Real Estate

Exceptional design

The Abdali Mall ... an artist’s impression.

THE Abdali Mall is set to be part of the largest master development in Amman, Jordan, known as the Abdali Urban Regeneration Project (AURP).

This new downtown of Amman is a mixed-use development where Abdali Mall is the upcoming retail and leisure hub and a natural continuation of the Abdali Boulevard, the pedestrian spine of the city’s upcoming business district. Abdali Mall comprises retail shops, an entertainment centre, 11 cinema screens, a food court, a casual dining plaza, a supermarket, and department stores.

It is being built by Kuwait-based United Real Estate Company (URC), one of Middle East’s leading real estate developers.

Commenting on the project, Renimah Ali Al Mattar, executive vice-president, URC, says: “Located within the new downtown and business district of Amman, Abdali Mall stands out with an exceptional modern architecture. The aesthetic of the design is evident through the use of the transparent tensile structure, which allows natural daylight to flow in and gives the feeling of an open market. The design of the mall includes open air features on the third and fourth floors.”

The mall is spread over five floors above ground with a strategic tenant mix to include a variety of retail stores, an entertainment centre, eleven cinema screens, a food court and casual dining plaza, and a supermarket. It has five basement floors, designed as a smart and conveniently accessible parking that accommodates for up to 2,400 cars.

The total plot area of the development is 29,604 sq m, built-up area is 227,327 sq m and gross leasable area (including storage areas) totals 64,540 sq m.

Al Mattar says the mall focuses on technology, architecture and hospitality, where development decisions are driven with these core values in mind. With a conscious to have a positive impact to the community, the built environment, and the new area of Abdali, the mall is designed to reduce and reuse its water and energy consumption, thus allowing it to be a more sustainable development.

“Advanced technology is integrated within the mall through the smart car park system, free public wi-fi, a mall app and among other features, creating an innovative environment to elevate the guest’s experience.

“The mall features innovative concepts in contemporary retailing. A comprehensive and balanced tenant mix of retail, a spacious supermarket, cafes, restaurants, a family entertainment centre, 11 cinema screens and a retail component allow for a variety of options for all mall guests,” she adds.

Construction on the project began on December 15, 2009 at a cost of JD153 million ($216 million). It is expected to be completed in Q3 2015.

The project’s main design consultant is a joint venture partnership between Lebanese Arab Contracting and Engineering Company (Laceco), a leading architecture and engineering firm founded in 1988 in Beirut, and Aedas. Other contractors include Habash Deir for structural, landscaping and finishing; Heba for MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) works; Petra Aluminum for façade works; and Kone for the conveyance system.

Further elaborating on the architectural plan for the Abdali Mall, Al Mattar says the plan design consists of a triangular plot of land with a footprint area of 30,000 sq m. The building consists of a total of 10 floors, split equally between basement floors and upper floors. Retail areas are designed to surround two large internal open spaces to for optimal visibility, and a large waterfall divides the inner heart of the mall to two large piazzas. The majority of the roof is made of a translucent ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) tensile structure to enhance the penetration of natural light and supports the growth of specific indoor plants, reducing the need for artificial lighting, and allowing for efficient use of energy.

According to the current status of work on site, the finishing and MEP works stand at 43.4 per cent complete after works commenced on May 31, 2012. Façade works, which started on February 3, 2012 have reached 27 per cent. The conveying system works commenced on May 28, 2013 and have reached 77 per cent. And landscaping works have progressed to 35 per cent after commencing on May 28, 2013.

Work fast in progress on the Abdali Mall.

Work fast in progress on the Abdali Mall.

“As per the overall construction master programme, the latest end date of construction works is December 2014. This reflects an overall actual progress percentage of 69.5 per cent,” says Al Mattar.

In other statistics, the total earth works carried out is 600,000 sq m; total concrete work, 41, 500 sq m; total formwork, 136,484 sq m; total reinforcing steel bars, 5,194 tonnes; and total tendon cables used are 635 tonnes. A peak manpower of 650 persons remains at work on site.

Founded in 1973 in Kuwait, URC is the Middle East’s leading real estate developer with total assets KD491 million ($1.74 billion) as of June 30, 2014. The majority shareholder in the company is Kuwait Projects Holding Company (Kipco), one of the largest and most diversified holding companies in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region with consolidated assets of $32.3 billion as of June 30, 2014.

URC’s portfolio includes a diverse mix of commercial, retail, hospitality, residential, as well as mixed-use developments in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. Projects currently under development include Aswar Residences in New Cairo, Egypt which consists of a gated, 75-villa community; Junoot Resort, an eco-friendly resort in Shuwaimiyah, Oman; Raouche View at 1090, an upscale residential building in Raouche, Lebanon; and its latest project Assoufid, a luxury high-end golf course and master development located in Marrakech, Morocco. Other projects include Kipco Tower, Saleh Shehab Resort, and The Marina in Kuwait.

“Our core objective at URC is to deliver world-class developments that create value for all stakeholders: clients, shareholders, communities, and end users. We strive to deliver innovative and quality projects, by identifying opportunities to overseeing the design and development process, to executing sales and leasing activities,” says Al Mattar.

“We have been successful in realising our objectives by building lasting relationships with our clients, following a team-based approach and fostering open communication at all levels throughout the company. URC’s corporate culture is based on a commitment to professionalism, transparency, and integrity. 2013 marked URC’s 40th anniversary and finds us well positioned to continue our successful business strategies well into the future,” he adds.

A hallmark of URC’s projects is their prime location in each of their respective cities.

“We understand our responsibility as a developer, which is the reason behind URC’s outlook for methods that integrate environmental and social concerns into our development processes,” says Al Mattar.