By Shereen Shabnam
We meet with Italian born Marcello Larizza, currently working with Line Investments & Property LLC at the RECON MENA 2017.
Marcello has over 20 years experience in the Shopping Center Industry conducting feasibility studies, developing, launching and managing Shopping Malls, Factory Outlet Villages and Airports with leading property developers and owners in Europe and Middle East.
His expertise lies in the area of Development, Leasing and Management with a deep knowledge in Shopping Mall start-up phase. Marcello’s current scope of work as General Manager sees him in charge of the development of 3 new malls – in Silicon Oasis, Sharjah and in UAQ. He tells us more on the latest Line Investments projects.
Let us know about Line Investments & Property and your experience with Recon?
Line Investments & Property L.L.C, a shopping mall and mixed-use development and management division of the Abu Dhabi based Lulu Group International oversees the operations of an impressive line-up of malls in the Middle East Countries. We take projects from concept stage, sourcing strategic locations, development, marketing as well as management of the projects in their portfolio, offering full 360 degree retail solutions. We have been part of Recon for a few years now and it is a great place for us to network.
Which of your projects are currently under construction?
The Mall of Umm Al Quwain is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. The construction contract for the mall in Sharjah has been awarded to Al Qabda Global Building Contracting and the work has started this year and we expect the project to be ready in 2019.
Which projects will you be highlighting this year at recon Middle East?
Yes, we will be highlighting the Mall in Sharjah, Mall of Umm Al Quwain and the Mall in Silicon Oasis.
What is the status of the Mall of Umm Al Quwain?
Eighty percent of Mall of Umm Al Quwain is leased and set to change the retail landscape of the Emirate with a variety of retail outlets, coffee shops and a food court with different dining options. Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018.
Tell us a bit about the Mall in Silicon Oasis?
It is designed as a premium retail and leisure destination with a comprehensive retail mix, ample parking spaces and is a one-stop solution to service the needs of the neighborhood patrons. The primary trade area includes a selection of several affluent residential communities like Nad Al Shiba, the villa, Al Barari, Warqaa 2-5, Arabian ranches, and extends to most of Dubai and Sharjah due to its location on the intersection of Dubai’s two main arteries (MBZ & Dubai-Al Ain road). It offers a diverse range of dining options with casual dining restaurants and Cafes in addition to the food court.
Are there any updates about the community mall in Sharjah?
The Mall in Sharjah offers a premium F&B, leisure and entertainment experience with a Hypermarket, Department store, a cinema plus a Family Entertainment Centre. The most unique feature will be the food street experience that along with the cinema and Family Entertainment Centre will become a leisure destination for Sharjah community. We will have over 1,800 parking spaces to support the project.
How much retail GLA do we expect to see from you in terms of confirmed projects?
This year we are announcing 145,502 GLA for the UAE – naturally this will change when we get new projects in 2018 under our portfolio
How has the response been from potential retailers to the community malls?
The next mall we will be opening in Umm Al Quwain has had great response hence the huge demand from retailers leading to almost all the spaces being confirmed. We are shortly finalising the leasing areas the other upcoming malls.