UAE’s retail giant, Majid Al Futtaim revealed a new flagship project in the Kingdom, dubbed Mall of Saudi.
The mammoth project will be established in the Saudi capital, and it is planned to become an important tourist destination in Riyadh, which is currently turning into one of the ten largest economic cities in the world, according to the CEO of the Majid Al Futtaim Group Alain Bejjani.
Bejjani revealed that flagship mall will be established with around SAR 16 billion ($4.2 billion) of investments, and it is expected to provide 71,000 job opportunities during construction and 18,000 permanent jobs at startup.
Once completed, the huge commercial complex will be one of the most important malls in the world, and we will work to make the complex a contributor to establishing Riyadh as a global destination for tourism, especially shopping, entertainment and leisure, Majid Al Futtaim CEO revealed.
Mall of Saudi will represent the next generation of integrated shopping malls, bringing the latest trends in international mall design and catering to the Kingdom.
It is envisaged as a contemporary commercial complex that keeps pace with the development taking place in the Kingdom, whether at the technological level or work experience and the new and modern lifestyle.
“The Mall of Saudi project will be an integrated lifestyle destination, contributing to the Kingdom’s entertainment and leisure scene, the mall will be a destination and a tourist attraction,” Bejjani said.
With the project set to break ground in Q4 this year, the announcement marks an important step in further delivering Majid Al Futtaim’s master-planned landmark mixed-use development, Riyadh North. Mall of Saudi is situated in the fastest growing zone in the city and provides an unparalleled gateway to brands and partners who are seeking to access a dynamic young population with a high appreciation of best in class retail, leisure and F&B.
Regarding the duration of the Mall of Saudi construction timeline, Bejjani revealed that construction phase will take up to 48 months to complete.
Mall of Saudi will be fully financed through Majid AL Futtaim, he explained, as the company is has the highest credit rating by international agencies for a private company.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the project’s attracted huge demand from leasers, Bejjani said, adding that the Saudi market is a locomotive and a point of attraction, and the complex will be leased 100% before opening.
Mall of Saudi to feature world’s largest IMAX, Middle East’s largest ski slope and snow park
Majid Al Futtaim announced that it has awarded a four-year contract to global infrastructure consulting
firm AECOM to provide lead consultancy services for its flagship Mall of Saudi development, the company said in a press statement.
Mall of Saudi will feature a flagship Carrefour hypermarket and 31 VOX Cinema screens, including the world’s largest IMAX, and a Magic Planet. To date, leasing progress for the flagship retail space stands at approximately 50% of the gross leasable area for both issued and signed proposals, excluding Ski Saudi.
AECOM’s contract will see the firm deliver Lead Design Consultancy for pre-contract and post contract construction supervision for Mall of Saudi which is expected to house over 600 stores across 300,000 m2 gross leasable area. Mall of Saudi is envisaged as an integrated lifestyle destination that will host the largest ski slope and snow park in the Middle East, luxury hotels and branded residences covering approximately 2,000 keys and spanning 214,000 square meters of built-up area.
The company said in a statement, that the “Mall of Saudi Arabia” project will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, indicating that under the contract, “AECOM” will provide design consultancy for pre-contracts and subsequent contracts for construction work.
Ahmed Galal Ismail, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim – Properties, a subsidiary of the group said: “The contract appointment with AECOM marks a major milestone for the Riyadh North development and is a meaningful step in the progression of Majid Al Futtaim’s anchor development, Mall of Saudi. As a long-term private sector partner, Majid Al Futtaim is fully committed to investing in the Kingdom and ensuring that its retail, leisure and real estate projects play a meaningful role in contributing to Vision 2030. We look forward to breaking ground on this exciting project in Q4 this year, bringing us closer to ensuring Riyadh takes its position on the global map as a top 10 city destination and to unlocking future foreign direct investment by acting as a landmark global development.”
Hamed Zaghw, Chief Executive, AECOM Middle East & Africa, commented: “We are delighted that Majid Al Futtaim has chosen AECOM to deliver its flagship retail destination in Saudi Arabia. The award is testament to our strong relationship with Majid Al Futtaim and their trust in our integrated offer, global reach, and local knowledge. The win reaffirms our commitment to supporting Vision 2030 through the delivery of large-scale, transformational projects that create long-lasting impact in the communities they serve.”
Saudi economic reforms attracting foreign investments
Bejjani said that the company has been present in the Saudi market for 15 years, whether in the retail sector, maintenance and energy management.
He added: “We note that Saudi Arabia is developing, and its market is expanding. Saudi market is very attractive, whether in terms of population census, credit plans or the Saudi Vision 2030. All of these factors we have seen their impact and we have seen their results on the ground, with regard to openness and the role of women, cinema and entertainment.
According to the CEO of Majid Al Futtaim the Mall of Saudi came after the economic reforms undertaken in the Kingdom to encourage foreign direct investments, adding that the company was in constant contact with the Ministry of Investment, and with various departments, government agencies and ministries, where they worked with Khaled Al-Falih, Minister Investment and its team to remove the administrative obstacles that are always present in this type of projects.
The Saudi investment environment would play an essential role in the success of the flagship project, along with the geographical location, and the ease of access to and from it are the most important factors of success.
He noted that the company will contribute to the process of developing the road infrastructure around the mall, in cooperation with the responsible authorities in the Kingdom.
Moreover, he said that “Saudi Arabia a more promising market than ever before. All the reforms brought about by the Saudi Vision 2030 were encouraging for us and for any local or foreign investor to enter the market. Also the advances in technology and the digital dimension are very important, We are heavily invested in this aspect.”
Recently, Majid Al Futtaim in cooperation with eGrocery innovator Takeoff Technologies, launched an automated fulfilment centre at its Carrefour store in Jeddah’s Al-Sulaymaniyah. A first-of-its-kind in the Kingdom, the digitised storage picking facility automates managing orders, significantly reducing the processing time by up to 50%. Al-Sulaymaniyah is the first of two fulfilment centres to adopt advanced technologies and automation, with an additional centre set to open in 2022 to serve the capital, Riyadh.
Commenting on the launch, Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail, said: “Digital transformation is a fundamental pillar of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The private sector plays a vital role in shaping its goals and enabling Saudi society to reap the benefits of advanced technological solutions that have become integral to the way we work and live. Therefore today, we are pleased to announce Majid Al Futtaim’s latest adoption of the cutting-edge applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics to support the Kingdom’s efforts in this regard”.
“In partnership with Takeoff, the automated technologies and robots will help us fulfil customers’ orders faster while minimising human errors and utilising our colleagues’ skills to serve our customers better. As always, we remain focused on delivering exceptional value for our customers through every experience”, Weiss added.
Bejjani explained that Majid Al Futtaim considers itself a Saudi company in the Kingdom, immersed in the Saudi market, thus, they have a great role and responsibility to contribute to have positive effects on the national economy and create job opportunities.
He concluded that the company is studying opportunities in the city of NEOM and the province of Al-Ula, and that they look forward to double their business in the Kingdom.