Dubai set to build world’s largest mall

Dubai’s ruler announced plans for a development boasting the world’s biggest shopping mall and gardens larger than London’s Hyde Park, as the emirate revives property projects on hold since the global financial crisis.

Emaar Properties PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ largest developer by market value, and Dubai Holding LLC will together build a district called “Mohammed Bin Rashid City”, named after the Persian Gulf emirate’s ruler. The project near central Dubai is to include 100 hotels, residential areas and green spaces 30% bigger than Hyde Park, according to a statement.

Dubai already has bragging rights to the biggest emporium by total area, Dubai Mall, which sprawls opposite the planet’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. Between these two Emaar structures is a man-made lake where the world’s largest dancing fountain shoots water 50 stories high.

Dubai, seeking to stimulate its economy, wants to resume several projects that halted after the global credit crunch drove down property values by 65% and caused companies to suspend construction of hundreds of developments. Builders in the UAE. have aborted about $757bn (€583bn) of projects since the crisis, Citigroup said in a report on Oct 16.

Meydan City Corp, which built a 60,000-seat horse-racing stadium and hotel complex in Dubai, said in October it would revive plans for two developments, one with low-rise buildings and lagoons and the other for a tower with “sky gardens” and nine swimming pools. At about the same time, the emirate’s government re-approved construction of a mile-long (1.6km-long) canal from the Business Bay commercial area to the ocean.

New projects announced in the past two months include a replica of India’s Taj Mahal that would be four times the size of the original.

Emaar’s shares climbed 2.2% yesterday to 3.73 dirhams, the highest close since Oct 23. The company’s shares have jumped 45% this year.

“The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city,” Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said. adding that work on the project needed to start immediately to boost the economy.

Under the ruler’s plan, Mohammed Bin Rashid City would span 5.1sq km and contain the biggest cluster of art galleries in the Middle East and North Africa. Its so-called “Mall of the World” would cater to 80m shoppers a year. The announcement did not specify the development’s expected cost or a construction schedule.

Dubai racked up $113bn of debt transforming itself into a tourism and commercial hub.

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