Local developer Emaar Properties has delayed the issue of tender documents for the contract to build the world’s largest shopping mall until early September, to give construction companies time to form joint ventures.

Emaar had planned to issue tender documents by early August for the deal to build the retail centre at Dubai Creek Harbour.

Sources close to the project say the retail centre could cost AED15bn-AED18bn ($4bn-$5bn) to build, and requires construction firms to form teams with multiple partners. The contractors that have been invited to form joint ventures and bid for the deal to build the mall include:

The total built-up area of the mall is expected to be about 3 million square metres, with 1.7 million sq m of retail, 550,000 sq m of residential, 180,000 of commercial, a 175,000-sq-m basement, and a 40,000-sq-m hotel. Emaar’s Dubai Mall, which is the world’s largest shopping centre by total area, has a total area of 1.124 million sq m.

The consultants working on the mall are Netherlands-based Arcadis and the UK’s Benoy.

Another key component of the Dubai Creek Harbour development is the world’s tallest structure, known as The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.

In July, Emaar went back to the market to find contractors to work on the tower. According to sources close to the project, the developer has asked construction companies to express interest in the main construction contract.

The 6-square-kilometre Dubai Creek Harbour development is located in the Ras al-Khor area on the banks of Dubai Creek. The programme manager for the development is US-based Hill International. The scheme is being developed by a joint venture of Emaar and Dubai Holding.

The fight ahead for Dubai’s retail sector

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Mall owners will not only be threatened by e-commerce, they also risk losing business to other malls

Dubai has never been a place for shirking a challenge and its decision to build the world’s biggest shopping mall at the Dubai Creek Harbour (DCH) development comes at a pivotal time for the emirate’s retail sector.

Across the world, physical retail is being threatened by online players that have the advantage of being able to undercut prices charged by stores that have to pay for expensive mall space.

While the Middle East has been slow to adopt e-commerce when compared with other regions, momentum is building fast and there has been a wave of merger and acquisition activity this year, which included the acquisition in March of Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com by Amazon. As this trend continues, physical retail space will have to surrender market share to online players. Read more