The Yas Island development. The Yas Island development.

Construction work on the much-delayed Yas Mall project in Abu Dhabi is imminent, according to developers Aldar Properties.

The builder said in its May Progress Update posted on its website that it is set to award the construction contract in June.

"Since January, construction contract bids have been received, with a contract award scheduled for mid-June 2011," the developer said.
But the size of Abu Dhabi's new shopping mall has been further reduced, according to the report.

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The gross leasable retail space in Yas Mall is given as 230,000 sq m in the May Progress Update posted on the website of the Abu Dhabi builder.

The original plan for the shopping centre included retail space of 300,000 sq m. That was cut to 250,000 sq m last year and then in March, it was reduced again to 235,000 sq m.

The latest size reduction will see less than 500 shops occupying the shopping mall, compared to the 700-plus announced in the original plan.

The report said the mall would house "over 400 stores, including hypermarket, restaurants, food court, multiplex cinema and family entertainment centre".

The shopping mall project, which was launched in late 2008, originally was slated for completion this year but the impact of the global slowdown has resulted in a number of delays.

The project is now set to open in late 2012 or early 2013.

The revision of Aldar's plans comes as Abu Dhabi's retail space is set to boom.

A report by Cushman & Wakefield earlier this year said the UAE capital is expected to double its retail offering to almost 1.8 million sq m by 2015.

Aldar announced last year that it had signed a long term year lease agreement with Retail Arabia to develop the first Géant hypermarket in Abu Dhabi as part of Yas Mall.

It said Géant Hypermarket will be spread over an area of more than 16,000 sq m, and will stock and sell over 65,000 products.

Aldar, the city’s largest real-estate developer by market value, received a $5.2bn bailout from the government in the first quarter, but managed to return to profit after the sale of assets including the Ferrari World theme park.

The builder of the Yas Marina Formula One circuit posted a first-quarter net profit of AED189.1m ($51.50m) compared with a loss of AED314.2 min the same period last year.