Sharjah will add over 3 million square feet (278,000+ sqm.) of premium shopping mall space by the year 2020, with expansion plans being implemented by shopping mall developers and operators. Developers aim to capitalise on extensive new master-planned developments in Sharjah’s suburbs alongside the development and redevelopment of Sharjah’s urban areas and the continued growth of the emirate as a domestic and international tourism destination.
The city’s largest shopping mall, Sahara Centre, which opened its doors in 2002, recently expanded its mall space by 60 percent adding 120 new retailers. The expansion added an additional million square feet (92,903 sqm.) to the centre’s gross area, bringing its total area to 1.8m sq. ft. and the gross leasable area (GLA) to 750,000 sq. ft. (69,677 sqm.).
The popular City Centre Sharjah on Al Wahda street is currently being expanded, a move which will add 13,400 square metres (144,236.4 sq. ft.) to its existing gross leasable area of 38,000 square metres (409,029 sq. ft.). Operated by Majid Al Futtaim Holding, the mall originally opened in 2001 and now attracts some 11.4 million visitors per year.
Another of the largest malls in the city is Citadel Properties’ Mega Mall which has a total area of 800,000 sq. ft. and a GLA of 400,000 sq. ft. spanning across four floors.
Meanwhile, on a waterfront location in Al Khan district, Sharjah Mall, a new retail, entertainment and residential complex is under construction that will offer a GLA of 27,800 square meters (300,000 sq.ft.).
New community malls
However, the largest proportion of new retail mall space is currently being built outside of Sharjah city alongside Sharjah’s newest residential community developments.
Perhaps the largest new mall under development is Majid Al Futtaim’s City Centre Al Zahia, a new ‘super-regional’ shopping mall located next to 1 million square metre (10.8m sq. ft.) Al Zahia residential community located near Sharjah University City, on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road (E311). Planned to open in 2018, the mall will have a gross leasable area of 130,000 square metres (1.4m sq. ft.).
In nearby Al Juraina, close to Sharjah International Airport, real estate developer Alef Group is constructing a new AED 210 million (US$ 57m) 37,000 square metre (400,000 sq. ft.) luxury shopping mall as the flagship property of its new ‘Zero 6’ brand. The complex is slated to open in April 2017.
Meanwhile, about 10 kilometres from Sharjah’s International Airport next to the Emirates Road (E611) is the AED 2 billion (US$ 540 million) mixed-use Tilal City real estate development, which is expected to include some 2,000 residential plots. A 94,121 square metres (1m sq. ft.) shopping complex is planned as the community’s central attraction.
The retail sector is one of the key sectors identified by Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) for economic growth, with expansion in mall space serving both planned communities and walk-in trade supplemented by continued strength in the development of new high street and small community retail locations.