As the world begins to move forward under the constraints of the Covid-19 virus, developers across the globe are once again moving ahead with their projects and schemes. Here, RLI delves a little deeper into the developments that are currently on course to open in 2021 and what guests can expect at these sites that are evolving under new guidelines.

The last 12 months has reset all the rules, not just in the retail real estate sector, but all around the world things are different because of the spread of Coronavirus. Economic recovery still depends heavily on how quickly the vaccine can be distributed on a global scale, but the existence of a vaccine offers hope that a return to something like normal is on the horizon, albeit a horizon that is still some months away.

This year’s ‘Emerging Trends in Real Estate®’, a joint survey by PwC and Urban Land Institute suggests that the pandemic has highlighted the role of real estate in the health and wellbeing of societies. This may be one reason to explain why developments across the world continue to move ahead and below RLI highlights a selection of projects from continents around the globe that are expected to complete and open to an eager public this year.


Ingka Centres has announced that it will transform the 6X6 building in downtown San Francisco into a new, circa 25,000sq m retail destination anchored by IKEA and complemented with mixed-use offerings that are uniquely suited for San Franciscans and their lifestyle, following its acquisition from MSP Property. Expected to open in autumn 2021, it will be Ingka Centres’ second mixed-use project in a downtown location,, following the company’s acquisition of Kings Mall in London’s Hammersmith last year.

The upcoming Manhattan West project by developer Brookfield Properties is part of the revitalisation and reactivation of a locale that has served as the heartbeat for New York for more than one hundred years – a compelling foundation for brands as they develop themselves as part of a fabric of the city. The project will connect consumers to the most disruptive and innovative brands to create unique experiences and invite audiences to engage with products and services through unprecedented activations and interactions.

Ovation Hollywood
Los Angeles, US

The Township project in Calgary, Canada will be approximately 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use buildings when fully developed. The project by developer Royop will feature a number of anchor retailers and a mix of large format retailers, fashion retailers and restaurants as well as smaller service retailers. The area will also feature an existing high school as well as office, residential and hotel opportunities. Current plans are for the project to be constructed over multiple phases. The first phase, which includes 400,000sq ft of retail space, is currently due to be completed in April, with multiple phases to follow.

Gaw Capital USA, a Hong Kong and Los Angeles-based real estate private equity firm, together with DJM, a San Jose and Los Angeles-based private equity real estate developer, have unveiled their vision and plans for the famed shopping centre at Hollywood & Highland, which includes a major design update and new name, Ovation Hollywood. Upon completion in late 2021, Ovation Hollywood will finally be transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use project that includes 135,000sq ft of retail, two floors of nearly 100,000sq ft of creative office space, 85,000sq ft of dining, 65,000sq ft of entertainment space and 40,000sq ft of event space. With an emphasis on a refreshed tenant mix and updated merchandising, DJM is leaning into their retail expertise to bring an updated tenant mix to the property.


Opening in stages throughout 2021 is The Londoner® Macao, Sands China Ltd.’s bold British-themed reimagining of the Sands® Cotai Central integrated resort. Offering the best of British history and culture alongside a traditional yet contemporary hospitality experience, The Londoner Macao represents an investment of approximately $2bn and offers two new all-suite hotels, eclectic dining options, enhanced retail and MICE space including a 6,000-seat arena, themed entertainment and attractions. As part of the first phase Sands China Ltd. will unveil The Londoner Hotel and the spectacular Crystal Palace atrium amongst other attractions in Q1, with the official ceremony to be held this month.

The Londoner Macao, Asia

Festival City Chengdu by developer SHIMAO Group is to be situated in the south-eastern city district of Longquan Yi and the shopping centre is the third phase of the whole development. The GFA of the centre in 142,099sq m, including 86,357sq m leasable area, 24,306sq m of public space and 32,436sq m MEP & back house area. The architecture design was conducted by Aedas and 3MIX provided interior design services. The centre piece of the scheme will be the Tea House on the Ginkgo Tree, which will have tree house platforms scattered from the first floor to the fifth floor, enriching the visual attraction of the entrance.

Due to open this year in Xiamen, China is Jimei Paradise Walk by developer Longfor Properties. The upcoming site will be a new typology of commercial complex, amalgamating boutique retail, cultural and eventful co-working spaces, innovative soho office and loft apartments for creative start-ups. The site is directly linked to a green lawn at the nort site, aim to act as an urban connector in the neighbourhood, not only providing a greenery and breathing space, but ultimately an eventful fathering space for cultural and creative youth. The heart of the project features a glazing atrium which acts as a transcendent space.

Lulu Mall and Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, is located in the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Kerala. Due to be opened in 2021 by developers Sobha Limited, the mall is a two million square foot development with over 300 national and international brands, and 12 anchor stores including the LuLu Hypermarket spread across 200,00sq ft. The mall will house a 12-screen multiplex and 80,000sq ft Family Entertainment Centre, which will include a 20,000sq ft trampoline park. The mall will also feature a 2,500-seater food court, as well as several restaurants and cafes that serve various regional, international and specialty cuisines.

Festival City
Chengdu, China


Due to open in March by developer Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands will be an innovative, unique retail, dining, leisure and entertainment destination that will completely redefine the traditional Dutch shopping centre. Fashion, food & dining, leisure and experiences will inspire and delight. Enjoy superior store design, quality and service. Iconic flagship stores, inspirational brands, new designers, independents and pop ups will all be found here in one destination. It will be an entertaining, contemporary and eco-friendly environment with innovation at its core to make it not only best in class but also the future of retail.

EPP is the developer of Towarowa 22, which is set to be the largest mixed-use project in the centre of Warsaw and is being constructed on a site of 6.5 ha in Wola, which is the fastest growing area of Warsaw. With a total of 105,000sq m retail GLA, the project complements the restoration of the pedestrian streets of historic Warsaw with a mix of apartments, shops, workplaces and cafes; whilst at the heart of the development will be a public park. The scheme will also be a cultural centre with the inclusion of a theatre as well as Poland’s only festival cinema.

At 158,000sq m, St James Quarter is Edinburgh’s largest development in a generation and is currently one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects. Occupying a prime location at the heart of the city centre the mixed-use destination will provide 79,000sq m of retail space, including John Lewis, Zara, Mango, Next and Boots, complemented by living, leisure and entertainment. The scheme includes a Roomzzz Aparthotel, 152 apartments by Native Land, 30 restaurants and other places to eat including a food hall, and a five-screen Everyman cinema. Once open, the site is forecast to attract the highest footfall of any retail and leisure destination in Scotland.

Etele Plaza
Budapest, Hungary

The Battersea Power Station scheme has been opening in phases for some time, such is the scope of the project, but this year marks an important milestone as the key retail element of the scheme is set to be launched in the Grade II listed building. Under development by Battersea Power Station Development Company, the retail arm of the site is set to house such iconic names as Hugo Boss, Jo Malone London, Uniqlo, MAC Cosmetics, Space NK, Watches of Switzerland, Finlay, Royal Selangor and operator Archlight Cinema among others. Once completed, the iconic landmark will be home to more than 100 shops.

Nivy Station in Bratislava, Slovakia isn’t unique in only one way. It is a combination of many important features in one concept combining a traffic junction, traditional retail and modern retail trends with fun, lifestyle and breakthrough concepts along with a market and a green roof. The scheme, being developed by HB Reavis will include 70,000sq m of well-designed shop space for a mix of brands with plenty of space for good navigation. There is also 30,000sq m of office space, a 3,000sq m market, a 30,000sq m bus station, a 12,000sq m green roof and 2,150 parking spaces.

Currently under development by Futureal in Budapest’s Kelenföld area, Etele Plaza has already reached an occupancy rate of over 75 per cent ahead of opening in Q3 of this year. The shopping centre will feature every Inditex brand available in Hungary and the €300M Etele Plaza is expected to open by autumn this year. Spanish fashion giant Inditex Group’s international brands available in Hungary including Zara, Zara Home, Stradivarius, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Oysho and Massimo Dutti have joined the scheme as anchor tenants. These latest store design concepts will take a total floor area of more than 6,300sq m.

Nivy Station
Bratislava, Slovakia

Tbilisi Outlet Village, under development by Georgian Outlets & Resort Group (GORG) and The Outlet Resource Group (TORG), is being built as the very first outlet at the cross roads of Europe and Asia. Opening this year, the scheme will ultimately include 110 units spread across 20,000sq m GLA, with 70 stores across 12,500sq m opening in the first phase of the project. The brand mix is targeting an unparalleled selection of international designer and mainstream brands mixed with a curated set of local heroes, offering something unique to both domestic shoppers and tourists.

Corso Buenos Aires 59 is the major part of developer MARK’s extensive renovation project in Milan – to deliver a functional and appealing retail scheme in the heart of the Italian capital. Spanning over 8,000sq on an imposing corner position, the project will be an unparalleled new retail destination, urban and regional, with emphasis on best-in-class retail and great connectivity to the most popular areas of Milan. One of the major strengths of the scheme is the synergy between retail – Corso Buenos Aires 59 – and residential – the 21,000sq m Corti Segrete – which is located directly behind and above the retail elements.

Commercial real estate specialists Redevco have entrusted the development of the “Le 31”, a commercial and multi-functional space which is located at 31 rue de Béthune, in the historic heart of Lille, France to VINCI Immobilier. With a total surface area of 25,000sq m, the mixed-use project will include shops, offices, a four-star hotel and a car park. The total surface area of the retail offer will be voluntarily re-sized so that the building once again becomes the real driving force behind rue de Béthune and the city centre. All the elements of the project are expected to be open to the public by the end of H1 this year.

Galataport Istanbul is set to this year offer a brand new living space for local and foreign tourists and current residents with its port terminal, private restaurant chains, cafes, world-famous brands and office areas. It is a worldwide project that will give life to the coastline from Karaköy Pier to Mimar Sinan University Fındıklı Campus. In short, the upcoming project by developers Doğus Group will bring back one of the most beautiful areas of Istanbul to the city with a modern perspective.

Middle East

Sharjah’s upcoming City Centre Al Zahia has secured deals to attract some of the world’s best known fashion brands ahead of its opening this year. The developer Majid Al Futtaim Properties has signed agreements with two of the region’s premier retail and hospitality organisations Azadea Group and Landmark Group. Encompassing over 136,200sq m of gross leasable space, 70 per cent of the mall has already been leased. Along with Landmark and Azadea Group’s portfolio of retail outlets, Carrefour, Yalla Bowling, Magic Planet and VOX Cinemas will also add to the mall’s choice of dining and entertainment options.

The redesigned Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Park by developer IMKAN in Abu Dhabi integrates the project within its wider community to create a place of discovery and family interactivity. An adventure zone, retail and F&B outlets, activity areas and education zones are just some of the attractions on offer as the boundaries between urban life and green spaces blur seamlessly. The 46,000sq m urban park is on course to be handed over this year and will be an invigorating space in the heart of a busy city. Inside, the concept is aimed at revitalising the community by combining pure leisure with active living, cutting edge retail and all-out fun.

City Centre Al Zahia
Sharjah, UAE

Designed around the concept of a bamboo forest by Design International, the Forsan Central Mall is set to be the primary and only all-in-one shopping, dining and entertainment destination in the Khalifa City catchment area. Offering a rich variety of options including nine cinema screens, 22 F&B outlets, a 15,000sq m Lulu Hypermarket and Department store and 89 retail stores, the mall will cater to the basic and aspirational needs of the residents of this upscale community, while also serving as its thriving social hub. The project is being developed by Line Investments & Property LLC.

Abu Dhabi’s entertainment hub Al Qana remains on course for 2021 launch and the project will include The National Aquarium, The Bridge Wellness and Lifestyle Hub, Cinemacity Al Qana, Pixel eSports and gaming hub and dining and entertainment activities. Al Barakah International Investment, the developer behind the project has announced that construction of the waterfront social dining and entertainment destination is 90 per cent complete. The development of the scheme has continued despite the unexpected market conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 95 per cent of The National Aquarium, the Middle East’s largest aquarium, has been completed.

Mall of Oman
Muscat, Oman

Developer Seef Properties is nearing completion on its mixed-use development project, Al Liwan, coming up at the Al Hamala area of the kingdom’s Northern Governorate. A first-of-its-kind project in Bahrain, Al Liwan will boast a combination of exceptional commercial, entertainment, and housing facilities. The 122,000sq m venture features a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and retail stores topped with 117 three-storey residential units that overlook stunning views. Al Liwan also includes a state-of-the-art cinema theatre, a family entertainment centre as well as open areas and boulevards, granting its residents the most memorable experience. The scheme is expected to open its doors during the first quarter of 2021.

Developer Majid Al Futtaim has announced a new opening date for Mall of Oman, which is now scheduled to open its doors to customers in September 2021. Mall of Oman is primed to become Majid Al Futtaim’s fifth and largest shopping and entertainment destination in the Sultanate. It will have 145,000sq m of retail space, comprising of dining outlets and a range of lifestyle experiences. In addition to 350 retail outlets, the mall will also house Oman’s largest VOX Cinemas, a Magic Planet family entertainment centre, a 12,100sq m Carrefour Hypermarket, and the largest indoor snow park in the Sultanate.

The upcoming Mall of Dilmunia represents a balanced modernistic and futuristic architecture which creates an exciting family oriented universe within it. It will include retailers from across the MENA region that are yet to enter the Bahraini market, it aims to provide a quality entertainment, leisure and retail destination, which adds value to the Island’s tenants and guests. Being developed by Dilmunia Mall Development Company, the Mall of Dilmunia will redefine the shopping experience in Bahrain by adding urbanity to the retail experience through the development of a Boulevard.


Located at the eastern gateway to Perth’s CBD, across a 6 ha site on the banks of the Swan River, Waterbank will include a mix of residential, commercial, retail and circa four hectares of public open space. A collaborative effort between the WA State Government’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) and Lendlease, the vision for Waterbank is to create a new wellbeing precinct: a social place that reflects the cosmopolitan Perth of today. At Waterbank, everything will be on your doorstep. Situated on the banks of the Swan River in East Perth, Waterbank provides easy access to free public transport and is a short walk Perth’s vibrant CBD.

Perth, Australia

Yamanto Central will be a next-generation sub-regional shopping centre situated in a fast growing region when it opens in mid-2021. A celebration of local independent and national retailers, Yamanto Central is 35km from inner-city Brisbane, and 5km south of the Ipswich CBD. It is phase 1 of the planned 22.5ha Yamanto Town Centre. The nearby Amberley RAAF Base has 7,000+ service personnel which contributes to the significantly higher median household income when compared to the wider Ipswich area. Queensland-based shopping centre owner and manager JMK Retail and development management group DMA Partners will deliver the 20,000sq m retail precinct at Yamanto.