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Emaar To Expand Dubai Mall By 1 Mln Sq Ft From Existing 12 Mln

Emaar To Expand Dubai Mall By 1 Mln Sq Ft From Existing 12 Mln

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Dubai's Emaar Properties said Monday it plans to expand its flagship asset, The Dubai Mall, by over 1 million square feet, from the existing 12 million square feet development, to include more retail outlets and hotel rooms.

"The new addition will include the introduction of new hotel rooms as well as entertainment and lifestyle choices," Emaar said in an emailed statement, adding the company has been working on the expansion for the past 12 months.

Located in Downtown Dubai, Dubai Mall currently has over 1,200 stores and 160 food and beverage outlets. In 2011, Dubai Mall hosted more than 54 million visitors.

"The addition of modern retail, leisure and hospitality choices as part of the 1 million sq ft expansion will take The Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai into the next era in retailing and lifestyle development," said Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties.

Emaar recently launched a project to build a 820-metre long pedestrian link that directly connects the Burj Khalifa/The Dubai Mall Metro Station with the mall, scheduled to be operational in 2013.

According to research firm Business Monitor International, U.A.E retail sales are expected to grow from an estimated AED113.37 billion ($30.87 billion) in 2011 to AED156.53 billion by 2015.

Analysts at real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle said this expansion could prove profitable for the company if approached the right way.

"There is strong confidence in the retail market now but a significant area of the Dubai Mall which was previously used as the Gold Souq is currently unoccupied and being repositioned. The focus of the additional space should be less on the retail and more on attractions such as arts and entertainment centres and theatres," said Craig Plumb, Head of Research MENA at Jones Lang LaSalle.

-By Tahani Karrar-Lewsley, Dow Jones Newswires; +9714 446-1692; Tahani.Karrar@dowjones.com

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Co

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