Dubai-headquartered Al-Futtaim group, a leading diversified conglomerate operating through 100 companies across 30 markets, has signed a joint venture agreement with a tripartite consortium with Moroccan and Portuguese entities to drive the development of one of the region’s biggest superregional retail and leisure destinations.
Al-Futtaim and Marjane Holding, Morocco’s leading developer of retail destinations and modern retail will jointly lead Zenata Commercial Project S.A. joint venture which also includes international shopping centre specialist Sonae Sierra, owner of 49 shopping centres and responsible for the management of 85 malls and Société d’Aménagement Zenata, a subsidiary of CDG group in charge of the design and land development of Zenata New City. CDG group is a public financial institution and the country’s leading domestic institutional investor.
Mr Omar Al-Futtaim, Vice Chairman, Al-Futtaim group, and Mr Mohamed Lamrani, President of Marjane Holding, signed the agreement during a ceremony held in Casablanca and attended by officials of the joint venture partners including Saleh Al Homaizi, Chairman of Homaizi Group, IKEA’s Morroco franchisee , José Mena – Director, EMEA Services, Developments/New Business/Expansion and Mohammed Amine El Hajhouj, Head of SAZ.
Designed to span a total gross leasable area (GLA) of 120,000 square metres, the mall will spring out at the heart of the First Development Zone of Zenata Eco-city, totalling 800 hectare of land strategically located on the eastern border of Casablanca, on the fringes of the Casa-Rabat highway, the country’s busiest road artery. The mall is one of four high value-added activities to be developed within Zenata Eco-City.
The mall will be anchored by market-entrant IKEA as the globally renowned Swedish furniture retailer will open for business in 2015.
By 2017, the two-level mall will comprise the 26,000 square-metre IKEA store, a 8,350 square-metre Marjane hypermarket, a 10,000 square-metre leisure and fun zone and a 3,400 square-metre cinema complex as well as a comprehensive portfolio of stores featuring apparel, cosmetics, electronics, household appliances and sports brands.
Eventually, the mall will straddle across Zenata Eco-City’s (1,830 ha) master-plan to become home to 300,000 inhabitants, as part of a strategic plan to reduce socio-economic unbalances between the East and West of Greater Casablanca and to raise the economic capital among great international metropolis.
“This is a major milestone for Al-Futtaim group’s inaugural foray into Morocco’s 32 million-strong market as we continue our regional expansion drive in the African continent,” said Omar Al Futtaim, Vice President, Al-Futtaim group. “With roughly 15% of the country’s total population concentrated in the immediate catchment area of this development, our investment promises to yield the right returns.”
“We have strong faith in this project as it will be developed in synergy with best-of-breed experts in the respective fields of retail space developers and operators.”
2013 has been a milestone year in Al-Futtaim group’s regional mall expansion strategy.
In November, Al-Futtaim inaugurated Cairo Festival City Mall anchored by IKEA Egypt, introducing the iconic Swedish brand to Africa. In Qatar it has completed phase one of Doha Festival City, which also includes Qatar’s first IKEA store whereas the group has also signed an MoU with local governmental entities in Oman for the development of the Sultanate’s biggest shopping mall, anchored by IKEA.
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