(MENAFN - Arab News) Mall of Arabia, which aims to be a destination center for families, both for shopping and recreation, opened in north Jeddah, near King Abdul Aziz International Airport, on Saturday night.
"With its area spanning 25,000 sq m., this is the largest mark in the city," Fawaz Al-Hokair, president of Fawaz Al-Hokair Group, who opened the mall, told Arab News. "We have worked hard to built commercial centers that offer a new culture and concept in the marketing of trademarks across the region. With its traditional souk, a snow village, two international hotels, a French hypermarket, a food court and coffee shops, this project, which is being completed in two phases, is aimed to become a destination mall," he added.
"The new concept mall is a benchmark in 21st century shopping and its creation is due to the economic dynamism witnessed in the city and elsewhere in the province," he said.
The double storied mall, with the basement providing parking spaces for more than 3,000 cars, is characterized by it spacious surfaces and beautifully conceived Arabic design that blends tradition with modernity.
The mall displays some of the finest international brands through 330 outlets, most of them dealing in fashion and clothing that reflect new trends. The mall includes a wide range of fast-food centers as well as family restaurants, which have been selected to offer families an ideal ambiance and atmosphere.
It also offers entertainment and leisure facilities on each floor. It has playing areas for children. The snow village is described as the first of its kind, where visitors can enjoy snow in the middle of summer. Also projected at the mall are two hotels providing rooms and apartments. The project of hotels will be ready in the mall's second phase by 2010. These are aimed at serving the interests of Umrah visitors.
The souk has a diversity of shops where gold, jewels, Arabian cloaks, perfumes, spices, musical instruments and incense are on offer.
The project was created from the group's vision, which always seeks to grow the local economy at service and marketing levels.
The mall is part of a chain of commercial centers managed and marketed by Arabian Centers, a subsidiary of Al-Hokair Group. "Arabian Centers is specialized in operating and managing commercial centers as well as offering support services and operations," said its Chief Leasing Officer Saad Al-Kathiri.
It currently owns and manages 13 commercial centers that host more than 500 international and national brands, and more than one million shoppers per week visit them.
"The Mall of Arabia comes within an ambitious development strategy of Arabian Centers that consists of building large commercial centers in the main cities of the Kingdom and elsewhere in the region," he added.