MAF plans to build up to 20 new community malls

RetailME Bureau

Majid Al Futtaim Properties (MAFP) has announced its plans to build up to 20 more community-based malls in Dubai in the next few years to tap into growing demand for the smaller-scale product. Launching the latest project under this concept and first for Dubai – a one million sqft shopping mall in Dubai’s International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), George Kostas, CEO of MAFP, said the format would eventually be rolled out to all of MAF’s existing markets, including the UAE, Saudi, Oman, Lebanon and Egypt. The IMPZ project will be 300,000 sqft in its first phase – about 10% of the size of Mall of the Emirates (MoE). When totally built out at one million sqft, the IMPZ project will equate to about 40% of MoE’s size.

“This is a great initiative to build smaller, community-based centres. There is a place for both small and big-size malls, with both playing an important part in the economy. We believe we’re responding to not just a community need but a product that does exist elsewhere in the world and a market that is now mature enough to accept that product here as well,” Kostas observes. He continues, “We’re out there now looking for more locations and we’re hoping to roll out more. You could do easily another 10 or 20 in Dubai quite easily based on the way the city’s grown and structured. They’re a very simple product, they work very well and you can basically put them on the ground very quickly and we expect to see a lot more of these happening, not just by ourselves, by the broader market as well. And I can see in time that the number of these types of malls will far exceed the number of our larger malls.”

Further MAFP also has five small malls in Sharjah and two more under construction in that emirate under the My City Centre badge, which can be described as supermarket-anchored small mall. In this context, Kostas remarks, “My City Centre malls would be largely driven by MAF’s ability to access suitable land in different cities.”