Set to enhance Abu Dhabi’s mall portfolio

Rupkatha Bhowmick

Abu Dhabi-based Reem Mall, spanning 2.9 million sqft and located on Reem Island, is scheduled to open towards the end of 2020. “The structural work should be over by the middle of next year, which will be followed by MEP, interiors, facades and several other activities,” indicated Shane Eldstrom, CEO of Al Farwaniya Property Developments, the developer of Reem Mall, during an exclusive interview with RetailME. “Leasing is coming along well. Some exciting announcements are scheduled for next year.”

“We have signed up with big retail groups, including AZADEA Group, Landmark Group, Dubai Holding, Alshamsi and Majid Al Futtaim, alongside setting up our ‘Regional Champions’ programme that will help us find some talented home-grown brands from the GCC,” he revealed. Among some of the brands confirmed for the mall are Virgin Megastore, Home Centre, Centrepoint, Stradivarius, Adidas, Ecco, Steve Madden, Bershka, Eataly, Paul Café and Carrefour, to name a few.

The UAE capital boasts a good diversity in shopping malls. There are the likes of super-regional Yas Mall and luxury destination Galleria on Al Maryah Island, while the likes of Al Wahda Mall are getting a facelift. Some of the upcoming projects include Al Maryah Central and The District on Saadiyat Island. While the market isn’t overcrowded, there is a clear need for differentiation.

“That point of differentiation is being created for Reem Mall,” Eldstrom emphasised. “Reem Mall is situated in an excellent location, around 20-minute drive from where the Abu Dhabi population resides. It will have a compelling entertainment offer through Snow Park Abu Dhabi in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment. This snow theme park will offer an unparalleled experience at a storytelling level, evoking emotions and engaging effectively with guests. There will be mascots for every ride. It will be a key differentiator for the mall, opening a whole world of opportunity. Besides, Reem Mall will be the largest shopping centre in Abu Dhabi; it will have the largest number of parking spaces for 6,800 vehicles. We are also investing heavily in creating a convenient road network to help visitors get in and out of the mall conveniently. With Reem Mall, we will truly leapfrog to the next generation of shopping malls.”

Staying with the crucial role of leisure and entertainment in the shopping mall space, Eldstrom said, “We have built windows that are nine metres high running 65-metres wide for Snow Park Abu Dhabi. We have placed a row of restaurants and cafés with indoor and al fresco dining options right opposite the park. It will let the diners get a beautiful view of Snow Park Abu Dhabi.”

Reem Mall sports a race track design with wide corridors, high ceilings, lavish use of natural materials such as limestone flooring and oakwood. The architecture of the north section is different from the south and is entirely different for the mangrove atrium. “We have followed a design that will allow visitors to move around the shopping centre comfortably. The sound in the mall will not be music but rich, natural, environmental orchestra programmed for different areas. All these factors will add up to the shopping experience in Reem Mall. Importantly, Reem Mall has been awarded Estidama 2 Pearl Design Rating by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). From using LED lights to efficient use of wastewater down to ensuring health and safety welfare of our workers, we are undertaking every measure possible to operate responsibly,” Eldstrom stated.

The right-hand side of the ground floor will be the hypermarket square, which will house Carrefour. Also located in and around that area are value retailers and services. Department store lies on the left side of the race track along with electronics, home and food court. The second floor will host the entertainment zone with the Snow Park Abu Dhabi, VOX Cinemas, family entertainment centres like Magic Planet and a food hall.