The Doha Festival City, poised as 'the largest mall in the country' slated for its soft opening on April 5, places Qatar’s appeal to investors under the global spotlight, an official has said.
Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Company (Basrec) CEO Kareem Shamma said the project, which has a development cost of over QR6bn, highlights Qatar as “an extremely attractive market” for investors.
Basrec is the parent company and owner of Doha Festival City and comprises four shareholders, Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank, Aqar Real Estate Investment Company, and a private Qatari investor.
Speaking to reporters, Shamma said: “We believe foreign investment and retail sectors will continue to stay strong and that the 2017 forecast is positive. From the early planning phase, we had in mind the Qatar National Vision 2030 and have worked closely with the Qatar government to ensure we are aligned with its long-term strategy to diversify the economy and increase tourism.
“Qatar is a growing market, and with the many billions being invested in infrastructure projects surrounding Doha Festival City, we are already a part of this growth. So we must thank the government for its support to date and going forward,” he stressed.
Shamma said Doha Festival City houses 45,000sqm of leisure space that will include a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor entertainment zone, including four innovative theme parks “with many attractions never seen before in the region.”
“The project, at almost 1km in length, offers almost 4km of corridors in which to explore the entertainment, retail and dining options on offer. Doha Festival City will be home to more than 500 stores with over 100 dining outlets, including a 3km ‘Outdoor Leisure Trail’ for running, walking, or mountain biking, surrounding the entire project,” he said.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Doha Festival City general manager Trevor Michael Hill told Gulf Times almost 50% of the mall’s retail outlets and almost majority of the food and beverage destinations will be open on the April 5 opening.
Hill said Doha Festival City, which is spread out over a total site area of 433,000sqm, has an expected footfall of 1.6mn visitors each month. The mall will be home new brands and concepts, including the largest Monoprix Hypermarket in the world, Qatar’s “first and only” Harvey Nichols department store, and the first ACE Hardware in Qatar, among others.
Shamma also described Doha Festival City as a “smart mall,” with state-of-the-art technologies like ‘digital wayfinders’ and a smart parking system connected via the mall’s free Wi-Fi.
Michael Beggs, development director at Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate, said sustainability and efficiency “are major factors” in the design and construction of the project.
“The Ministry of Municipality and Environment require developers in Qatar to comply with GSAS (Global Sustainability Assessment System), a green building certification system, which provides a star rating of the development. The more stars the higher the green building rating. Doha Festival City is set to achieve a three star rating,” he said.
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