Al Ghurair mall $522m extension to open in summer
Dubai-based mall will double in size to contain 150 more stores
The Al Ghurair Centre in Dubai is set to complete a $544m (AED2bn) expansion this summer, adding new shops and an entertainment zone to the shopping mall.
The Deira-based shopping centre will almost double its retail area with 150 additional stores and food outlets, refurbished cinemas, and a large entertainment zone featuring an indoor rollercoaster and ice rink.
Officials said in a statement that the expansion will open in stages. A five-star hotel and a luxury serviced-apartments tower opened in December and the remaining retail and entertainment zone expansion is set to open for trade in mid-2013.
Ibrahim Al Ghurair, managing director of Al Ghurair Properties, described the mall expansion as a "vital component" in the ongoing development of a "revitalised" Deira area.
"We are confident that the expanded Al Ghurair Centre will be a hit with both residents and visitors and are very excited to be contributing to the Dubai Government's exciting vision for old Dubai," he said.
"With the expansion, we aim to benefit from the ongoing potential in this vitally important area, as well as contribute to its future development," Al Ghurair added.
The Al Ghurair Centre became the first modern shopping mall of its kind in the Middle East when it opened in 1981, setting the UAE on a path to becoming a global shopping destination.
The mall currently boasts a retail area of 480,000 ft2, comprising 200 stores, 20 F&B outlets, and an eight-screen cinema run by Grand Cinemas.
Scheduled to open in mid-2013, the shopping mall expansion will boast an additional 375,000 ft2 of gross leasable retail space with 150 new stores, taking the total number to 350 stores and 855,000 ft2 of gross leasable area.
David Thurling, recently appointed as vice president - Mall at Al Ghurair Centre, said: "The full retail expansion will open in mid-2013 to coincide with the busy Eid shopping period when footfall in the existing mall typically increases 15-20 percent.
"Although Dubai's retail market is increasingly competitive, we feel that there remains a huge opportunity considering that the retail potential of Al Ghurair Centre's primary trade area exceeds AED12bn."
Hotel management company Rotana kicked off the expansion in December with the opening of the Al Ghurair Rayhaan five-star hotel and the Al Ghurair Arjaan serviced apartments - bringing 428 hotel rooms and 192 apartments on stream.