Abu Dhabi to become 'top retail city'
Dubai, December 18, 2010
New shopping centers and expansions of existing facilities will soon make UAE capital Abu Dhabi one of the most retail-concentrated cities in the world, according to London-based global property broker Cushman & Wakefield.
Abu Dhabi, the second largest city in the UAE, is set to surpass Dubai's per capita retail concentration by the year 2015 when its retail space doubles to nearly 1.8 million sq m, Cushman & Wakefield said in its report.
Presently, Abu Dhabi offers an estimated 936 sq m of shopping space per 1,000 residents, it added.
Dubai now offers more than any other city – 1,400 sq m of shopping space per 1,000 people. The US has about 1,000 sq m per 1,000 people, and European countries have just over 200 sq m per 1,000 people, the London-based experts said in the report.
While Dubai and most other major cities aren't anticipating significant retail space expansion over the next five years, Abu Dhabi has plans for new shopping malls on the scenic Reem and Yas Islands, the report stated.
The Deerfields Town Square Center in Al Bahia, which broke ground in 2009, is slated for completion by mid-2011. All told, projects planned for the next five years will push Abu Dhabi's retail concentration to 1,700 sq m per 1,000 people, the company said.
According to Cushman & Wakefield, retail occupancy rates in Abu Dhabi presently hover around 90 per cent. However, the new retail venues will likely saturate the market.
"That's good news for renters as they begin entrepreneurial ventures, and it's also good news for communities. As traditional malls become commonplace, market forces will encourage innovation," the London-based broker remarked.
"Community developers envision well-planned town centers that serve not only as places to shop, but also as places for fine dining and other leisure activities," it added.
The Abu Dhabi Mall is one example of a shopping center that's becoming a town center, Cushman & Wakefield said in the report.
The mall opened in 2001 with 220,000 sq m of floor space, but today it features a range of family and corporate housing options in addition to more than 200 retail outlets and 40 restaurants, it added.-TradeArabia News Service