be honoured.
Nakheel Mall
In the development pipeline is Nakheel Mall, a Dh1 billion-plus project occupying a prime location on the destination. The mall, scheduled for opening in 2017 and currently 55 per cent leased, could take in anywhere up to 70,000 visitors a day. The Palm currently has a 35,000 resident base.
"My estimate is that 20 per cent or so of the brands represented will be making their debut in Dubai at Nakheel Mall,” Khoory said. "Again, lease rates at the Mall would carry the ‘Palm premium' — that's a given because of the sheer numbers of visitors that the Palm attracts, and will [continue to] do so in future.”
Nakheel is also building the 52-storey Palm Tower, 18 floors of which have been set aside for a hotel and the rest for residences, adjacent to the mall. However, no decision has been made on who will manage the hotel.
"There are no more plots on the Palm for hotel projects... all 32 have been acquired by investors,” Khoory said.
Currently, nine of these are fully functional properties, of which the Atlantis recently confirmed an expansion which would add 800 hotel rooms and 200-plus freehold residences in a separate structure. Another seven hotel projects are in various stages of the construction cycle.
There are more than 4,000 hotel rooms available on the Palm. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/property/nakheel-out-to-make-a-pointe-with-dh800m-project-1.1522210

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Dubai ranked world's second hottest shopping magnet – again
posted on 19/05/2015

Dubai has retained its position as the world's second most important international shopping destination for the fourth consecutive year, closely behind London, according to the 2015 edition of the CBRE report: ‘How Global is the Business of Retail?'.
According to the latest edition of the report by the leading global property advisor, Dubai has a presence of 55.7 per cent of international retailers. Last year saw new international retail brands enter the Dubai market almost on a weekly basis, with 45 global brands entering the emirate's already bustling retail mix.
Some of the high profile retailers that entered the Dubai market in 2014 included Hollister, Cavalli Caffe and McQ Alexander McQueen opening outlets in the emirate.
The findings of the report confirm that despite a drop in global oil prices, Dubai's retail sector – one of its primary economic growth engines – has continued to dominate the global rankings thanks to the emirate's competitive shopping offerings for its residents and tourists alike.
"Dubai's retail sector has remained resilient over the past few years, with major retail centres recording occupancies of over 95 per cent and rising footfall figures,” the CBRE report states.
The report highlights the factors that continue to propel Dubai among the very top in the global retail standing.
"Dubai's success has been driven in part by the overall quality of its developed infrastructure, and a combination of factors ranging from the ease of travel, visa availability, air flight connections and hotel quality,” it notes.
"Dubai Chamber welcomes news that the city has retained its position as the second most important international shopping destination globally for the fourth consecutive year. Dubai's retail sector is vibrant and continues to be driven by strong economic growth, increased consumer spending and tourist arrivals, which hit a record high of 13.2 million last year,” said Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
"Dubai provides a wide range of opportunities for foreign retailers and brands, whether that is individual stores or franchise options. The quality of available retail space is an added incentive for global retailers looking for expansion and key projects, such as Mall of the World promise a healthy future outlook. Dubai Chamber supports the retail sector through various initiatives and activities and as the voice of the business community we will continue to facilitate growth and developments in this important sector,” Buamim added.
"Middle East shows no signs of abating with focus on Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With some of the biggest shopping malls on the planet, the environment for expansion in the Middle East remains attractive with well-established franchise partners and templates for how to proceed being in place,” the report says, suggesting that growth will continue.
Retailer globalisation remained a key theme with half of the 164 cities surveyed attracting at least five new retailers. Markedly, Abu Dhabi featured prominently on the list of target cities with 55 new brands, ranking the emirate in third place for new retail entrants during 2014. Tokyo took the coveted top spot with 63 new retailers entering the market followed by Singapore.
International retailers continue to flock to Dubai as customers – both residents and tourists - see value in Dubai's shopping, which is among the cheapest in the world. "Sustained consumer demand from both the local population and visitors from across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and beyond has been instrumental in the growth of the retail sector,” the report confirms.
Overall, the report highlights that even as Dubai has retained the Number 2 spot as a magnet for international retailers for four consecutive years, this year is going to be even better with more international brands making a beeline to add to the emirate's retail offerings.
"The rise in tourist numbers along with the planned festive activities for 2015 will see another strong year for the retail sector. With strong fundamentals, the sector is expected to see further growth with the addition of new retail brands waiting to enter the market,” it states.
Globally, only London (57.9 per cent global retailers present in the city) is ranked above Dubai (55.7 per cent global retailer presence), with the other, more established cities following the emirate in terms of international retailer presence. Shanghai (53.4 per cent) and New York (46.3 per cent) are next in line, with jointly ranked Singapore and Moscow (46 per cent each) making up the rest of the top five international cities for retail representation.
These cities are followed by Hong Kong (44.7 per cent), Paris (44 per cent), Tokyo (43.4 per cent) and Beijing (41.7 per cent) make up the remaining Top 10.
The traditional retail triumvirate of London, Paris and New York continue to be challenged and in some cases overtaken by cities from Asia Pacific and the Middle East, the report notes, adding that this trend is likely to continue and there will be a day when we see a new number one atop the overall retail penetration rankings.
"The growth of Dubai's tourism sector over the past decade has been nothing short of phenomenal as visitor numbers have increased exponentially from around 5.4 million in 2004 to over 11.6 million in 2014,” it states.
"The role of the retail market has been pivotal in this success with the Emirates becoming synonymous with high-end retailing, offering unrivalled exposure to luxury products and placed second only to London in overall brand coverage globally,” the report notes.
"Dubai's global air connectivity and its growing stature as a hub for trade between the East and West has clearly given an added impetus to the retail sector. Dubai continues to remain the clear destination of choice for the majority of the brands looking to enter the region for the first time, frequently using the emirate as a stepping stone to wider regional expansion programs,” said Nick Maclean, Managing Director, CBRE Middle East.
"Whilst Dubai has maintained its position for overall retail representation in 2014, the increased number of new retailer brands entering Abu Dhabi has been driven in part by a significant increase in supply in the capital amidst the opening of a number of new malls, most notably Yas Mall which opened in November 2014,” added Maclean.
Mid-range fashion retailers remained the most active sector globally and focused on targeting the European market. Whilst luxury and business fashion retailers continue to target the Americas and Asia Pacific region with 26 per cent of expansion into the Americas and 24 per cent in Asia, coming from this sector. Luxury retailers contributed more than one-fifth of new retail entrants to Asia Pacific last year.
"Dubai's economic growth remains strong and it retains its position as a leading leisure and shopping destination in the world. The UAE retail sector will continue to see strong growth in 2015, driven by robust inbound tourist numbers and demand for new brands in the region, with almost all retailers using the UAE as a hub for their entry into the GCC. In addition, the UAE's free-market economy, which makes it easy to do business in the country, will be a key driver of this growth,” said Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Ventures.
Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates 17 shopping malls, 11 hotels and three mixed-use communities in the region. Its malls portfolio includes Mall of the Emirates and City Centre malls.
"We have witnessed high growth last year, and with our regional expansion plans, we remain committed to growing this further,” said Ismail. – Emirates 24/7 - http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-ranked-world-s-second-hottest-shopping-magnet-again-2015-05-19-1.591115

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Al Maryah Central Development receives UPCA approval for Phase 1 Retail
posted on 01/05/2015

Al Maryah Central Development, the $1.5 billion mixed-use development by Gulf Related, has yesterday been granted Detailed Project Approval from the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) for the Phase 1 retail component of the development.
Phase 1 of Al Maryah Central, the 3.1 million square foot mixed-use development will deliver a 2.3 million square foot shopping centre in Q1 2018 which comprises of 400 stores, 90 food and beverage outlets, a 20-screen cinema, a medical centre, a crèche, health-club, a public library, food market and will be fully connected to existing and future transport links.
The development will also deliver three rooftop parks atop the mall. Further phases will deliver two 400,000 square foot integrated towers set for completion by 2019; one with a hotel and serviced apartments and the other with luxury residences.
Kenneth A. Himmel, President and CEO of Related Urban and Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related said, "Detailed Project Approval from the UPC for Phase 1 is yet another crucial milestone for Al Maryah Central, Gulf Related, our investors, retailers and the residents of Abu Dhabi, allowing us to meet our Q1 2018 opening date. This development will create an urban retail, leisure and entertainment destination on Al Maryah Island that will serve the rapidly growing customer base on Al Maryah Island as well as catering to the wider needs of Abu Dhabi city. We are well placed to deliver against our schedule, with construction having commenced at the end of last year, and are rapidly progressing with our finance and leasing commitments, on which we expect to make further announcements in the coming months."
Dr. Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital and Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related said, "This milestone highlights our commitment to bringing high-quality, world class retail to Abu Dhabi, making Al Maryah Island a destination for residents and visitors near and far. Abu Dhabi is growing quickly, its economy is diversifying and expanding rapidly. We look forward to being part of that growth and helping Abu Dhabi reach its Vision 2030." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395279970587.html

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Dragon City to boost UAE, China trade ties
posted on 10/04/2015

Nakheel's newly-announced, 11 million sq.ft Dragon City project in Dubai will play a key role in further boosting trade links between the UAE and China, according to Chang Hua, the People's Republic of China‘s Ambassador to the UAE.
Hua's comments came during a visit to Nakheel's Dubai headquarters, where large-scale models of Dragon City and other new Nakheel projects are on display. The projects were endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, last week.
Nakheel chief executive officer Sanjay Manchanda, said: "Dragon City will build on the phenomenal success of Dragon Mart. We are creating a vast, mixed-use community that will open up more opportunities for trade between the UAE and China, and provide new facilities for Dubai's residents and visitors, including the growing Chinese population here.” Dragon Mart — already the largest Chinese trading hub outside mainland China — is to undergo a 6.5 million sq.ft. extension with retail and residential components. The expansion includes a 2.2 million sq.ft. retail complex with nearly 1.3 million sq.ft. of leasable space; a two-tower residential component with 1,120 one and two bedroom apartments; and a 250-room hotel. This new expansion project complements the existing, 2.95 million sq. ft. Dragon Mart extension which includes a mall, car park and hotel. Dragon City will eventually span 11 million sq. ft. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?section=uaebusiness&xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2015/April/uaebusiness_April101.xml

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Dubai to host First Shopper Smart Living Show
posted on 29/03/2015

With the global household appliance industry expected to reach an estimated value of US$324.2 billion by 2019 , the launch of Shopper Smart Living is on track to meet the growing regional demand for white goods, home appliances and smart home tech being driven by increases in urbanisation and per capita income, as well as continuously evolving design trends.
Co-located with GITEX Shopper Spring at Dubai World Trade Centre and also running from 1 – 4 April 2015, Shopper Smart Living will showcase the best in home appliances, large domestic appliances, high end consumer electronics, studio kitchens, lifestyle appliances, home automation technology, lighting, security systems and energy conservation systems.
"We are delighted to launch Shopper Smart Living and extend our value offering to smart home tech and the latest in home appliances. Now shoppers can update their personal tech and home products at the same time, enjoy exclusive show offers as well as take advantage of exciting competitions and an unrivalled shopping experience" said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, DWTC, organiser of GITEX Shopper Spring.
A number of big name brands and retailers will be present at the show's debut, including ALDRO for home and kitchen appliances, Emax Electronics, General Enterprises Company (GECO), Jacky's Electronics, Makook Smart Living, Moonway Group, Mega Electronics, Samsung Gulf Electronics, Sharaf DG and VRR Trading, bringing the latest in eco-friendly advances, home customisation and appliance trends to create the ideal home environment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395278574320.html

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Fly the world’s largest aircraft at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall
posted on 16/02/2015

If you travel the world on business, you might sometimes wonder what it's like to fly the plane yourself.
Well, for those who fantasise about handling the controls of an Airbus 380, iPilot, Abu Dhabi's first flight simulator, is a safe as well as cost and time-effective way of gaining access to the cockpit of the world's largest aircraft.
For Dh999, you can have an hour's flight with a trained pilot instructor. When I took the controls, iPilot's Mena director Alastair Orr was my co-pilot. He tells me flying the Airbus is similar to driving a real bus. "I don't want to undermine pilots, I know they hate that analogy. It's a lot more fun than driving a bus,” he adds.
Mastering a real Airbus would take two years, so iPilot cram in the most fun and important aspects of flying.
My co-pilot tells me I can fly anywhere but he can't find the ICAO code we need for Iceland's airport, so I opt for London Heathrow instead. You can choose daytime or night-time settings and the weather you prefer to fly through. I play it safe with sunshine, and my co-pilot loads the scenery using an iPad mini.
For take-off I'm told speed is of the essence, so I go maximum thrust and focus my sights on the end of the runway. The control rudders steer the tail fin on the ground, and the side stick steers the aircraft in the air. It's all easier than I'd expected – making it hard to understand why pilots get paid so much. Now I'm able to relax and enjoy the view of London landmarks such as Canary Wharf and the Shard.
"The most popular destination is Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, even though it's closed now”, says Mr Orr. "It was one of the hardest approaches in the world, which is why it's still so popular.”
But however challenging you make your flight experience, you aren't allowed to crash – the plane will simply bounce back on screen if you try. "We take this experience very seriously. We don't allow any crazy things,” says Mr Orr.
There isn't the hydraulic platform that I'm told you'd get on flight training centre simulators, so you don't get such a strong sensation of movement. But the screens are set to almost 180 degrees for an authentic panoramic view making my bumpy landing feel very real.
Q&A
German entrepreneur Wolfram Schleuter, iPilot's chief executive, explains more about the experience:
How was the idea for iPilot born?
I received a gift voucher for my birthday from relatives for a flight simulator experience. I liked it very much, but it was designed for the pilots themselves to train on, so you had to pay a premium for it. I thought this would be really successful if we could make it about 60 per cent cheaper. With iPilot, you only pay Dh999 for an hour's flight with a trained pilot instructor.
Can people also use it to conquer a fear of flying?
Absolutely. Often, fear of flying is fear of the unknown. We show people how safely the aircraft can fly, even when the engine stops. And flying through fog is actually easily handled. People use their fear in an almost playful way. We don't see it as a psychology session, but as a way to actually show people, hands on, how to be in control of an aircraft.
Why did you choose the Airbus 380 for Abu Dhabi's first iPilot store in Yas Mall?
This is the aircraft that Etihad has just started using, so the real Airbus 380 is now flying to and from Abu Dhabi. I think this will give us a big push. We also use the Airbus 380 in Mirdiff City Centre in Dubai and a Boeing 737 simulator in Dubai Mall.
What are your future plans?
We have seven stores in Europe and three in the UAE, and we're looking to open stores in another 10 locations in the next two years. - The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/fly-the-worlds-largest-aircraft-at-abu-dhabis-yas-mall

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Yas Mall boosts revenues for Abu Dhabi’s Aldar in fourth quarter
posted on 14/02/2015

Full-year profits at Abu Dhabi's largest listed property developer, Aldar Properties, fell slightly last year even as the company handed over more than 7,000 new homes, launched new projects and opened Yas Mall.
Aldar reported yesterday that profits for 2014 attributable to owners of the company slipped by 0.4 per cent to Dh2.23 billion from Dh2.24bn in 2013. Aldar put the dip down to the recognition of high margin land plot sales in 2013 compared to 2014. The sales relate to the transfer of assets to the Abu Dhabi government.
Revenues for the year increased 21 per cent to Dh6.55bn in 2014 from Dh5.38bn the previous year.
For the final quarter of the year, Aldar reported that it had made a net profit of Dh718 million, up from Dh406m the same period the previous year.
Recurring revenues in the three-month period increased 19 per cent to Dh701m from Dh591m a year earlier after it opened the 235,000 square metre Yas Mall in November.
Revenues in the quarter also increased on the back of the handover of units at Gate Towers on Reem Island.
"2014 has been an exceptional year for Aldar. We have executed successfully against a clear strategy and delivered on our promises of strengthening our balance sheet, monetising our land bank and growing our recurring revenues, thereby improving the quality of our earnings,” said Mohammed Al Mubarak, the Aldar chief executive.
"We have a development plan with the potential to launch 7,300 units across our existing destinations over the next four to five years.”
Aldar announced a dividend of 9 fils per share – up 29 per cent on the previous year. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/property/yas-mall-boosts-revenues-for-abu-dhabis-aldar-in-fourth-quarter

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Dubai Mall is ‘the centre of world retail’ welcoming record 80 million visitors in 2014
posted on 11/02/2015

Surpassing annual footfall figures achieved by the world's most popular tourist destinations and key international airports, The Dubai Mall is once again the ‘world's most-visited lifestyle destination' welcoming over 80 million visitors in 2014.
For the fourth consecutive year, the flagship mall asset of Emaar Malls (DFM: EMAARMALLS) continues to appeal to global visitors and retail enthusiasts as a must-visit destination with its world class lifestyle, retail and entertainment offering.
Mohamad Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Malls, said, "This is another historic milestone for Dubai, with a record 80 million visitors to The Dubai Mall in 2014. No other global tourist destination or even airports, which traditionally have the highest footfall, achieved the significant visitor arrivals The Dubai Mall recorded.
"With wholesale and retail accounting for nearly 30 percent of Dubai's real GDP, The Dubai Mall continues to make a sterling contribution to our city's diversified economic growth, as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai." The visitor numbers recorded in the mall were higher than footfall figures provided in 2014 by Business Insider* with Times Square, New York City at 39.2 million; Niagara Falls at 22.5 million; Central Park New York at 37.5 million; Union Station, Washington DC at 32.85 million; Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom Orlando at 17.5 million and Eiffel Tower in Paris at 7 million, among others.
The contribution of The Dubai Mall to the city's retail sector is significant, and is estimated to account for about 5 percent of Dubai's GDP. Tenant sales recorded across the mall's 1,200 plus retail stores and 200 F&B outlets at the mall, cumulatively grew by 14 percent in 2014, with growth seen across categories including fashion, luxury jewellery, footwear, sports and recreation, health and beauty, entertainment and food.
The popularity of the mall as the must-visit destination was further highlighted by the strong social media engagement of The Dubai Mall from people around the world. One of the Top 10 geo-tagged locations globally on Instagram (@thedubaimall), the mall also has over 1.5 million fans on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheDubaiMall), the highest for any shopping mall destination in the world.
The Dubai Mall also leads in social engagement over Twitter (@TheDubaiMall) with over 250,000 followers. The Twitter feed of the mall has the most audience in the UAE, which is 80 percent more than the second most popular Twitter handle from the UAE. It is also the fastest growing profile in the country.
Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Malls, said: "We are proud to have welcomed 80 million visitors to The Dubai Mall, who enjoy our best in class retail, entertainment and leisure offers. We are committed to creating memorable experiences for our customers not only within the mall environment, but also to be engaging and connecting with people around the world on our social platforms.
"While we set records in visitor arrivals and social media engagement in 2014, we are now looking to take the mall experience to beyond the extraordinary with the expansion of our Fashion Avenue by adding another 1 million sq. ft. (built up area) and a further 150 high-end and luxury international brands. Our vision is to deliver an unmatched experience for our visitors." As a world leader in family-leisure and entertainment, The Dubai Mall's attractions also include SEGA Republic, the largest indoor theme park of its kind; KidZania , the dedicated children's city; Dubai Ice Rink, an Olympic sized ice rink; and the 22-screen Reel Cinemas that can seat over 2,800 people. The mall also serves as the gateway to At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY, the world's tallest observatory deck. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395276346910.html

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Al Qasba enthrals visitors with spectacular shows
posted on 10/02/2015

SHARJAH, 10th February, 2015 (WAM) -- Al Qasba internal and external facades are hosting a number of shows as part of the Sharjah Light Festival 2015. Al Qasba, a unique waterfront destination in the heart of the city of Sharjah, attracts hundreds of visitors every day.
‘A Time Travel at the Speed of Light', a 20-minute show on the Al Qasba external facade, presents the spectacular development of Sharjah as the Arab Tourism Capital. In the show, the sun rises on an enormous stretch of desert sand and breathtaking landscapes – the name Sharjah means ‘the rising sun'. A caravan appears on the horizon followed by wind blowing across the desert. The theme of Sharjah Arab Tourism capital appears throughout the show, which takes the viewers on a remarkable journey of picturesque scenes and dramatic sounds.
‘Circus of Light', a 10-minute show at Al Qasba internal facade, highlights a nomadic lifestyle and art in motion. The show, involving live circus performances, creates magic with 3D and 2D animations while the synchronised soundtrack adds to the festive atmosphere. Circus of Light is a truly family entertainment experience with plenty of surprises, a work that clearly celebrates light.
Another show in the internal facade, ‘Come to Play with Me', involves hand-drawn cartoon visuals of brightly coloured characters. In the show, children from the Arab world, dressed in their traditional clothes, are seen playing in an imaginary land of large plants and flowers accompanied by a whole cast of birds, animals and insects dancing with them. The show concludes with a scene in which the falcon and the lizard, two of the characters in the show, invite the children in the audience to play with them.
Al Qasba includes several leisure facilities, the most important of which is the Eye of the Emirates, a giant Ferris wheel. The location also features a range of trendy restaurants and cafes that offer flavours from all over the world. Al Qasba hosts a range of fun events throughout the year combining cultural and entertainment activities that highlight the Arab and Islamic heritage. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395276252874.html

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Boxpark transforms Al Wasl street into a classy urban locality
posted on 24/01/2015

Shop, dine, play and walk in the unique settings of containers lined up on a Dubai street in a new concept of a souq next door.
Boxpark, Dubai's latest shopping district, has transformed a 1.2km stretch of Al Wasl street into a cool urban locality.
Developed by Meraas Holding, Boxpark is a concept borrowed from several cosmopolitan cities, where 220 shipping containers are put together to form a unique architectural design with an eclectic mix of colours.
Set to open by the end of this month, the outdoor mall offers easy park and dine option with a line up of cafes and restaurants as well as great shopping experience with global brands in funky settings.
Organisers say that Boxpark will be a place to be for hangouts in the next few months, offering what people might look for in a much smaller and convenient scale than the malls can offer.
"I have been watching the development over the past year and I was wondering what is being done with all these containers. It is an interesting design and they seem to have done a good job. I am looking forward to checking out the shops as soon as they open,” said Khalid Omran, a resident of Al Wasl street, living right across the Boxpark.
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Another resident, who lives in Satwa and passes through Al Wasl street daily said he is also looking forward to checking out the new stores and cafes once they open.
"I love shopping and I hope they will have good deals at Boxpark. I walk through the area every day and it will nice to stop over every once in while and hang out a bit,” said Dany Camus from Philippines.
However, not all are convinced the concept will work in Dubai weather.
"It's a good idea and a great urban design. But outdoor concepts are never a sell-out in Dubai because of the weather, but, nevertheless it is an interesting new development,” said Hadi Mohammad, who also lives in the vicinity. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/society/boxpark-transforms-al-wasl-street-into-a-classy-urban-locality-1.1445778

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Dubai Mall helps to lift Emaar Malls Group profit
posted on 22/01/2015

Emaar Malls Group, the retail unit of Emaar Properties, posted a 5 per cent increase in fourth-quarter net profit to Dh412 million last year from Dh394m, led by an increase in traffic to its flagship The Dubai Mall, the firm said.
For 2014, the Dubai-listed firm posted a 23 per cent increase in net profit to Dh1.35 billion from Dh1.1bn a year earlier. Revenue was up 13 per cent at Dh2.7bn compared with Dh2.4bn reached in 2013.
Revenue from The Dubai Mall accounted for 82 per cent of the total, which came in at Dh2.2bn, up by 12 per cent from 2013.
"The strong revenue growth recorded by Emaar Malls highlights Dubai's clear emergence as the world's premier shopping and leisure destination,” Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties, said in a statement.
"In addition to contributing about 5 per cent of Dubai's GDP through retail sales at The Dubai Mall, our shopping mall assets created sustained positive economic impact by attracting international retail investments, creating thousands of new jobs and supporting the city's hospitality and aviation sectors.”
Tenant sales across Emaar Malls' portfolio were more than Dh18bn last year, an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2013.
Total tenant sales in The Dubai Mall were Dh16bn last year, 14 per cent higher than the Dh14bn achieved in 2013.
Emaar Malls has a total gross leasable area (GLA) of about 6 million square feet and recorded a GLA occupancy rate of 95 per cent last year.
Emaar Malls is currently expanding The Dubai Mall's Fashion Avenue by 1 million sq. ft. to have more stores.
Emaar Malls' initial public offering last year raised Dh5.8bn by floating 15 per cent of its shares on the Dubai Financial Market. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/retail/dubai-mall-helps-to-lift-emaar-malls-group-profit

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Mohammed bin Rashid tours Box Star Project
posted on 18/01/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, toured the tourist and commercial Box Star Project, located along Dubai's Al Wasl Road in Jumeirah, sprawled across 1,200 metre long stretch.
H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, accompanied Sheikh Mohammed.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director- General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai and Abdullah Ahmed Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas Holding also accompanied Sheikh Mohammed during the tour.
Sheikh Mohammed and his accompanying officials toured the commercial and tourist project which has a unique architecture as it uses unconventional building materials such as industrial containers, concrete and steel materials, to add a touch of modernity.
Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by Al Habbai on the design of the project's shops and yards and familiarised himself about the new building materials used in the project, which will, when opened at the end of this month, be a rare building of unique architectural importance.
Sheikh Mohammed congratulated them on this promising project, underscoring the importance of such international malls that entice families inside and outside the country by encouraging family tourism. Such initiatives need to be promoted to reflect the UAE's authentic heritage.
Box Park will be a revolutionary lifestyle destination where urban chic meets contemporary sophistication. Providing a refreshing alternative to sprawling, insular malls, the concept will feature an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and high-end fashion outlets, intermingled with open spaces and amenities.
Following the example set in other cities such as New York, London, Paris and Christchurch, where similar temporary ‘pop-up' structures have been erected, 8x8 will be a permanent destination where all kinds of people including residents and tourists can spend a memorable and fun-filled day out. A spatial experience that is inviting, comfortable, engaging and memorable, this self-contained destination will be a place to shop, dine, relax and soak up the outdoor ambiance.
Nestled in the heart of Jumeirah, Box Park will serve as a seamless addition to the surrounding community and is set to become the new social hub of Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395275213007.html

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