UAE-based Majid al-Futtaim (MAF) intends to expand operations and open 10 new malls in the Middle East and North Africa over the next 10 years.

MAF will expand its operations throughout the region despite sales dropping in 2009, said Peter Walichnowski, chief executive, MAF, at the opening of their Mirdif City Centre mall on 16 March.

Although the opening of the Mirdif City Centre development has completed MAF’s core goal of three super-regional malls in Dubai, they are keen to expand their retail portfolio in other parts of the UAE and the Middle East, says Walichnowski.

The developer is currently involved in the design stage of a $817m mixed-use development in Syria, which is expected to contain a mall, hotel, and office buildings.  The project is planned for the Sabboura Yafour district of Damascus.

Designs are also currently under way for a large retail development in Egypt. The proposed mall would be the third and largest of MAF’s portfolio in Egypt, says Jonathan Emery, vice president of project management, MAF.

MAF is currently drawing up plans for a community mall in the emirate of Fujairah. The project will be on a smaller scale than MAF’s retail developments in Dubai, and will contain a Carrefour supermarket and other shops, says Emery.

Elsewhere in the emirates, MAF has identified Abu Dhabi as a priority for new retail development, but no firm plans have been made, adds Emery.

Mirdif City Centre was built by the local contractor Alec. It was awarded the contract in 2007 (MEED 3:9:07).

In Lebanon, MAF recently awarded a construction contract to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Saad General Contracting Company to build a $40m City Centre shopping mall on the outskirts of Beirut. The mall, which will be located on the Damascus road, will have a built up area of 125,000 square metres.

Germany’s Bauer is the piling contractor. The consultant is the Lebanese Samir Khairallah & Partners. UK-based Davis Langdon is the quantity surveyor (MEED 21:12:09).