Kuwait’s Tamdeen Group is serving up retail with a brand new component — a sporting arena. The developer on Monday confirmed that a 7,600-seater tennis stadium with two prime arenas will have pride of place at the massive expansion of the 360 Mall, one of Kuwait’s happening shopping and entertainment destinations. The project, set to commence next month, is looking to completion in 2019.
And more in keeping with the way retail and hospitality have been mixed into the Gulf’s mall developments in the last 15 years, the expansion will also create a 261-room hotel, which will be ready by 2020.Once complete, the extension — which will add 40,000 square metres — is expected to increase footfall by at least 30 per cent to over 18 million visitors.“I think the sport and retail mix is being attempted for the first time in the world — and I see it as a perfect blend,” said Mohammad Jasem Khalid Al Marzouq, Chairman of Tamdeen Group, said in a phone interview to Gulf News. “Anything that creates a bigger, deeper and wider offering will be better for the mall going forward.“The tennis complex will bring in its own audience and when they want to move around, it’s natural they will do so at the mall.“I have been very impressed with the aesthetic way the Aquarium was blended into the The Dubai Mall and created that Wow effect. It helped the [Dubai] Mall offer a different experience, and that’s something similar we are recreating at 360 Mall.”The tennis complex, complete with its own academy and outdoor courts, will take up space adjacent to the existing 360 Mall. The plot is owned by the Kuwait Tennis Federation, which, in fact, had tasked another developer to create something out of it in 2004. That did not go anywhere, and in the meantime, the Tamdeen Group opened 360 Mall in 2009.For Tamdeen to be called in to do the needful for the tennis complex is a most logical progression, said Al Marzouq. “It’s the king of sport and once the complex is built, we want to place Kuwait on the global tennis map. It shouldn’t have any problem playing host to high-profile international tournaments.”Through the next three years until completion, the promoters forecast minimal disruption of visitor flow to the existing mall. The 360 Mall is anchored at the higher end of the retailing spectrum and been among the top shopping destinations in the Gulf state since its opening.“We will be increasing the retail area to 120,000 square metres and there will be space for more anchor stores as well as F&B,” said Al Marzouq. “The actual leasing programme will start only a year before the completion date, which means we get into that activity by 2018 or thereabouts.”Earlier this year, the Tamdeen Group announced a greenfield mixed-use development, the Al Khiran, with a waterfront location on the outskirts of Kuwait City and which would also feature an outlet mall.On whether there might be a need to be more realistic with new project activity, Al Marzouq said: “In fact, the pressure from being in a low oil price environment will help us. I believe the time is just right for Kuwait’s private sector to engage in more activity than what would have been the case in a high oil price situation, when the government had ample resources of its own for all its plans.”
Courtesy of Gulf News.