Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: Aldar Properties PJSC (Aldar), Abu Dhabi’s leading listed property development, investment and management company, views Al Ain as a key expansion market for its retail portfolio, driven by its significant local population and vibrant business landscape.

According to Urban Planning Council’s “Plan Al Ain 2030”, the city population will witness a 3 fold- increase over the next two decades. As a result, driven by strong consumer demand, the city’s retail sector is set for rapid growth as retail space per resident is expected to increase to approximately 1.115 square meters by 2030.

Al Ain’s strong fundamentals and its cultural significance within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi have led it to become a key destination for Aldar’s development strategy with the Garden City playing host to Al Jimi Mall, Remal Mall, Shabhat Plaza, and its residential development – Oyoun Village.

Al Jimi Mall, Al Ain’s first and favorite shopping and entertainment destination attracting 8 million visitors annually, is currently undergoing in massive expansion programme to add a further 65 stores, including a 10-screen cinema, and a retail park to the existing 94 outlets, bringing the total leasable area to 75,000sqm. The Mall will be expanded to include some of the world’s leading retailers. The expansion project is set to be completed in 2018.

Remal Mall is a unique shopping destination designed to integrate traditional Arabic architecture with a number modern features throughout. The mall’s gross floor area is approximately 128,890 m2, occupied by flagship brands, a hypermarket, and a food court. Remal Mall currently has more than 175 outlets with a total leasable area of 46,920sqm, hosting many local and international brands such as Carrefour, 2XL, Royal furniture, La Brioche, Il Forno, Dubai Islamic Bank, Energy Plus Fitness, Bounce, Funscapes, Badoland and many other retailers.

Aldar Properties’ additional assets in Al Ain include the Shabhat Plaza and Al Oyoun Village, both community-based retail experience. Shabhat Plaza development is located approximately 10km to the south of Al Ain city centre. The residential neighbourhood consists of 1,045 units for UAE nationals, in addition to a full range of educational, health and retail facilities. Al Oyoun Village is specifically designed for families and strategically situated on the fringes of Al Ain next to the Al Ain Sports Club. Consisting of 148 villas of detached and semi-detached townhouses, this neighbourhood offers a visually appealing mix of traditional Arabic and contemporary influences in addition to being located near to Remal Mall. At the heart of this homely community, residents can enjoy an exclusive clubhouse that includes access to a gym, swimming pool, tennis courts and other sports facilities.

Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer at ALDAR Properties PJSC, commented: “Al Ain is traditionally known for its natural heritage, and the unique lifestyle it offers residents. The growing retail sector is supporting evidence of how the city is evolving to become a cultural and community hub. At Aldar, our ambition in Al Ain is to complement the existing entertainment and lifestyle amenities in the city to offer visitors a memorable shopping and leisure experience.”

“Aldar retail assets are serving the needs of the people of the UAE, including Al Ain. Our existing retail assets in the city are part of our strategy to further diversify our investment portfolio and grow our recurring revenue assets.” He added.

Plan Al Ain 2030 was unveiled by the UPC in April 2009. It presents a coherent picture for the future of Al Ain as an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable city. It proposes new ways to grow and leverage the economic opportunities at hand without sacrificing the agricultural character of the city – and adds new elements to make it a dynamic hub of knowledge in the modern global economy.