Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 September, 2014: wasl properties, one of the largest real estate companies in Dubai and a subsidiary of wasl Asset Management, has announced the lease of 98% of the available retail units in the wasl district Souq. The Souq, part of phase one of the mixed-use heritage project, saw the majority of shops leased by retail customers in less than two months since the release, with the rest expected to be snapped up soon on account of high demand.
Zainab Mohammed, CEO Property Management, Marketing & Communications at wasl said: "The Souq is the focal point of the wasl district project and we are delighted that it has been met with positive demand by retailers which reflects the increasing growth in demand for retail and commercial space in Dubai. The Souq has all the factors that contribute to the success of the retailers, appealing to the public and offering residences, offices and a hotel, all in one location making it a truly unique shopping destination.”
The concept of wasl district is to evoke the spirit of historic Dubai. Located in the busy Naif area of Deira, the heart of old Dubai, the mixed-use development features 201 shops spanning a total surface area of 55,000 square feet. Approximately 195 of which were leased out so far. The overall project houses residential apartments, office buildings, serviced apartments and a hotel, all styled in traditional architecture to celebrate the culture and roots of the city.
Phase one of wasl district, which comprises the Souq, has been completed in Q1 2014 while leasing commenced in Q2. Phase two of the project is expected to be completed in 2017. Valued at AED 1.2 billion, wasl district is considered a significant project in the redevelopment of the older areas of Dubai.
Immediately following the announcement of the availability of retail space, wasl properties received a tremendous amount of inquiries from across the spectrum of retailers in the UAE. Retail tenants are looking forward to taking advantage of the unique and unprecedented features of the project.
There has been growing demand for retail space over the past few years, reflecting the promising economic prospects of Dubai in particular and the UAE in general. wasl properties expects the few remaining retail outlets in the Souq to be leased out before it is open to the public in the next few months.
"The area will undoubtedly see tremendous foot-fall from shoppers and visitors. Retailers will be pleased to set up shop in the commercial heart of the vibrant city of Dubai,” Zainab Mohammed added.
The Souq consists of four main clusters surrounding the Al Maktoum Hospital Museum; each named after an element synonymous with traditional Emirati culture. Lulu cluster contains 45 shops selling fashion items such as textiles, fabrics and carpets. Aptly named Zaffaran cluster includes 31 shops that sell Arabic spices, nuts and dried fruit as well as watches, ladies’ garments, leather items and electronics.
Oud cluster eponymously houses oud and perfume shops, abayas, ladies garments and tailoring and embroidery services and contains 64 retail units, while the Talli cluster comprises 54 retail units that are being leased to to F&B operators; restaurants and coffee shops, as well as general trading companies selling jewelry, gems and stones, handcrafts and home appliances. The entrance block, Amber houses shops that sell gifts, souvenirs, mementos, art, antiques, watches, gloves, and accessories.
Each cluster of the Souq features a central courtyard dotted with retail outlets and evokes the atmosphere of a traditional Dubai market.
The retail outlets will offer unique products and items celebrating Dubai’s heritage and culture and appeals to those shoppers seeking an authentic traditional Emirati atmosphere.
Phase two of wasl district will feature 356 residential units, including 115 furnished luxury apartments. It will also house 53 offices, 38 retail outlets and a 196-room 4-star Hyatt Place hotel managed by renowned hotel company Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Phase two will continue with the theme of showcasing traditional Emirati architecture and will be characterised by narrow, winding sikkas or alleyways that lead onto picturesque courtyards containing water features. Supported by a wide range of restaurants and other amenities, such as a swimming pool, sports club and security services in line with Dubai’s vision to develop the emirate’s hospitality and tourism industries.
The Souq aims to serve as a tourist destination, a heritage landmark and a business hub expected to be visited by large numbers of tourists and residents alike.
wasl district’s Souq is playing a number of different roles in the fabric of the city. It has contributed to rejuvenating the Al Maktoum area of Deira and will form a stunning showcase for the city providing an unrivalled opportunity for the anticipated millions of visitors to discover the traditional identity of Dubai and gain an insight into how life was like here before the city’s rapid urbanisation.
Moreover, the successful completion of this project demonstrates the accuracy of the results of many field studies and market research carried out by wasl properties before launching of the project. The project meets the needs and requirements expected by investors and retailers.
“This project is considered the fruit of wasl’s vast experience in the fields of real estate development and management, in addition to its deep understanding of the country’s history and heritage,” Zainab Mohammed said. “In this project, we have been very keen to revive Dubai’s traditional character and foster its architectural identity that has been optimally embodied in this Souq. The result was a perfect picture as a result of the comprehensive field studies and research that helped us create an ideal environment,” she concluded.