Dubai to build world’s first temperature-controlled city

Mall of the World will surpass Dubai Mall in size and scope, Sheikh Mohammed promises

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The world’s first temperature controlled city is set to be built in Dubai, it has been announced. The 48 million square foot project will feature a shopping mall that will take over from the Dubai Mall, as the world’s largest shopping mall, Dubai Holding has said.

The Mall of the World project, which will be built under a giant glass dome, will be one of the most ambitious projects ever planned in Dubai. The development is part of a strategy to boost Dubai’s tourism economy by providing more options for visitors, especially during the summer months.

The proposed site for the development is along Sheikh Zayed Road and across the highway from the Mall of the Emirates, which is already one of the world’s largest shopping malls. The project will take the shape of an extended retail street network, which is a radical departure from the typical shopping mall concept in the emirate.

A Dubai Holding spokeswoman told local media that more details would be revealed ‘in due course’.

Additional districts within the project will include a ‘wellness dedicated zone’, which will focus on medical tourists. A ‘cultural celebration district’ and a range of hospitality options, including 20,000 hotel rooms, will also be built to cater to tourists.

Once completed, the Mall of the World is expected to be a year-round tourist destination, with a projected footfall of 180 million visitors annually.

“The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible. This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision,” said HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism. Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make U.A.E. an attractive destination all year long. This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months. We are confident of our economy’s strength, optimistic about our country’s future and we continue to broaden our vision,” he added.

The Mall of the World will introduce an integrated pedestrian city connected to the mall and offering a wide range of leisure, retail, cultural, wellness, recreation and hospitality options under one roof.

Tourists will be able to enjoy a week-long stay without the need to leave the City or use a car. The 7km long promenades connecting all facilities will be covered during the summer and open during the winter, ensuring pleasant temperatures throughout the year.

The project will include designated parking areas with a capacity to host up to 50,000 cars on the ground level.

Faisal Durrani, international research and business development manager at international real estate consultancy Cluttons, told Big Project ME that the Mall of the World project would be critical to unlocking Dubai’s vision.

“Shopping is already synonymous with Dubai and has proved to be one of the city’s key lynch pins in its meteoric rise as the Middle East’s business capital. Dubai has a very significant portfolio of existing shopping malls and the string of new mall developments looks set to push Dubai further ahead of the region’s other emerging economies,” he said.

“Dubai’s malls have thus far been fairly traditional, offering global retail brands in a single ‘shopping destination’. During the last property cycle, we witnessed the inclusion of leisure attractions at some of the city’s malls, with Ski Dubai, iFly and the Dubai Aquarium all helping the Emirate’s malls position themselves as leisure destinations in their own right.”

As development across the city ramps up in the lead up to the 2020 World Expo and the Emirate’s vision of playing host to 20 million tourists annually, the focus of activity has moved strongly towards the retail and hospitality sectors. Cluttons currently expects some 7 million sqft of new malls over 1 million sqft in size to enter the market over the next two years, excluding all current city wide mall expansion activity.

“With authorities working towards an ambitious annual visitor target, the current hotel and serviced apartment portfolio in the emirate of approximately 80,000 keys is going to have to grow significantly. And it’s not just a question of swelling the hotel development pipeline, but a complex infrastructure of leisure and entertainment facilities have to be built to help drive Dubai’s vision,” Durrani added.

“I see this as Dubai’s answer to London’s Oxford Street and Paris’ Champs Elysee, which are both iconic shopping avenues. The added climate control element will for the first time allow the emergence of what will effectively be Dubai’s answer to a high street. At the same time, The Mall of the World will pave the way for the next generation of the city’s malls, where the shopping element is combined in equal parts with entertainment and leisure facilities, creating destinations in theory own right, while catalysing the development of wider surrounding areas.”


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