Dubai, the glitzy emirate known for its love of grandiose projects said it is now planning to build the biggest mall on the planet, the Mall of the World!
The world's first temperature-controlled city, Mall of the World, located along Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, occupying 48 million square feet, complete with theme park, theatres, five miles of covered streets and 100 hotels. It will also contain health resorts, a Celebration Steet modelled on the Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona and 'retail streets network' that will stretch over four-and-a-half miles. In fact, the ambitious emirate has dubbed the project a 'temperature-controlled pedestrian city'.
The shopping mall itself will occupy eight million square feet, housed below a glass dome, with other attractions extending beyond the central shopping area.The grand project is part of Dubai's bid to become a year-round tourism destination, despite soaring temperatures in summer that can reach nearly 50C.
The new mall, which will be a city-within-a-city, will be the emirate's chance to attract visitors even in the height of the summer, by providing a completely climate-controlled experience. The plan is to create a cultural area, with theatres hosting shows at West End and Broadway levels, as well as a network of streets that will be entirely climate controlled. The eight million square foot shopping centre will be housed under a dome, while the streets will also be covered so that tourists can shop without getting too hot in the relentless heat of the summer months.
In the cooler winter months, the dome will open, allowing people to shop in the fresh air, closing as the summer heats up.
It will also be a short drive to the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,717ft.
Sheikh Mohammad stated: 'Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism - tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all-year long."
'This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months.'
Dubai Holding, the developer owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said that the project "will comprise the largest indoor theme park in the world" under a glass dome that would be opened during winter.
The seven-kilometre (4.35 mile)-long promenades connecting the facilities would also be covered and air-conditioned during summer, it added.
Dubai hopes the "Mall of the World" can attract more than 180 million visitors each year.
United Arab Emirates is known for its numerous malls and many hotels, including the Dubai Mall, touted as the world's largest shopping, leisure and entertainment destination. It is also home to the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
Dubai has established itself as a global hub for air transport and transit trade, as well as a regional financial centre.
And it beat off opposition from Brazil, Russia and Turkey in November to win the right to host the World Expo trade fair in 2020.
The emirate's economy was hit in 2009 by the global financial crisis, but it has since made a strong comeback, thanks to growth in the trade, transport and tourism sectors.
The Philippines' SM Mall of Asia has 407,000 square meters of total floor area, while SM MegaMall has over 500,000 square meters of total floor area.
SM Prime, the country's largest mall operator, expects to have a network of 50 malls in the Philippines with a gross floor area of 6.6 million square meters by the end of 2014.
- With Agence France-Presse