Al-Ghurair Center on verge of completing AED 2 bn expansion
DUBAI, Feb 20, 2013 (Arab News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Al-Ghurair Center in Dubai is to complete an AED 2 billion expansion this summer, adding 150 new stores and food outlets, in addition to a hotel, a serviced-apartments tower and an office tower.
The Deira-based shopping center, which was the first of its kind to open in Dubai more than three decades ago, 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.
The expansion is opening in stages. A five-star hotel and a luxury serviced-apartments tower opened in December.
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 "revitalized" Deira area.
"We are confident that the expanded Al-Ghurair Center 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. 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 Center 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. Considered a pioneer in its field, the mall currently boasts a retail area of 480,000 sq ft, 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 sq ft of gross leasable retail space with 150 new stores, taking the total number to 350 stores and 855,000 sq ft of gross leasable area.
David Thurling, recently appointed as vice president-Mall at Al Ghurair Center, 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.
"Deira remains a key economic and commercial hub with multiple tourist attractions, a high population density, and almost 80 percent of Dubai's hotels and hotel apartments. Although Dubai's retail market is increasingly competitive, we feel that there remains a huge opportunity considering that the retail potential of Al-Ghurair Center's primary trade area exceeds AED 12 billion."
The 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.
A new office tower completed the business and hospitality mix.
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