Shopping mall frenzy will continue to grow

Experts predict expansion of retail jobs in line with mixed-use development spree

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By  Tim Wood Published  May 27, 2006

Shopping centre development in the GCC will grow by 140% over the next five years. Investors are also now becoming more strategic and there has been a subtle change in direction — choosing to anchor mixed-use developments — thus inheriting a virtually guaranteed ‘local’ market for the retailers and maximising their own return on investment. That is the view of Retail City International exhibition director, Franck Dailles, who was speaking prior to the inaugural Retail City, an international real estate conference taking place in Dubai next month. “The growth in retail developments alone is colossal, but it is clearly supported by the growth of mixed-use developments,” he said. “Retail facilities will breathe an enhanced quality of life into these communities producing a win-win situation for the retailers, the investors and the residents.” Dailles also referred to the many mixed-use projects being developed at break-neck speed, adding that Dubai leads the way with the likes of Dubai Festival City, Dubai Waterfront, The Palm developments and what will eventually be home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai. The rest of the region is in hot pursuit, with the Pearl-Qatar, The Wave in Oman, Bahrain’s Al Areen project and King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia. Rohan Marwaha, exhibition director of Retail City, added: “In some ways it is an unlikely alliance; in the US and parts of Europe, major retail parks situated in purpose-built out-of-town developments, were accused of killing the communities in and around the traditional town centres. “Throughout the GCC, we are witnessing the reverse trend where retail developments are seen as an integral element of these new communities.”

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