Dubai Holding to develop world’s biggest mall

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Dubai Holding LLC, a government-owned investment company, plans to develop what it says will be the world's biggest shopping mall, at a cost of 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion).

The project will be developed in Bawadi, a planned strip of more than 50 themed hotels in the desert of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The first phase of the mall will comprise 4 million square feet (376,000 square meters) of shop space, Dubai Holding's Tatweer unit said in an e-mailed statement today. That's equal to about 70 football fields.Phase 1 of the shopping mall is set to be completed by 2012.

The agreement to develop the mall was signed by Saeed Al Muntafiq, Executive Chairman of Tatweer, and Abdullah Al Ghurair, Chairman, Al Ghurair Investment, at Tatweer's offices in Emirates Towers.

Following the signing ceremony, Al Ghurair said: "This agreement highlights our confidence in Bawadi as one of the most desirable investment opportunities. It also underlines the active role Bawadi will play to meet the tourism and commercial objectives of the recently announced Dubai Strategic Plan. The innovative and uniquely designed, top-notch shopping mall will be one of the largest within the biggest shopping area in the world, and will add a new dimension to the variety of services and facilities offered by Bawadi."

Saeed Al Muntafiq, Executive Chairman of Tatweer,said, "This new project is Al Ghurair's second investment in Bawadi and, as such, is a vote of confidence in Bawadi's potential to deliver sustained commercial success. Our first agreement included Al Ghurair's initial investment of AED800 million in the Al  Maghreb Resort and Spa, which will position Bawadi as a leader in the tourism and hospitality industry providing solid investment opportunities and an encouraging business friendly environment in the region."

Al Ghurair Investment is credited with setting up the first shopping mall in the Arab world in Dubai. It owns and manages a diversified business portfolio, ranging from industrial sectors and real estate to banking, retail and shipping. The group operates both locally within the UAE and in overseas markets.

The largest completed shopping mall in the world is the South China Mall in central Dongguan, north of Hong Kong, with about 7.1 million square feet of retail space, most of which has yet to be filled by tenants.

The Bawadi project is expected to cost as much as $54 billion to build and will include a series of themed hotels based on landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. The development will include the $5 billion “Asia Asia'' hotel with 6,000 rooms.

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