Lulu Group, a UAE-headquartered retailer with operations around the Middle East, recently laid the foundation for a $272m (AED1bn) mall in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), due to be completed in time for Dubai Expo 2020, according to ConstructionWeekOnline.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), unveiled the commemorative plaque and laid the foundation stone for Silicon Mall, which is planned to span 21.3 ha (2.3 million sqf).
Design International has been selected to design the retail project. The design resembles five gigantic, pebble-like shapes inspired by “ancient Arabian movements across the desert”, according to a release.
The mall is also designed to feature a “futuristic façade that is set to serve as its unique value proposition”, it was revealed.
Corridors will be sky-lit to allow natural light-harvesting on all floors of the mall, which will also offer covered parking for up to 3,000 cars across two levels.
Yusuff Ali MA, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group International said work on the project would “be completed in a period of […] 30 months…Just in time for the launch of Dubai Expo 2020.”
“Silicon Mall is our most ambitious project in the UAE to date, and we intend to make it the most interesting and exciting mall in Dubai.”
More than 300 international and local brands will be included as retailers in the mall, with 12 anchor stores – including a two-level Lulu Hypermarket and Department Store – also planned for development.
A 70,000 sqf Family Entertainment Centre area will be developed alongside more than 50 food and beverage outlets, Dubai Media Office reported.
Speaking at the event, Dr Alzarooni said: “We have tremendous respect for companies, small and large, that have been instrumental in fostering the momentous growth of Dubai and the UAE.
“We are proud to announce that Lulu Group has chosen to locate its upcoming mega mall within the premises of this hi-tech park.
“Construction of the mall, which is currently underway, will be completed by 2020, an important year when the nation expects to welcome approximately 25 million visitors hoping to enjoy the Dubai Expo 2020 and other unique national experiences and sights.”
In a recent retail round table, hosted by Middle East Architect magazine, architects spoke about the importance of shifting traditional shopping malls to be replaced by entertainment.
The architects also spoke of the the market being open to more community-based shopping experiences rather than large mega-malls that appear to be the trend in Dubai.