Another mega mall is set to be built in Abu Dhabi, as plans were outlined today for a $1 billion shopping and leisure complex next to the Sowwah Square financial centre.

Gulf Related, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi private equity firm Gulf Capital and US-based retail developer Related Companies, said it plans to build a 214,000 square meter complex next to Mubadala‘s giant Sowwah Square financial centre.

Mubadala is a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.

Gulf Related said the planned Sowwah Central development would be Abu Dhabi’s “first super regional urban shopping centre”.

The proposed development will include two 20,000 square meter department stores – one of which is likely to be Bloomingdale’s – as well as 300 fashion retailers, 80 cafes and restaurants, a cinema, health club, hotel, serviced apartments and flats.

Kenneth Himmel, chief executive of Gulf

Related, said that the company was in discussions with various shareholders as well as banks to raise the $1 billion needed to build the vast shopping mall.

Mr Himmel said the mall, designed by architects Elkus Manfredi, would open in 2017. He said he expected to be able to make an announcement about the financing of the project in 60 days, and that the company was also looking to finance the project through the bond market.

“We don’t want to over leverage, so we are looking for debt of 50 per cent to 60 per cent,” he said.

Gulf Related – which is already partnering with Mubadala to build the 51,000 square meter The Galleria mall, the luxury retail element of Sowwah Square – bought a 13 acre plot of land on the neighbouring Al Maryah Island at the end of December.

The developer also announced that the super-luxury The Galleria mall, which it is set to open in August, is now 100 per cent leased with new brands signed up including Dior, Fendi, Burberry, Miu Miu and Ralph Lauren. Restaurants will include Zuma, Almaz by Momo and Armani Caffe.

The news comes less than a week after TDIC and a real estate company linked to Louis Vuitton announced that it is to develop a 168,000 square meter luxury shopping mall on Saadiyat Island, which will link the island’s planned museums. It also comes ahead of the opening of the 235,000 square meter Yas Mall shopping shopping centre on Yas Islan

ref: http://www.thenational.ae