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Dubai to Build Temperature-Controlled City, World's Largest Shopping Mall

By Terrell Johnson Published: Jul 9, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

Dubai's Mall of the World

An artist's depiction of the Dubai Cultural District theatres. (Courtesy Dubai Holding)


Dubai is planning to build a climate-controlled city under a giant glass dome that will house an 8-million-square-foot shopping mall, a Broadway-style entertainment district and what developers say will be the world's largest indoor theme park.

Plans for the project – which is designed to provide more options for the growing number of tourists visiting Dubai, especially during the emirate's sweltering summer months – were announced this weekend by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the vice president of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai.

“Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism,"
he said at a press conference, according to The National.

"Tourism is a key driver of our economy, and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long. This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months.”

When it is built, the city is expected to provide welcome relief from Dubai's blazing summer heat, when temperatures average around 104°F during the day and drop to only about 86°F at night. Sometimes they rise even higher -- Dubai notched its all-time high in July 2002 with a record 126°F.

While the cost and timeline for construction were not provided at this weekend's press conference by the project's developer, Dubai Holding, nevertheless they estimated that the new city would draw about 180 million people each year.

What will all those millions of people find when they get there? 

Here's what Dubai Holding says will await:

4.3 miles of "openable" temperature-controlled promenades

8-million-sq.-ft. "Mall of the World," part of a 48-million-sq.-ft. total project area

100 hotels, with 20,000 hotel rooms (including 25 hotels connected to the mall, and 75 hotels that can be reached via air-conditioned walkways)

20 apartment buildings

An event district that will hold 15,000 people, comparable to London's West End and New York's Broadway theater district

A 3-million-sq.-ft. "wellness district" for medical tourists, accessible by air-conditioned pedestrian paths

Tram network that covers all parts of the "Mall of the World"

Parking lots for 50,000 cars

All of the project's amenities will be connected by the 4.3-mile-long (7-kilometer) series of pedestrian promenades, which the developers say will be closed in the summer and opened up during the winter to guarantee comfortable temperatures year-round.

“The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible,"
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said at the press conference.

"This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision," he added.

Read more at Dubai Holding.

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