Strip malls to change the face of Saudi retail

RetailME Bureau

Hamat Property Company, a subsidiary of Asala Holding Company, the Saudi-based real estate developer specialising in developing and managing shopping centres and commercial properties, is on an expansion spree. The company currently operates and manages Asala’s portfolio of nine shopping malls in the kingdom covering 5.7 million sqft of gross leasable area (GLA).

Hamat is constructing seven new strip malls – four large and three smaller – in the kingdom and will also take up the management and operation of four new regional and super-regional malls, owned by Asala, that are scheduled to open in 2016.

The strip malls, scheduled to open this year, include the largest in Damman (409,000 sqft GLA Oasis Centre), five in Riyadh (230,000 sqft GLA Alia Plaza, 93,000 sqft GLA Sahafa Centre; 58,000 sqft GLA Yarmouk Centre, and 53000 sqft GLA Telal Centre), the 236,000 sqft GLA Azzan Plaza in Jezan, and 160,000 sqft GLA Moj Plaza in Jeddah. Of these, Asala owns two (Moj Plaza and Azzan Plaza).



Asala’s new regional and super-regional malls include the 760,000 sqft GLA Tabuk Mall in Tabuk, 860,000 sqft GLA Hawiya Mall in Taif, 1.2 million sqft GLA Panorama Mall in Jeddah and Gate Mall in Riyadh.

A strip mall is an open-air shopping plaza or mini mall with stores arranged in a row along a sidewalk and parking lots in front. Khalid Ali Al-Sehaibany, general manager of Hamat Property Company, says these malls have a bright future in Saudi Arabia, positive indicators spurring their growth including rapid population growth, urbanisation and development of suburban residential communities.

“Strip plazas are much-needed retail real estate developments in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is witnessing dramatic growth in residential communities to cater to its rapidly increasing and urbanising population. So there’s high demand for more shopping centres to serve their requirements, especially in the suburbs.

Strip malls are a practical and economic solution that meet customer needs while guaranteeing returns to investors, compared to traditional malls, which require huge investmentsfor construction and operation,” says Al-Sehaibany.