Agility, the Gulf’s largest logistics company, has said that it is in the final stages of securing US$800 million in bank loans to invest in building Abu Dhabi’s latest mega mall.
Kuwait-traded Agility last year revived dormant plans to build Reem Mall, a planned 2.8 million square feet shopping centre on the south side of Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island, when it agreed to invest up to US$224 million in the project through its United Projects for Aviation Services Company unit
However, Agility’s chief executive, Tarek Sultan, did not name any of the banks with which he was negotiating.
Plans for the US$1 billion Reem Mall were originally drawn up by the Kuwaiti developer National Real Estate Company (NREC) before the global financial crisis.
In June, United Projects for Aviation Services Company stepped in with the promise of funding through another subsidiary, Al Arfaj Real Estate.
Since then work on the project, which is due to include the world’s largest snow play park, has sped up considerably.
Following concept approval by Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council in July, enabling works started on the mega mall at the end of December and the UPC granted Reem Mall detailed planning approval in January.
The developers say they hope to appoint a main contractor later this month.
This means that the developers expect construction of Reem Mall to be completed in 2018, the same year that the US developer Gulf Related plans to open its Al Maryah Central mall just a stone’s throw away on Al Maryah Island.
The 2.3 million square foot Al Maryah Central project broke ground in November 2014 and the main contractor, Brookfield Multiplex, started construction in August.
“As with any major development of this size, we have a range of funding streams secured or identified to take us through construction and opening," said a spokesman for Reem Mall.
“All the financing required to meet our current commitments is in place and we have secured all of the equity required to enable us to finalise the funding and successfully complete the project."
According to the developers, the mall will include an 11,600 square metre snow park, which will include activities such as sledging, and luge runs and zorbing. It will also include about 450 stores and 85 food and beverage outlets.
A second phase of the Reem Mall project is slated to include 40,000 square metres of hotel space, 35,000 square metres of housing and 25,000 square metres of offices.
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