Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi’s up and coming entertainment, dining and shopping destination, has received the go-ahead for its concept plans, representing a significant milestone for the $1-billion project and keeps it on plan to open in 2018.

The approval comes from Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), just weeks after the council gave the go-ahead for the Reem Island’s integrated concept masterplan.

Reem Mall forms a significant element of the overall vision for Reem Island, which will eventually become home for more than 200,000 residents.

Shane Eldstrom, the vice-president Development of NREC says: “The UPC approval represents a major milestone in the development of Reem Mall, allowing the project to move closer to the construction phase. Subject to all required permits, we look forward to breaking ground on site this year.”

Once completed, Reem Mall – being developed by the National Real Estate Company (NREC) in partnership with United Projects for Aviation Services Company (UPAC) – will deliver 2 million sq ft of retail, leisure, and dining and entertainment choices with some 450 stores including 85 food and beverage outlets, and a range of family-focused entertainment offerings. Under the agreement, UPAC will invest up to $224 million in the project through its real estate subsidiary, Al Arfaj Real Estate Company.

Established in Kuwait in 1973, NREC has grown into one of the largest real estate companies in the region with ventures across the Middle East and North Africa. It has assets and capital of $1.9 billion and manages 80 million sq ft of land.

The organisation houses subsidiaries and entities across a range of countries including the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya. Its portfolio of projects completed or under development, includes office space, mixed-use centres, industrial parks, residential communities and super-regional malls.

UPAC, on the other hand, is one of Kuwait’s leading real estate management companies, managing more than 24,000 sq m of commercial space at the Kuwait International Airport, Sheikh Saad Terminal and other prominent locations within the country.