By admin on Dec 11, 2011 in News
A host of luxury brands, including Cartier, Hermès and Burberry are all set to open under one roof in in Abu Dhabi.
About 40 high-end brands, among them Versace, Bulgari, Rolex, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels, have signed up to the Etihad Towers complex on the Corniche.
“International brands are continually planning where they are going to expand in the next five years, and the Middle East is clearly a target,” said Richard Foulds, the property manager for Etihad Towers. “Suddenly the Middle East has become a major focal point for many European-based brands.”
The Etihad Towers project, which has nearly 7,000 square metres of retail space on two floors, is 100 per cent leased except for a small, upmarket supermarket, which is in the process of negotiations.
The shopping district will be open at the beginning of the second quarter of next year, and along with the 40 retail brands, there will also be a coffee shop in the complex.
“Etihad Towers will attract a high calibre of buyer and become destination retail,” Mr Foulds said. “If you wanted to buy a market-leading branded watch, you will come here because we have secured the most prestigious watch brands in the world.”
He said the project was still receiving requests for retail space and that it was heavily oversubscribed.
“The retailers would not be here in such concentration if they did not have confidence in the project and the location,” Mr Foulds said. “If you compare the Middle East and Europe, financially we remain in a better position.”
Etihad Towers is a luxury development on the Corniche set over five tower blocks, which include commercial offices, 884 apartments and penthouses, and a hotel run by the Jumeirah Group.
The retail space is on the ground floor and is intended to attract a mix of tourists and local residents.
But the project is set to open in an increasingly competitive retail environment in Abu Dhabi, with hundreds of thousands of square metres of retail space having been built this year or expected to be operational in the next three years.
Aldar is building two major projects, Yas Mall and the Emporium at Central Market, and the Emke Group opened Mushrif Mall this year.
But analysts say Abu Dhabi has been looking for a luxury retail offering such as that at Etihad Towers, which is the first of its kind in the city.
“I think the whole development is aimed at the luxury market. That’s really what this development is about,” said Matthew Green, the head of research and consultancy for the UAE at the property consultancy CB Richard Ellis.
He added that retailers at Etihad Towers would not require high numbers of shoppers to enjoy a successful business.
“This type of retail destination does not require the same level of footfall as the malls,” he said. “These are one-off high-price luxury purchases. The retailers do not need the same number of people through the doors.”
Alan Jones, the managing director of i-en Consulting, a retail, leisure and property consultancy, says the retail at Etihad Towers is likely to be a success, but could come under pressure in the long term.
“With the UAE’s high affinity with luxury and Abu Dhabi’s lack of quality retail space, I would expect a cluster of high-end brands at Etihad Towers to do very well in the short to medium term,” he said. “As with Emirates Boulevard in Dubai, the question will be how long this space will have a pull with consumers once larger destination malls in Abu Dhabi start to arrive.”
Source: The National