Shopping spend in Sharjah

One of Sharjah's most expensive projects, the Dhs200 million Safeer Mall gets ready to open in September

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By  Eudore Chand Published  April 3, 2004

Safeer Mall|~|safeerbig.jpg|~|One of the mobile cranes at work|~|From paper, the design has been transferred on to the ground. The concrete blocks are in place; the structure is up and is actually gives a fairly good idea of what it would look like when it is fully complete. And it should, for the opening of one of Sharjah’s most expensive on-going construction projects is just months away. The imposing Safeer Mall that is being built on the Dubai-Sharjah Highway stands tall – and it should, for it has cost its promoter, the Sharjah-based Safeer Group, some Dhs200 million to build. Labourers have trudged the cemented passages, working day and night. Designers’ are back in their offices after on-site measurements to make sure that everything is perfect. Main contractors, System Construct, is busy putting finishing touches so as to be able to hand over the project by July or August of this year. The colossal structure, now silent, will come to life soon. Sharjah-based Al Safeer Group's latest venture, Safeer Mall, is set to open in September and promises to be a shopper's paradise. Located prominently on the highway leading into Sharjah, and built over two years at a cost of Dhs200 million, Safeer Mall will create an expanse of 120 000 m2 of retail space. It will have two basements with four shopping floors (ground plus three), which will be sub-divided into over 300 shops and a food court with 28 outlets, offering families — space and ambiance to shop. ”The construction of mall is almost complete and the final touches are being given. We have hired Italian designers, racking specialists and graphic experts to develop our mall,” said RP Kalwani of the Safeer Group. The mall is banking on its strategic location. "Our location will ensure a steady flow of customers from Sharjah and northern emirates. In addition, we will offer more space and value-added service to our clients," said Kalwani. Also, the mall has been designed in a manner where all the requisite sections are in close vicinity of each other. Giving an example, Kalwani said: "We have designed our Kid Centre in such a way that all kidswear and accessories are clubbed together so that the shoppers get hold of things easily," he pointed out. "The mall is eyeing middle class UAE residents and expatriate Arabs, Asians and westerners," he said, adding that the expected number of footfall is likely to be in the range of 12000 to 15000 per day. As regards parking space, Safer Mall will have two levels of basement parking, in addition to a five-storey parking building, allowing parking room for over 600 vehicles. "Safeer will include amenities such as amusement areas, food court and hypermarkets for shoppers," Kalwani said. "Our amusement centre, which encompasses 9000 m2 area, will have numerous roller coaster rides and games for people of all ages." The ground floor, which covers 25000 m2, will house a hypermarket, household, electronics, IT and computer items and accessories, antiques, art and jewelry shops. The first floor also covering 25000 m2 has been designed to host children, ladies and unisex fashion wear, textiles and casual wear stores. Covering an area of 14622 m2, the second floor will have furniture and household products, while the third floor, offering 14822 m2, will house food courts and amusement areas. "Our mall will be a one-stop shopping destination for families. We will provide best shopping experience at economical prices with best in wholesome entertainment," Kalwani said.||**||Structural Work|~|safeer2.jpg|~|The atrium of Safeer Mall|~|According to Wael Sabah, project manager from System Construct, the structural contractors for the project: "Structural work is almost over. Plastering and block work is also complete. Now, we are working on the final touches. "Steel work and block work is over. The screeding and partition work of shops is in progress and will be completed soon," he added. The bottom slab, the structural base, and its peripheral wall are ‘cast in situ’." About 9000 m3 of ready mix concrete, delivered ready for placement, has been used. "The uniqueness of this project lies in the use of precast. Well, precast has been used to construct the major portion of the mall," said project engineer Suresh Kumar. The intermediate slabs, beam and columns are of precast. However, the roof of the mall has been made with pre-engineering sheets and stress trusses that meet the stipulated requirements. The total project cost for System Construct is Dhs50 million. The use of precast has enabled System to mitigate the potential losses caused by the rise in steel and cement prices over the past year. For the construction of the mall, four tower cranes have been used of which two are static. The remaining two cranes can be moved to a distance of 75 metres on rails, which gives leverage of movement and easy maneuvering. "The free movement of the cranes to a considerable distance made it easy for us to complete our structural work with ease. It ensured flexibility and saved a lot of time," said Kumar. The external walls need a bit more technical approach in this region due to heat during the summers and the humidity. Mainly precast insulated cladding panels have been used to construct the external wall. "The use of insulators will enable resistance to heat transmission and prevent heat loss," said the project engineer. Over 200 labourers (skilled and semi-skilled) have worked daily on the project. The finishing work will be over in a couple of months as labourers are working day and night to meet the deadline. “All care has been taken in respect of safety of the labourers and all due guidelines have been followed," Kumar said. Making it easy for shoppers to traverse the whole mall, there will be two service lifts and two panorama lifts along with travelators enabling easy movement from the basement to third floor. Peter, Hudson and Buckle (PHB) have handled the structural designing work. The sub-contractor for the project is United Precast Concrete. New Projects The Safeer Group is not waiting for the Sharjah mall to be up and running before looking at new things. Plans are already well advanced about several new projects. "We are also developing a new 20000 m2 Safeer Mall in Ajman, which will be completed by mid-2005. Also, our mall in Ras Al Khaimah, which covers 22500 m2 of retail space, will open by end of 2005," said Kalwani. "We will provide the same facilities at our Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah malls as we wil do with our flagship Sharjah mall. We strive to give the best to the people," Kalwani said. "We have ventured into the mall business, which has been growing steadily over the years," he said. "Going to malls has become like going on a picnic. Families look forward to visit malls, where they look for total entertainment. This is offered in malls which houses cineplexes, gaming centres, food courts and offer a shopper-friendly environment." However, with this growth, competition has become intense. "Yes, competition has grown manifold. Malls are competing with each other, offering the best in all respects of ambience and cost savings. However, our strategies will certainly help us carve a niche," said Kalwani. "Perfect ambience for shoppers, commodities at good prices and value-added service will enable us to forge ahead." Safeer Group, promoters of Century Mall, won the Best Promotion Award for Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2004 and also won an entry into the Guinness Book for the largest 'shopping cart'. The group also owns Pic 'N' Save, Shop 'N' Save, Buy 'N' Save, Select 'N' Save, Kwik Save, Discount market and Safeer market, among others. The group presently employs 2000 people and has recently ventured into manufacturing furniture as well as branded novelties and the clothing business.||**||

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