Abu Dhabi is leading retail development in the Gulf

A study revealed that Abu Dhabi has more retail space under development than any other country in the GCC, reports local newspaper The National.

UAE’s capital building eight mega shopping centres over the next three years, according to property adviser CBRE. This equals to over 778,000m2 of retail space.

Malls currently under development include Aldar’s 235,000m2 Yas Mall, due to open in November and Mubadala and Gulf Related’s 214,000m2 Sowwah Central, due for completion in 2017.

Also included are Paragon Day Mall on Reem Island, Mina Plaza at Mina Zayed, Darwish Island City on Airport Road and Shamkha Mall in Shamkha.

CBRE researchers found that only 96,000m2 of major retail space is under construction in Dubai, including Emaar’s 75,000m2 Dubai Mall extension and Ahmed Ramadhan Juma’s 21,000m2 Agora Mall in Jumeirah.

This number is excluding Nakheel’s Dragon Mart extension for it is not of grade A space and the Mall of the Emirate’s extension as it is not large enough in size.

“Dubai’s retail pipeline is increasing as the economy recovers but it is Abu Dhabi that will have most retail development activity over the next couple of years for sure,” said Matthew Green, the head of research at CBRE’s Dubai office.

“Dubai saw a great deal of construction activity in 2010 and 2011 with the construction of major retail centres such as Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall. Abu Dhabi is only seeing that sort of major development now with the planned opening of Yas Mall.”

“We don’t expect to see an imminent oversupply in the immediate future in Abu Dhabi. However, down the line we think that there could be some areas which suffer – especially the smaller centres which lie in close proximity to the new malls. We still think Abu Dhabi is under-supplied in terms of retail, certainly if you compare it with the likes of Dubai,” he said.