Mall or nothing
While vacancy rates at Dubai’s shopping malls have reached their highest ever level, Abu Dhabi ploughs on with plans to build several malls—are we headed for a disasterous déjà vu?
January 30, 2011 5:44 by Eva Fernandes
The real impact of the global downturn took a while to show itself in Dubai; while the rest of the world was complaining about unemployment, companies going bust, and banks going bankrupt, we here in Sunny Dubai were in a state of denial. At least, we were until the Dubai World bomb was dropped on us a year after recession struck the rest of the world.
But, being gluttons for misery, before we even knew of those disastrous debt problems we really had, people in Dubai were eagerly looking around town for signs that the recession had reached us. A good day on the roads? Recession! Everyone has left the country and now it is easy to get through traffic. Hailing a taxi in ten minutes? Recession! Late 2008, Kipp even once spoke to a toilet cleaner who convinced us there aren’t as many people using toilets as a result of the recession.
But three years on, and who knows how many redundancies later, it seems those in Dubai shouldn’t have been so impatient to see the downturn signs. There is now plenty to be seen, and though it is hard to pick our favorite symbol of the current gloomy economic times, one of the worst effects can be seen in malls. At first there were ridiculous sales on for extended periods of time, then there just weren’t any people in the shops, and now, it would seem there just aren’t as many shops in the malls.
According to the latest study from property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle, vacancy rates in Dubai’s shopping malls are at their highest level in recent years. How high you ask? Though the average vacancy rates lie at a reasonable 5 to 10 percent, current rates are up to a whopping 30 percent.
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