McArthur + Company contracted for Palestine's largest ever shopping mall

06 June 2018

The soon to be completed, 60,000 square metre mall in the Palestinian city of Ramallah is set to be one of the most impressive in the Middle East. The Lacasa Holdings designed mall will boast 160 retail units as well as five anchor stores, a hypermarket, 21 food and beverage (F&B) outlets, a food court, a children’s play area, a ball room, an ice rink, a cinema, and an indoor skydiving chamber.

The UAE-based retail consultancy and shopping centre specialists McArthur + Company have been announced as advisors to the new Lacasa construction. The firm will provide design consultancy and retail-mix advisory services during the construction phase and upon completion will transition into management and operations roles.

The shopping centre will be named the Mall of Palestine according to Emad Jaber, the chairman of the board of the Dubai-based Lacasa. Commenting on the appointment of McArthur + Company, Jaber said; “We’re thrilled to have McArthur + Company on board as our retail consultants and operators… The consultancy’s portfolio and service offerings are impressive, and we look forward to working with them over the next year to create an iconic landmark and an unparalleled retail experience for our customers.”

McArthur and Company is an international retail consulting firm which has extensive experience throughout the Middle East. Headed by Phil McArthur, the firm delivers tailor-made shopping experiences to its clients in both the region and beyond, having previously worked on projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

McArthur + Company scores contract for Palestine mall development in Ramallah

The successful completion of the Mall of Palestine will be a pillar for attracting foreign investment to Palestine according to Jaber. “Our success in our homeland is not only a personal investment success, rather it is much more than that; it is the success of our people in building on their land despite the occupation,” he said.

“It is also a message to all expatriate businessmen and our Arab brothers that Palestine is a fertile ground for investment projects. With our work and presence, we do away with the two prevailing ideas that the political and security situation at home prevents any opportunities for investment, or that the market cannot handle such projects.”

“Investing in my homeland Palestine is one of my top priorities and interests,” he added. “I started investing here in 2007 with small family business and then my investment expanded to include distinguished apartment projects. Currently we are building the largest commercial project, which is the Mall of Palestine, considered one of the largest company projects in the Middle East.”

Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in Dubai

18 April 2019

The Middle East branch of international construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has launched a new innovation hub in Dubai

Following the appointment of ex-Ramboll exec Abdulmajid Karanouhas as its Head of Interdisciplinary Design & Innovation earlier this year to spearhead the firm’s R&D drive in the Middle East, the local branch of German-origin construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has now launched a new innovation hub in Dubai – designed as a collaborative environment to serve both external start-ups and its own employees.

“It has always been part of our corporate culture to promote our own ideas and initiatives,” said Drees & Sommer executive board member Steffen Szeidl. “Increasingly, digital transformation and our clients are calling for completely new and disruptive business models. The Innovation Centre is one of our responses to these challenges. All 3,200 staff members can upload their ideas virtually.”

According to Szeidl, from there, promising concepts and solutions addressing identified market gaps in areas such as planning, construction and operations will be developed, funded and localised for any market which sees the potential. He continues: “Adding the Dubai innovation hub emphasises our status as a global innovation company by being one of the few companies doing R&D in this region.”Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in DubaiLocally established in 2003, Drees & Sommer was founded close to 50 years ago in Stuttgart, since growing to include some 40 offices worldwide, with its global headcount of 3,200 professionals generating revenues upwards of $430 million in 2017. The firm’s offerings span the gamut of real estate and infrastructure requirements, delivered according to its ‘blue way’, which takes into account economic, functionality, and ecological aspects together.

This, for Drees & Sommer, is an important point in the regional context.  “There is a huge demand in this market for contextual solutions as most models and systems are imported from abroad with little to no adaptation to the local culture, economy, and environment,” explains Karanouh. “As a consequence of this approach, we are facing major challenges related to user-comfort, efficiency, manageability, durability, and overall sustainability and feasibility of the built environment in the region.”

Accordingly, the firm has tailored each of its innovation hubs rolled out so far across the world to drive specific initiatives. In Aachen, Germany’s ‘Silicon Valley’, for example, there is a focus on customised smart buildings, IoT product testing and cyber-security, while the firm’s Stuttgart hub focuses on start-ups and processes and its Berlin one on smart cities and smart quarters. The Netherlands hub meanwhile focuses on wellbeing and sustainable innovation.

Karanouh: “The innovation hub brings together specialists of various disciplines from across the industry as a single interdisciplinary team that advises clients from early feasibility studies all the way to operation and revitalisation of buildings to maximise comfort, efficiency, sustainability, return of investment and overall value. The platform allows for brainstorming ideas, identifying market gaps and needs, adapting existing solutions or/and developing new solutions tailored to the local market and environment.”