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Dubai: The pace of new mall development has come together nicely for Abu Dhabi as it added a substantial 168,000 square metres of retail space in 2013 to be the best performer in the Gulf, according to new findings by the property consultancy CBRE.
This was enough to propel it to the 18th spot globally among cities to record the largest intake of new retail stock, with cities across China leading the way in absorption rates.
It will get even better for Abu Dhabi this year, with Yas Mall — and the 2.5 million square feet that it packs — set for a November opening date, as well as Capital Mall in Mussafah and Sowwah Central on Al Maryah Island. CBRE estimates that Abu Dhabi has 778,000 square metres of retail space in the development pipeline.
“New retail destinations such as the recently opened The Galleria are helping to increase the emirate’s exposure, bringing new retailers and concepts to the region,” said Nick Maclean, regional managing director at CBRE. As such, the existing malls in Abu Dhabi are recording free space availability of less than 5 per cent, with the larger centres benefiting from an upbeat hospitality market as well.
In comparison, Dubai delivered 35,000 square metres of new retail capacity last year, though leading malls are still very much in expansion mode that would come online between now and in the next three years or so. At the same time, Nakheel recently confirmed that it will be generating substantial new stock, including building a 1 million square feet plus mall off the Deira mainland.
“On the back of strong occupier demand, many major mall operators in Dubai are pressing ahead with extensions to their existing centres,” the CBRE report notes. “Currently this accounts for a quarter of the total retail space currently under construction in Dubai.”
At the global level, the rankings for new retail capacity created during 2013 were led by cities in China, with Istanbul at the eighth position breaking the cycle of China’s domination. The first three spots were held by Chengdu, Tianjin and Shanghai.
According to CBRE, more than half of the shopping centre space “under construction” in the 180 countries surveyed are within China. Shanghai takes first position with 3.3 million square metres of space under construction — more than the combined total of all 86 European cities excluding those in Russia and Turkey. Next is Chengdu with 3.2 million square metres followed by Shenzhen and Tianjin with 2.7 million and 2.5 million square metres under construction.
Worldwide, a total of 39 million square metres of shopping centre space is currently under construction, a 3 million square metre increase over 2013. “Global development activity is similar to last year in terms of location with new construction dominated by Asia and in particular China,” said Natasha Patel, EMEA retail research, CBRE.
“The scale of new development there is due not only to economic growth in the region, but also due to the demands of cross-border retailers, many of whom have found that the existing retail space in the region is not of the standard they require.”
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnewscom