Press Release

April 06, 2011

Mubadala Partners With Gulf Related For Signature Retail Destination On Sowwah Island

Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality (‘MREH’) today announced it has entered into a joint venture (JV) with Gulf Related, a regional real estate development company.  The new JV has been formed to develop, lease, and operate ‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ a 33,000 square meter of Gross Leasable Area (355,000 sqft)  signature retail and dining concept in Sowwah Square, the premium commercial real estate development located at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District (CBD) on Sowwah Island.

Scheduled to open in late 2012, The Galleria at Sowwah Square will be a vibrant new shopping and dining 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.

‘The Galleria at Sowwah Square’ 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.

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 dining 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.

Gulf Related, formed in 2009 is 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.

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 luxury hotel flags, Grade-A office space unparalleled in the region and Abu Dhabi’s new Securities Exchange.

He added, “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.”

The new joint venture will create a development that will set a benchmark for retail 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 183,000 leasable square meters (2 million sqft) of Grade-A office space with accommodation for over 10,000 occupants.

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 intensely studying regional development opportunities for the last year and have singled out this development 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.

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 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 residential, retail, leisure, hotel and commercial district with a working population of 75,000 and home to 30,000 residents, living an urban lifestyle enlivened by everything the modern city dweller demands in a contemporary cityscape.