When Mall of the Emirates (MOE) opened in 2005, many people in Dubai questioned whether the emirate needed another large shopping mall.
Much has changed over the past nine years, and despite the opening of other major shopping centres such as Ibn Battuta Mall and Dubai Mall, which are among the biggest malls in the world, MOE has firmly established itself as one of Dubais busiest.
The owner, the local Majid Al-Futtaim (MAF) Properties, is now expanding the mall. The first two phases of the upgrade are aimed at enhancing the shopping centre itself. Phase one, which was completed in February, involved expanding a section of MOE to introduce new tenants. The larger phase two, which is currently under construction, involves adding new mall space and moving and expanding the cinema.
Phase three, which will be tendered and awarded this year, is different. It covers the construction of a luxury hotel tower on top of the mall, aimed at enhancing its position as a shopping destination rather than just adding shops.
Over the past nine years, Dubai has been transformed from a regional hub into a global one, and much of that has been due to its malls, which are not only shopping centres, but tourist attractions in their own right.
This global position means developers such as MAF Properties can build on the success of the past nine years and move ahead with their expansion plans with confidence.