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Dubai's first Leed Gold shopping mall

by Gerhard Hope on Apr 8, 2009

Interior landscaping is a strong feature of the mall layout.
Interior landscaping is a strong feature of the mall layout.
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The new Mirdif City Centre shopping mall, from developer Majid Al Futtaim Properties, will be rated Leed Gold upon completion – the first time a major new shopping mall in Dubai has achieved this recognition.

It will also set a new benchmark for mall development in Dubai by being “100% complete” when it opens at the end of the first quarter in 2010.

“Shoppers are tired of going into a new shopping mall that is effectively still a construction site. We are setting a new standard in construction,” Majid Al Futtaim Properties development senior VP Richard Reid said at a press briefing to update progress on the flagship project today.

Leed Gold is the second-highest rung on the ratings ladder, which measures the environmental friendliness of buildings.

Mirdif City Centre will therefore join an elite new class of top-rated construction projects in Dubai, including the 73-storey Dubai Pearl in New Dubai overlooking the Palm Jumeirah, which is also aiming for Leed Gold.

The main contractor on the project is Al Jaber LEGT Engineering & Contracting (ALEC). The MEP consultant is WSP, while the MEP sub-contractor is ETA.

The centre will have its own district cooling plant and sub-station, while the architecture – by RTKL of the UK and Holfords Associates of Dubai – emphasises passive-design elements, like natural light and ventilation and minimal use of glass so as to reduce the heat load. A critical element of the layout will be a strong focus on interior landscaping, said Reid.

Commenting on the timing of launching Mirdif City Centre during a global recession, Reid said the project was nearly fours in the planning stage, while the site itself had been acquired by the Majid Al Futtain Group about 11 years ago.

“We knew the site was located strategically at the base of a major urban growth corridor,” argued Reid. He added that the group’s foresight has been vindicated by the fact that the primary trading area will reach 718,000 people by 2010, up from a projected 530,000 people two years ago.

Mirdif City Centre will have parking space for 7250 cars, spread over three decks on three sides of the mall. It will also incorporate 12 entry and exit points so as to avoid any traffic congestion in the area by integrating the mall seamlessly with the surrounding road network.

Another prominent feature of the project is that it will also be integrated with the surrounding community. “A community-focused super-regional shopping mall might seem a contradiction in terms, but we are aiming for an active social hub like Deira City Centre and The Mall of the Emirates, both examples of how a community can embrace a shopping mall,” commented Reid.

The focus on family activities will be catered for with such unique offerings as Soccer City, comprising indoor interactive football games and skills challenges, edutainment courtesy of La Cite Des Science et de L’Industrie-Paris, and iFly from Sky Venture International. The latter will comprise two identical flight simulation chambers, powered by a jet engine in the basement.

Aquaplay will provide a water-based interactive version of the popular Magic Planet concept. Reid predicted that iFly will become the major ‘destination event’ of Mirdif City Centre, as Ski Dubai is at Mall of the Emirates.

“The mall is 90% let at present, and we expect to reach full occupancy by July this year. A total of 25 retail units have already been handed over for fit-out,” said Reid. Mirdif City Centre will accommodate 430 retailers, with eight anchor stores. “At 196 000 m2, it will be one of the biggest shopping malls in our portfolio, comparable to The Mall of the Emirates,” said Reid.

Mace International is the project manager for this development.