On December 14th at 5 pm pre-opening celebrations begin for Festival Waterfront Centre, the next phase in the development of Dubai Festival City’s retail district. Guests are wedlcome to join in the festivities at the Festival Power Centre and preview the progression of retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality openings that are scheduled to coincide with the start of the Dubai Shopping Festival and continue throughout 2007. These celebrations and the official opening of Festival Waterfront Centre mark key milestones in the phased development of Dubai Festival City, the first mega-project to open in the UAE.
Festival Waterfront Centre follows the successful progressive opening of Dubai’s first ‘big box’ retailers at Festival Power Centre. In November 2005, ‘big box’ anchor retailer IKEA opened, followed in May 2006 by HyperPanda Hypermarket, Ace Hardware and Plug-Ins Electronix. Festival Power Centre also has a strong assortment of service, lifestyle and convenience shops. Soon to be integrated with Festival Waterfront Centre, the total retail area of Dubai Festival City will span 2.1 million square feet with 12,000 parking spaces. “Dubai Festival City was a concept envisaged by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, towards the future growth of Dubai as a world-renowned retail and tourism destination,” said Omar Al-Futtaim, CEO of the Al-Futtaim Group, developer of Dubai Festival City.
“The Al-Futtaim Group is proud to be part of the realization of this vision with the opening of Festival Waterfront Centre. Festival Waterfront Centre will be a landmark on Dubai's ever-expanding skyline that encapsulates the ongoing commitment of the Al-Futtaim Group to bring to the UAE unprecedented standards through its numerous activities in the automotive, electronics, retail, services and properties sectors,” Al-Futtaim added.
The Centre is the latest phased opening of the Al-Futtaim Group’s Dubai Festival City. With the expansion of its retail offering and the 4 kilometres of waterfront development encompassing retail, residential, hospitality, business, educational and leisure facilities stretching along the Dubai Creek, Festival Waterfront Centre will be the first retail waterside resort of its kind in the Middle East.
Phil McArthur, Managing Director, Shopping Centres and Commercial Real Estate for the Al-Futtaim Group said: “Festival Waterfront Centre will bring together the most diverse selection of waterfront dining venues, retail brands and entertainment in the Middle East at an exceptional Creek-side location. This is a first for Dubai and the Middle East.” According to McArthur, Dubai Festival City is an expression of the Emirate’s visionary aim to create a world class city and create a ‘sense of place’ for the city’s residents and visitors from around the world on Dubai Creek.
Architects Jerde Partnership and HOK have innovatively designed the retail resort to showcase 550 retail shops. Included are 25 flagship and anchor shops – the largest collective number in the Middle East – as well as many new-to-market speciality boutiques and international brands.
When completed, ninety eclectic restaurants, bistros and cafés will pepper the resort. Guests will be able to enjoy dining, al fresco, on Canal Walk, a unique crescent shaped waterfront destination. Some 40 restaurants and cafés along the length of the 450 metre canal will offer a mix of international cuisine.
The Skywalk Entertainment Level, scheduled to open later in 2007 features the 12 screen Grand Cinema, Fitness First, Skywalk Food Court, Electronics Collection, Bowling City and a Family Entertainment Centre.
A fleet of Jalboots – or water taxis – will travel along the length of the fresh water canal operated by seasoned Dubai abra captains, who will entertain passengers with stories of Dubai’s rich and colourful history. Three docking stations will transport passengers to hospitality destinations two outstanding Creek-side pavilions opening in mid 2007, as well as to other landing points along the Festival Waterfront Centre canal.
A major feature of the progressive opening of Festival Waterfront Centre will be waterside dining and retail pavilions located just across Canal Walk and overlooking Festival Marina. One of the pavilions, ’Trade Routes’, has been designed with influences from the ancient trading networks to create an authentic Arabian environment and to offer merchandise from across the region. The second pavilion will boasts an array of popular international dining and nightspot venues.
The Creek-side promenade will extend the full length of the development with access to more than 100 berths at Festival Marina. Guests will be able to dock at the quayside wall, then shop, dine, or simply enjoy the ambience and entertainment. Festival Marina is scheduled to open in early 2007.
Another 2007 opening will be the 25,000 square foot Dubai Gold Marketplace featuring 60 shops that will showcase the finest collections from the world’s leading gold retailers, as well as offering custom made designs in a relaxed comfortable air-conditioned environment.
The heart of the Centre will be the dramatic Festival Square with its stunning Cascades light and water feature. This vibrant meeting place will be the perfect setting for world class exhibitions and fashion shows with the Creek and Canal Walk as its vista.
With the completion of the 12-lane Ras Al Khor Bridge and road network in early 2007, Dubai Festival City will have three dedicated off ramps leading directly to Dubai Festival City, making this one of the most accessible destinations in Dubai. This will be further enhanced with the addition of the new Garhoud Bridge and ongoing improvements to Dubai’s infrastructure. With Dubai International Airport just 2 kilometres away, Dubai Festival City’s retail, dining and entertainment resort is set to become the number one first-stop destination for the 15 million tourists anticipated to visit the Emirate by 2010. The unique waterfront setting of Dubai Festival City aims to deliver everything you could imagine in one place.
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