THE HEART OF NEW ABU DHABI
Set to be one of the most ambitious real estate projects in Abu Dhabi, Reem Mall will be positioned on Reem Island and become the major new retail, leisure, dining and entertainment destination. Here, RLI sits down with Shane Eldstrom, CEO of Al Farwaniya Property Developments to discuss how the construction is coming along and what can be expected upon completion.
When finished, Reem Mall will offer a total area of 2.9 million square feet of floor area, and 2 million square feet of leasable area, which will comprise 450 stores including around 100 food and beverage outlets. In addition to a wide range of local and international retail brands, Reem Mall will boast a diverse family entertainment offering.
“We started main construction of the mall late last year and it has been progressing smoothly, with the foundation stone laid earlier this year,” says Shane Eldstrom, CEO of Al Farwaniya Property Developments. “More than 180,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete has been cast in place, with certain sections of the structure even reaching the top floor and by the end of this year, we anticipate to have fully completed all floor levels of the structure.”
Al Farwaniya has formed a number of significant partnerships with major retail and hospitality icons including Majid Al Futtaim, Landmark Group, Azadea Group, Dubai Holding and Carrefour to name a few, whilst the development is set to bring a wide range of other local, regional and international brands to the mall, including Virgin Megastore, Home Centre, Centrepoint, Stradivarius, Adidas, Ecco, Steve Madden, Bershka, Eataly and many others.
The entertainment offering of Reem Mall is expected to make up more than 10 per cent of the total mall space – an exceptional amount for a development of this kind. The offering includes Snow Park Abu Dhabi, the region’s first standalone, themed, indoor snow park. “The multi-faceted snow play attraction will mirror a themed snow park village, an immersive mystical and magical place for people of all ages. The park will be broken down into several distinct zones of snowy activities and adventures from sledging to zorbing to luge. Visitors will be transported into an enchanted world, populated with lively creatures and characters as a fairy tale unfolds before their very eyes,” explains Eldstrom.
Reem Mall will host the award-winning VOX Cinemas’ next generation concepts including the large format IMAX screens, fine dining Theatre by Rhodes as well as a dedicated VOX Kids for children, as well as Magic Planet, the region’s top Family Entertainment Centre attraction.
This mall will not just be another shopping mall, instead it will become a lifestyle destination providing a lifestyle experience for the people of Abu Dhabi. Whilst the emirate capital may have a lot of malls already, there is currently nothing like Reem Mall in terms of design, scale, proximity to downtown and retail mix.
Sustainability and integration with the local environment is at the centre of the Reem Mall design concept, highlighted back in 2016 when they were awarded the Estidama 2 Pearl Design Rating by the Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM), which is an initiative developed and promoted by the DPM for large-scale sustainable urban developments.
“With this mall, we strive to remain at the forefront of digital innovation in our industry, and our vision is to be the first fully digitally enabled mall in the world,” says Eldstrom. This is just one of the ways in which the scheme will remain relevant and innovative upon opening. Its ambition means Al Farwaniya is reimagining the role of the shopping mall operator and aiming to be more than traditional landlords.
So what does Eldstrom believe will guide the success of the development?
“I would put this down to three things, the location; the mall is positioned in a strategic location at the entrance of Reem Island next to a primary circulation route, seamlessly connecting it to the downtown road network. Next would be the offering, with so much space to utilise, the mall will have a world-class retail offering alongside the very best in leisure and entertainment. Finally I would say the developer; the project is being developed by Al Farwaniya Property Developments, a partnership between three Kuwait-based companies: Agility, Agility affiliate United Projects for Aviation Services Company (UPAC), and National Real Estate Company (NREC). The elements these companies bring to the table combined with our state-of-the-art offerings are set to make Reem Mall a success.”
In terms of digital, the new development will adopt a forward-thinking strategy that will involve the emergence of digital products and technologies, while helping the company embrace customer needs as well as proactively producing innovative solutions. “Our goal is to re-invent the shopping experience for today and for tomorrow, for this generation and the next.”