Plans to build the world’s largest shopping mall in Dubai are going ahead despite forecasts of a slowdown in the regional economy.
The Mall of the World project, which consists of 745,000m2 of shopping space connected to a theme park, 100 hotels and serviced apartment buildings with 20,000 rooms, was announced in mid-2014, just as oil prices began a precipitous plunge.
“We will be reacting to the demands of the market. The project is massive and complex and will have to be built in stages,” said Ahmad bin Byat, vice-chairman and managing director of Dubai Holding which is overseeing the project.
The project is set to become the world’s largest shopping destination and the first phase – representing about a quarter of the project’s size – would be completed before Dubai hosts the Expo 2020 exhibition.
Plans for the remainder “will be dependent on market dynamics”, Byat said, adding the project would be funded through an equal split of his company’s internal resources, institutional investors and debt.
“We’re talking to advisors, financial investors, sovereign funds, many people,” Byat said. “We have a lot of understandings with quite a few people. This is a mixed-use project which will be very interesting not only to locals but for the global market to invest in.
“It is not being downsized, but the project is getting re-sized – basically with regards to the offering and how we are going to deliver it.
“It is a very large and complex project and we are really spending enough time to plan for it so that we can produce something that is very interesting and provides a real value addition to Dubai.”