Nakheel gets into overdrive with its retail projects

NakheelImage Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: The design of the Deira Islands Mall — which will create a substantial 2.9 million square feet of new leasable area to Dubai’s retail stock — has been finalised and will be put to tender “shortly”, according to a senior official with Nakheel, the master-developer.

The Mall along with a Boulevard and the Deira Night Souk, which alone will have more than 5,000 outlets along a 1.9 kilometre waterfront, will helm all of the retail and entertainment options at Deira Islands, the massive mixed-use development created off the coastline.

Officials also said that confirmations are in place for 60 per cent of the space at the flagship Nakheel Mall on the Palm, where the retail offerings will be split over five levels and 100,000 square metres. There will five anchor tenants, of which three have already been signed up. The project completion is scheduled for next year.

The two mega-projects will represent the cornerstones of Nakheel’s determined retail push, which sees 11.5 million square feet of leasable space in the pipeline. This is in addition to the 3.4 million square feet of area that is already operational at Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall, both incidentally are also in the midst of sizeable expansions.

“It’s possible that the retail portfolio could make up 30 per cent of our revenues by end 2017 when most of our current retail projects would have been delivered,” said Sanjay Manchanda, CEO. “But that should be balanced against the development cycle could pick up again, and margins [from selling residential projects] could improve significantly. If that happens, retail leasing’s share as a percentage of the total could change too.

“But 30 per cent is something we are aiming for. It’s a healthy portfolio we are building up to and has started contributing to the business.”

Retail magnet

The CEO declined to name the current share that retail brings to the developer’s bottom line. But the current quarter could see a nice lift from the retail component — the Galleria — at the Golden Mile cluster on the Palm becoming operational. The 400,000 square complex hosts 70 outlets and is fully leased.

The Galleria as well as the subsequent openings of the predominantly F&B destination, The Pointe, and Nakheel Mall will open up the Palm’s reputation as a retail magnet rather than just on residential and hospitality offerings.

According to Manchanda, the new openings are in line with the developer’s ambition to offer convenience and amenities right up to the consumer’s doorstep. “It was the case earlier that (Palm/Golden Mile) residents had to do their shopping outside,” he said. “Now they can do so right within their community.

“Most of what we are building retail-wise are focused on the residents within our communities; it’s the same thing we have done in Jumeirah Village and Discovery Gardens. But with a project such as the Nakheel Mall, there is a chance to aim for the visitors too.”

Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,


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