Dubai Mall is not among the five biggest malls in the world and certainly won’t remain the biggest in the Middle East, according to a new study.
The Middle East’s biggest mall in terms of leasable space is The Persian Gulf Complex in Shiraz, Iran, which will have 4.5 million space available when complete. The project, which is still under construction aims to house 2,500 commercial units, apart from a 28,000 square metre amusement park, six 150-seat cinemas and an outdoor amusement park of 37,000 square metres, among other amenities.
Overall, nine of the world’s 10 biggest malls are in Asia, which is a continued reflection of the continent’s growing populations and rise of the East as an economic power.
However, being the largest does not necessarily translate into being the busiest or most successful. The largest mall in the world, New South China Mall, is considered “dead” with only 1% of the land leased since it was launched in 2005.
Similarly, it is unclear how The Persian Gulf Complex will fare when it opens as Iran is going through a severe economic crisis due to international sanctions imposed on the country.
Dubai Mall, on the other hand, may have been number seventh in the ranking, but claims to be the most visited mall in the world. The Emaar development welcomed 54 million tourists in 2011, a 15% increase over 2010 figures.
The number of people visiting the mall surpassed visitors to other landmarks such as Times Square (39.2 million), Central Park (38 million) and Niagara Falls (22.5 million), making it the most visited landmark in the world, according to an Emaar press release.
The increased footfall resulted in significant revenues, as mall retailers also saw a 35% increase in sales on average, according to the company.
Among the new retail developments under way, Doha Festival City hopes to rival Dubai Mall. The new 4,669,784 square feet development being in Qatar’s capital is the largest retail development under construction in MENA region, according to Zawya Projects Monitor. Gross leasable area is expected to be 2,800,000 square feet.
The USD 1.6-billion development is jointly owned by Al-Futtaim, Qatar Islamic Bank and Aqar Real Estate Investment and is expected to be built by 2014-15. Its flagship store Ikea is set to open in less than a year.
The World’s Biggest Malls
1 New South China Mall in Dongguan, China has 6,459,993 square feet of leasable retail space. Built in 2005.
2 Golden Resources Mall in Beijing, China has 6,000,008 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
3 SM City North Edsa in Quezon City, Philippines has 5,197,655 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
4 1 Utama in Selangor, Malaysia has 5,005,218 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
5 Central World in Bangkok, Thailand has 4,623,099 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
6 (tie) Cevahir Mall in Istanbul, Turkey, has 4,520,842 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
6 (tie) The Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has 4,520,842 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
6 (tie) The Persian Gulf Complex in Shiraz, Iran has 4,520,842 square feet of leasable retail space. Under construction.
7 The Dubai Mall in Dubai, UAE has 3,769,995 square feet of leasable retail space. Built.
8 The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Canada, has 3,767,368 square feet of leasable retail space. Built. More info