• MAF plans two malls including kingdom's largest in the capital
  • Construction of first phase to start next year, end in 2022

Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC plans to spend 14 billion riyals ($3.7 billion) building two malls in Saudi Arabia, including one in Riyadh with its own indoor ski slope.

The Mall of Saudi in the capital will be the nation’s largest shopping and entertainment complex covering 866,000 square meters (9.3 million square feet), the company said in a statement Monday. Aside from shops and restaurants, the project will include theaters, hotels, offices, homes and entertainment facilities. Construction of the first phase is set to start next year and will end in 2022.

“Saudi Arabia has the right fundamentals for the long-term,” Alain Bejjani, chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim, said in an interview. “It has a lot of resources, it has a very strong and declared will to diversify its economy and it also has a plan for reforms and to increase the contribution of private sector.”

Construction of the projects will be funded through a mix of equity and Islamic debt, Bejjani said.

Shopping centers are booming in Saudi Arabia because malls serve as entertainment destinations. Riyadh is expected to add 565,000 square meters (6.1 million square feet) of gross leasable space through 2017, while the coastal city of Jeddah is set to complete 383,000 square meters, broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said in December.

Majid Al Futtaim’s second mall will be built east of Riyadh and will include more than 112,000 square meters of leasable space including 250 stores, the company said. It will be completed in 2018. Once finished, the two malls are expected to employ more than 10,000 people.

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