Mall of the World Overview
Mall of the World is a proposed indoor-outdoor mega mall for Dubai. Originally announced in 2014 by the developer, Dubai Holding, the development was to have been built in the Al Sufouh district just over the road from the existing Mall of the Emirates. However, in October 2016 the developer announced that it had taken the decision to relocate Mall of the World to a site on Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Road.
Mall of the World was conceived as a city in its own right with shops, restaurants, residences, hotels and leisure attractions all under one roof. The key selling point of the project is its retractable glass roof which can be closed during the hot summer months whilst allowing for outdoor shopping and dining in the winter.
Mall of the World should give tourism in Dubai a much needed boost in the summer months and establish a year-round shopping and leisure destination. It is anticipated that Mall of the World will be able to cater for 180 million visitors annually.
Mall of the World Attractions
Mall of the World will consist of many individual developments spread over an area of 48 million square feet. Below is a breakdown of some of the main components.
World's Largest Indoor Theme Park
The largest indoor theme park in the world will be the centrepiece of Mall of the World. It will be covered with a glass dome which will be open during the winter months and closed during the summer.
Integrated Pedestrian City
With an estimated 7km of promenades, a strong emphasis is being put on creating a pedestrian friendly environment. The government's aim is to allow tourists to stay for a week in the summer without needing to leave the Mall of the World or use a car. Achieving that goal requires all retail, leisure, hospitality, cultural and recreation options to be connected together under one roof.
The plan includes 20,000 hotel rooms spread across 100 hotels and serviced apartment buildings. 25 of the hotels will be directly connected to the Mall and the other 75 will be accessible via air-conditioned walkways. The hotels will share 50,000 parking spaces at ground level.
Dubai Cultural District
A dedicated theatre district will become home to national and multicultural events and festivities. The idea is to host international shows and create a similar atmosphere to London's West End and New York's Broadway. A district called 'Celebration Walk', inspired by Ramblas Street in Barcelona, will connect the Dubai Cultural District to the rest of the Mall.
Mall of the World Events District
Events District will have the capacity to host 15,000 people as well as a range of wedding and celebration halls and conference centres including the UAE's largest conference hall.
3 million square feet has been allocated to a 'Wellness District' which will be dedicated to medical tourism, meaning people travelling abroad for medical treatment which is unavailable in their home country. The Wellness District will provide access to healthcare, surgical procedures, cosmetic treatments and 'rejuvenation services' as well as hospitality services usually required for the patient's family. Jordan is currently the most popular destination in the Middle East for medical tourism.
Mall of the World Retail Concept
The mall component is expected to cover 8 million square feet and will be contained in a temperature controlled environment with a retractable roof. Sections with wider streets are designed to attract retailers who want to establish flagship 'maison' stores that are popular in some European and Asian cities. This would be a first for the Middle East.
Mall of the World Access
As well as the two existing metro stations, Mall of the Emirates and Sharaf DG, there will be three tram lines leading to Mall of the World: the existing Dubai Marina line, the proposed Jumeirah line and a third line that will run eastwards to Arabian Ranches.
Before full construction can begin the existing Dubai Police Academy needs to be relocated to a new building which will take 2 years to build. The anticipated start date for the construction of Mall of the World is in early 2017 and the entire development, given its scale, could take around a decade to complete. It will be built in various phases in tandem with tourism demands although it is not yet clear which elements will be built first.
In February 2016 the developer announced that the first phase - representing about a quarter of the project's size - would be completed before Dubai hosts the Expo 2020 exhibition.
In 2015 it was announced that the Mall of the World masterplan is undergoing modification in order to incorporate a more efficient transport system which avoids potential traffic congestion, a common problem with similar projects in the region.
Roads and parks will also be incorporated into the layout to break up what might otherwise be a solid mass of buildings.
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