A DESTINATION FOR EVERYONE
Designed around the convenience of every customer with a bold mix of retail, F&B and entertainment, the upcoming Festival Plaza development is the community mall that people in the south of Dubai have been waiting for. Here, RLI sits down with Timothy Earnest, Group Director of Al-Futtaim Malls to discuss the exciting new project.
Scheduled to open in the last quarter of this year, Festival Plaza, Al-Futtaim’s latest community shopping project, is on track to cover 64,000sq m and has been designed to serve as the centre of the upcoming Wasl Gate community and beyond, bringing to life a new and exciting growth corridor in South Dubai. Located at the heart of this growing Dubai South community, Festival Plaza will be built on the surrounds of the Wasl Gate residential development, which includes apartments, townhouses and international curriculum schools.
Festival Plaza will serve as a community and lifestyle mall for some of the most established residential communities in Dubai, including those in Jebel Ali, Al Furjan, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and Barsha as well as commuters travelling from neighbouring Abu Dhabi. “Dubai is an ever-expanding city, taking great strides in development. We are proud to be a part of this growth story,” says Timothy Earnest, Group Director of Al-Futtaim Malls.
“We are excited to broaden our footprint to a key residential area and look forward to bringing our lifestyle expertise and successful retail mix to an even wider audience.” With the substructure work now complete and ongoing superstructure progress well underway, leasing has well and truly begun, as almost 85 per cent of the scheme has been leased many months before opening. The new destination will be anchored by the second IKEA in the market, Marks & Spencer, ACE, Lulu Hypermarket and a cinema.
Spread over 30,000sq m, the second IKEA store in Dubai will embrace digital integration and allow for a more intuitive shopping experience for its customers. The store will also focus on sustainability and serve as an international training centre for IKEA employees in the MENA region.
ACE, a new concept, will feature a 43,056 sq ft store on site that Dubai has never seen before, with thousands of products including exclusive ranges such as Homeworks power tools, Broil King barbeques and more. The new ACE location will feature a wide selection of outdoor lifestyle, gardening, homeware, paint & décor, DIY, automotive and pet care products.
It will also have an in-store café for the convenience of customers with a garden centre with plants and accessories. Grocery shopping will be easily accessible for all customers on site when Dubai favourite hypermarket chain, Lulu arrives with a new location. The Lulu Hypermarket at Festival Plaza will also be a new concept store, one not seen before in the emirate. The new concept will include high end finishings and fixtures, a cafe, fishmarket, gourmet deli and other offerings never before seen in a ‘typical’ Lulu Hypermarket.
Upon completion, the Festival Plaza development in Jebel Ali will host a total of 2,310 parking spaces, feature 120 stores, along with 40 cafes and restaurants to suit the entire family and a 500-seat foodcourt. “This project will see the inclusion of the newest format of IKEA which will be completely integrated into the mall. IKEA café as a separate F&B option will also be introduced at this new destination.
On top of this, being a lifestyle mall, we will have a world-class cinema, entertainment, a kids play area and family-orientated events,” explains Earnest. The new project in Jebel Ali will bring to its local population a second IKEA to better serve IKEA customers in South Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, and the mall will be easily accessible, convenient and offer a well-rounded mixture of services and lifestyle oriented tenants.
Categories including fashion, jewellery, financial and other services will be part of the dynamic mix aimed at meeting the everyday needs of shoppers will be supported by the dining and strong anchors. So how will you ensure that Festival Plaza remains innovative and relevant upon opening and from where do you draw inspiration? “No stone has been left unturned in our design of Festival Plaza, the mall will feature digital screens for ease of navigation and high ceilings. The project is being created as the ideal environment for meeting friends, shopping, snacking or to enjoy a complete food and entertainment experience,” Earnest explains.
Earnest believes that the complimenting retail offering at Ibn Battuta, the simple and easy access for customers and the promotion of convenience shopping for customers with a busy lifestyle will be the key drivers behind this mall’s success. As the build up to opening later this year begins to gain traction, the project is now active online, and its social media channels and website are already live.
Alongside this, to promote the project there will be a Retailer Breakfast series designed to engage SMEs and home-grown concepts. “With a multitude of planned retail, dining and entertainment options available, Festival Plaza will become the family lifestyle mall of choice for some of the key residential communities in Dubai,” concludes Earnest.