The 9th Category

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), there are 8 categories for modern shopping centers (Super Regional, Regional, Community centers, Neighborhood centers, Fashion, Themed, Power, and Outlet). However, we think that there is still room for one more category in the list.

In the process of crafting the tenant mix, which is the heart of any shopping center, two key elements are among the most important factors; “catchment area” and “customer profile”.

The 9th category that I’m willing to talk about has very unique characteristics influenced by its location. In such case, the mall is usually not the main attraction as it sides a place engraved in the hearts of 1.6 billion followers around the world who wish to visit it, which makes the mall a category by its own.

Those locations are the ones around the holy places in Makkah in Madinah, where the catchment area can’t be counted by radius in kilometers because the whole wide world is your catchment. Additionally, in such circumstance, customer profile changes so rapidly as a result of the possibility of all the spectrum of classes of living human beings who are expected to visit these holy places.

Knowing that the intention for those guests are for higher purposes and not necessarily for shopping or leisure, the tenant mix should be delicately adjusted to complement the guest’s journey. Such services would offer the needed shopping experience and provide atmospheric matching services and leisure to the community inside the destination.

Jabal Omar Development Company (JODC) is this largest real-estate developer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia developing Jabal Omar project in Makkah. Occupying a 2.6M sqm buildup area in 230K sqm land in a unique destination with all the offering from 40 high-rise towers, 24 international hotels, 1000 commercial units 100K sqm GLA, 250 Penthouses, villas, apartments, and 5K carparks, it represents the preferred community around the Holy Haram in Makkah.

We in Sahat (JODC subsidiary) manage the shopping centers in this mega project, we call ourselves “Innovative Property Management Company”. We believe that we are in the right place and the right time to create the 9th category and manage it. Knowing the Saudi government’s 2030 vision plan to host 30 million visitors to Makkah and Madinah, and also knowing the uniqueness of Jabal Omar project and what it can offer in hospitality, retail, F&B to provide an experience to match a once-in-a-lifetime journey for many people, we want to contribute in making their experience an everlasting memory, and to provide an opportunity for the retailers to bring on their best.


-Eng. Wail Balkhair