Nakheel says local entrepreneurs are queuing to be part of its ambitious plan for a night market in Dubai – with one family even booking space for three dozen shops.
The developer said yesterday that leasing had begun for retailers and restaurants at its Night Souq, which is to have 5,000 shops spread along 1.9 kilometres of waterfront on its Deira Islands development.
The 15.3 square km development is to open in the middle of 2017 and is to feature 96 quayside cafes and restaurants.
"It will promote local business and entrepreneurship, serve hundreds of thousands of residents living on and around Deira Islands and act as a major attraction for Dubai's growing number of annual tourists,” said Ali Rashid Lootah, the chairman of Nakheel.
Interest in the Night Souq, particularly from the Emirati population, has been very high according to the Dubai property developer, with the average 170 sq metre shop costing Dh55,000 per year to lease.
"Deira is the original trading hub of the city, where buyers and sellers from all over the world converge to do business. Nakheel's Night Souq will serve to extend these traditional commercial activities by significantly boosting trading opportunities in the area known as Old Dubai,” said Mr Lootah.
In recent years, night markets have become a draw in tourist markets from Marrakech to Melbourne and Laos to Los Angeles. The largest night market in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, for example, has more than 200 stalls selling foods such as tan shui (fish balls) and oyster omelettes.
For the Deira Islands version, Nakheel is allowing a maximum of six shops per person. Interest from young Emirati entrepreneurs has been high, according to a company spokesperson, who said that one local family had already snapped up 36 shops. Nakheel is keen to attract more independent brands to the Night Souq rather than the international brands readily available at the malls.
"The retail industry is obviously booming and there is very strong demand for the food and beverage sector,” said Matthew Green, the head of research and consultancy at CBRE. "There is a very large visitor tourism population and visits to Dubai are growing at 10 per cent a year, so there is a strong demand for retail and new destinations.”
Comprising four linked islands, Deira Islands is a 4.5 million sq metre project that is being partly developed by Nakheel. All four islands will feature hotels, resorts and residential, commercial and retail units.
Attractions will include the Deira Islands Mall, a 250-room hotel, an amphitheatre for 30,000 people and a marina. More than 280,000 people are expected to eventually live there, and the projected number of new hotel rooms is 50,000.
Nakheel will master-plan and complete infrastructure work ready for third-party development on each island. The developer also plans to build five hotels of its own at Deira Islands.
In June, it awarded a contract worth nearly Dh40m to RSP Architects, Planners & Engineers to act as the design and supervision consultant to the Deira Islands Mall, which will comprise 200,000 sq feet of leasable space.
The islands are to have nine new beaches and the developer also started selling 94 plots of land for hotels and hotel resorts earlier this year.
Nakheel reported a 47 per cent surge in profit in the third quarter of this year to Dh2.6bn compared with the same period a year ago.
Source: The National