After four decades of unrelenting construction, real estate property remains a fiercely competitive sector in Dubai. One name synonymous with countless iconic buildings in the region is Nakheel.
“Nakheel is one of the world’s leading developers and a major contributor to realising the vision of Dubai for the 21st century: to create a world class destination for living, business and tourism. Nakheel continues to deliver and enhance an iconic portfolio of innovative landmark projects in Dubai across the residential, retail, hospitality and leisure sectors,” states the corporate website.
Among the myriad of developments Nakheel has been involved with, are: Palm Jumeirah, The World, Deira Islands, Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Heights, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Warsan Village, Dragon City, International City, Jebel Ali Gardens and Nad Al Sheba.
“Together, these span more than 15,000 hectares and currently provide homes for over 270,000 people. Nakheel has more than 21,000 residential units under construction or in the pipeline,” says the company website.
“Nakheel’s current and future retail project portfolio covers nearly 17 million square feet of leasable space. Developments include Ibn Battuta Mall, Dragon Mart 1 and 2, Golden Mile Galleria, Nakheel Mall, The Pointe, Deira Mall, Deira Islands Night Souk, Warsan Souk, Al Khail Avenue, The Circle Mall and Nad Al Sheba Mall, as well as major extensions to Dragon Mart (renamed Dragon City) and Ibn Battuta Mall. The retail profile also includes several neighbourhood community centres,” the site continues.
Additionally, Nakheel is increasingly building up its portfolio when it comes to hospitality projects.
In January the company signed a management agreement with Thailand’s Minor Hotels for a new 372-room hotel to be constructed at Ibn Battuta Mall.
Under the agreement, signed in Bangkok by Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah and William E. Heinecke, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Minor International PCL, the hotel will be managed under the vibrant AVANI Hotels & Resorts brand, which offers guests relaxed comfort and contemporary style in city and resort destinations.
The 18-storey hotel is the second Nakheel hotel at Ibn Battuta and one of 16 in the developer’s hospitality project portfolio. Adjacent to the recently-opened Ibn Battuta Metro Link, which is directly connected to the mall, the hotel will feature a pool, spa, gym, all day dining restaurant, coffee shop and parking.
Minor Hotels’ portfolio currently comprises more than 20,000 rooms across 156 hotels, resorts and serviced suites in 24 countries under the Anantara, AVANI, PER AQUUM, Oaks, Tivoli, Elewana, Four Seasons, Marriott, St Regis, Radisson Blu and Minor International brands.
Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said: “Today marks yet another key milestone in our commitment to enhancing and diversifying Dubai’s hotel offering by bringing new, reputable international hospitality brands to the emirate in line with the Government’s vision. We are delighted to welcome Minor and the AVANI brand to Ibn Battuta Mall, which, with over 20 million visitors a year, is one of Dubai’s leading tourist destinations.”
William E. Heinecke commented: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Nakheel for the new AVANI hotel at Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai. Having launched our upscale AVANI brand in the region last year, we are delighted to continue the brand’s expansion in the UAE with this new hotel and we are confident that the brand will prove successful in this key market.”
AVANI Ibn Battuta is the second Nakheel hotel at the mall. The first, a 372-room Premier Inn, opened last year. The hotels are part of Nakheel’s ongoing expansion at Ibn Battuta Mall, the first phase of which was completed last year with the opening of a 300,000 sq ft extension and 210 metre link to the Dubai Metro. The mall currently has 400 shops, restaurants and entertainment outlets across 1.5 million sq ft of retail space, with phase two of the expansion under way.
Nakheel has more than 5,300 rooms across a diverse range of hospitality projects. Two are already complete and operational, with the rest at various stages of construction and development.
There was good news for Nakheel’s retail arm in January also, as it was announced that Nakheel Malls had signed up Middle East retail giant Alshaya for 25 brands across 100,000 square feet of shop space at the upcoming Al Khail Avenue mall at Jumeirah Village in Dubai.
Alshaya’s most popular fashion, lifestyle and food brands – including Debenhams, H&M, Mothercare, Muji, Foot Locker, American Eagle Outfitters, Boots, P.F. Chang’s and IHOP – will join Al Khail Avenue’s fast-growing collection of shops, restaurants, café and services.
The new collaboration reinforces Nakheel’s long-standing relationship with Alshaya, which already has extensive retail space at Ibn Battuta Mall and is exploring further opportunities at other Nakheel retail developments.
According to the Nakheel website, over 75 per cent of shop space at Al Khail Avenue is now booked, with more deals in the pipeline. Dubai’s Landmark Group and Al Tayer Group are also confirmed, occupying almost 275,000 sq ft between them through brands such as Home Centre, Centrepoint, Reiss, Fun City, Gap, Banana Republic and Mamas & Papas. Waitrose and Reel Cinemas are also signed up.
Omar Khoory, Director of Nakheel Malls, said: “We are delighted to further cement our long-standing partnership with Alshaya by welcoming them to Al Khail Avenue.
“Al Khail Avenue is a magnet for some of the biggest names in shopping, dining and entertainment, and our latest collaboration with Alshaya proves that retail space continues to be very much in demand from both an industry and consumer perspective.
“The mall’s strategic location – amidst several established or rapidly-developing residential communities and close to commercial hubs including JAFZA and Dubai World Central – makes it the ideal shopping venue for people living in the vicinity, and a new destination for Dubai’s wider residential, business and tourism communities.”
With a list of other big projects set to occupy 2017 and 2018, Nakheel’s enduring presence in Dubai remains set to continue to deliver on the emirate’s ambition.