Press Releases

Mubadala and Gulf Related announce joint venture to develop and operate 'The Galleria at Sowwah Square, ' offering 355,000 SF GLA of luxury retailing and a destination restaurant collection

Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality (“MREH”), a business unit of Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala) and developer of Sowwah Island, and Gulf Related, a regional real estate development firm, today announced the launch of a joint venture to develop, lease and operate ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’. With approximately 355,000 square-feet of gross leasable area of retail and restaurants at Sowwah Square, ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ will be the centerpiece of the Sowwah Square and will set a new benchmark for shopping and dining in the region.

‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ will capitalize on the adjacent five-star Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Sowwah Square and Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotels, the region’s foremost healthcare facility, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, and approximately 2 million leasable square feet of class A office space to be occupied by over ten thousand employees. ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ is scheduled for completion and opening in late 2012.

The development represents the inaugural project for Gulf Related, formed in 2009 as a partnership between Gulf Capital, one of the Middle East’s leading alternative asset management firms; and Related Companies, one of the largest private real estate development and investment firms in the United States and developers of New York’s landmark Time Warner Center and West Palm Beach’s dynamic CityPlace.
Mubadala was established and is owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi. It is a catalyst for the economic diversification of the Capital and the company’s strategy is built on the management of partnerships and long-term, capital-intensive investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. A critical component of Mubadala’s broader mission, MREH is responsible for overseeing projects that are part of the development plans of Abu Dhabi and that help drive the local tourism sector.

Peter Wilding, Executive Director of Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality, commented: “We are delighted to welcome another well respected partner, Gulf Related, to the Sowwah Square project. Over the past few months both our teams have worked closely together to ensure that ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ delivers a unique and exciting retail and F&B experience for Abu Dhabi.”

He added, “Sowwah Square is rapidly establishing itself within the region and internationally as the heart of Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District and Gulf Related’s best-in-class expertise and brand relationships will ensure that the office and hotel community, Sowwah Island’s residents and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a dynamic atmosphere within a unique retail and F&B destination at Sowwah Square.”

‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ will be a vibrant new shopping, dining and entertainment destination with a full range of luxury to mid-market international retail offerings and internationally branded food and beverage outlets. This scheme has already generated significant interest from the international retail and restaurant communities. It has been designed with a focus on quality and cutting edge design, a handcrafted tenant mix and well-conceived parking options which include dedicated parking as well as VIP and valet parking.

A stunning sculptural atrium roof will be the highlight of the design, providing an iconic image for the new center with spectacular views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline. Access to all project components will reflect a truly mixed-use strategy offering the same level of premium quality service offered to the blue chip tenants of the four Sowwah Square commercial towers. ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ conveniently integrates shopping, dining, hotels, parking, cafes, and public spaces and is directly accessible from all four commercial towers.

Kenneth A. Himmel, Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related and President and CEO of Related Urban said, “ ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ offers Abu Dhabi’s most compelling opportunity to create a distinct shopping and dining destination on the waterfront as part of a dynamic mixed-use environment that will include world-class hotel flags, class-A office space unparalleled in the region and Abu Dhabi’s new Securities Exchange. Related Companies has created some of the most recognizable and celebrated mixed-use developments in the United States. We are excited to bring our expertise to Abu Dhabi through our partnership with Mubadala, leverage our strong European and U.S. retail, restaurant, and entertainment relationships, and to be a part of such a prestigious and promising development.”

Dr. Karim El Solh, Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related and CEO of Gulf Capital said, “We are very pleased that the inaugural development and investment project for Gulf Related in the region will be ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’. This is a highly visible and promising project and reflects the type of high-end developments Gulf Related will be pursuing in the Middle East. We have been studying intensely regional development opportunities for the last year and have singled this development out as one of the most promising and commercially viable projects in the current environment. We look forward to continuing and expanding our successful working relationship with Mubadala on this and other projects.”

Gulf Related has an exclusive leasing and marketing partnership in the Middle East region with Marvin Traub Associates, a leading international retail consulting firm with a global reach. Marvin Traub Associates has been instrumental in launching brands in the Middle East for the past eight years, and recently helped orchestrate the opening of Bloomingdale’s in Dubai Mall, currently the largest upscale department store in the region and has been leading the leasing effort for The Galleria at Sowwah Square. Sowwah Island is a world class 114 hectare mixed-use development in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has been designated by the emirate's Urban Planning Council to be home to the capital's new Central Business District (CBD) for its strategic position at the focal point of the city's business, cultural and residential areas. When complete, Sowwah Island will be a thriving, high-density district modeled on the world's leading mixed-use CBDs.

Designed to the highest international standards, Sowwah Island will feature a dynamic combination of premium commercial and residential clusters, luxury business hotels, comprehensive retail, medical facilities, public amenities, landscaped parks and pedestrian-friendly open spaces. It will also feature an integrated and multi-layered transport network to ensure efficient, convenient access from all areas of Abu Dhabi, including 13 new bridges and a mass transit system with both light and heavy rail.

Sowwah Island will have a working population of 75,000 and will be home to 30,000 residents, living an urban lifestyle enlivened by everything the modern city dweller demands in a contemporary cityscape. The announcement of Sowwah Square represents Gulf Related’s introductory project in the region following a period of intense due diligence. Gulf Related’s focus is primarily residential and large, high-end mixed-use real estate developments in the Gulf.