Exclusive: Ground is broken on brand new Dubai shopping mall development

As the first phase of the new Jebel Ali Development (JAD) mixed use masterplan, ground was broken yesterday at a ceremony just south of Ibn Battuta Mall on the new Al Futtaim retail mall. The mall will encompass a new IKEA store, bringing the popular Swedish furniture store to the doorstep of residents in JLT, Dubai Marina and Discovery Gardens.

BSBG is leading the entire project, from concept to completion, through design and delivery. The practice previously led phase one of the Dubai Festival City development for Al Futtaim, which saw the DFC IKEA, Hyper Panda and Atrium completed in 2006. This Big Box Retail project is a similar concept but on a larger scale, with state-of-the-art technological and sustainable features.

The site is 78,500 sqm, while the first phase and the mall itself will provide 55,000 sqm of leasable space and will be spread over four floors including a basement, ground and first floor, with a second floor containing IKEA offices and a cinema mezzanine. Retailers already confirmed to join IKEA at the mall are Ace Hardware, a supermarket and an upmarket department store – still to be confirmed.

Concept new Dubai Shopping mall facadeThe mall will host over 100 retail and concept stores in total, with a food court, cinema and café style dining. This first phase of JAD is set for completion in 2019.

Phase 2 of the development will include a residential offering developed by Al Wasl properties to create a new lifestyle hub in Dubai.

At the ground breaking ceremony, Omar Al Futtaim, Vice-President of Al Futtaim Group, opened proceedings by commenting on the expansion of Dubai. “Dubai is growing south, with Expo 2020, and so this site is going to be very important. Retail is always about location, and we could not ask for a better location here,” Al Futtaim said.

Omar Al Futtaim at new Dubai shopping mall ceremonyOmar Al Futtaim, Vice-President of Al Futtaim Group, officially opens the ground breaking ceremony

“This project is going to be a landmark destination, and will introduce new technology to retail. This mall will become a smart mall – we will use solar energy, we will use LED, we will use materials that provide optimum levels of insulation and we will also use the latest programme to control energy and efficiency,” he concluded.

New Dubai IKEA to be larger than Festival City

It was also revealed that the second Dubai IKEA will be larger than the existing Dubai Festival City offering (which measures at 24,500 sq metres. John Kersten, Managing Director of Al Futtaim IKEA, said: “After celebrating 25 years in the UAE, we have realised there is a great amount of love for IKEA in the country. We wish to increase our customer convenience for the majority of people, and therefore we will open our second store here in Dubai. This won’t be just another IKEA store. This store will be the newest IKEA concept in the world. The store will be around 30,000 sq metres with many innovative features, including digital integration.”

BSBG team at new dubai shopping mall ceremonyBSBG is leading the entire project from concept to completion. From left to right: Chris Brown, Associate – Technical Manager; Armin Buchbinder, Head of Design; Steven Bailey, Head of Engineering; and Kevin Harper, Practice Partner

Kevin Harper, BSBG Partner, said: “BSBG, as the architect of the mall, we are delighted to continue our long standing partnership with Al Futtaim, and to assist them in achieving their vision for this new concept of IKEA and the mall. Construction work now begins on this full service project, and we expect to see a good rate of progress to bring a modern, digital mall full of innovative features to the southern area of Dubai – an area which will see substantial and exciting development continue in the run up to Expo 2020.”

BSBG is set to play a significant role in the entire Jebel Ali Development, continuing its long-term partnership with both Al Futtaim and with Wasl Properties. The practice also expects to take more involvement in the development of the new Dubai South district, for which a number of new projects are to be announced in due course.

To learn more about BSBG’s full service proposition click here, or to read about our work as the architect on the region’s IKEA stores, including Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE, click here.

*Ground breaking ceremony photography by John Weston