The construction work of the underground car park in front of the Sheraton Doha is nearing completion and the eagerly awaited facility is scheduled for a September-December opening, it is learnt.
The four-level parking lot, which is part of the Sheraton Park Project (SPP), can accommodate 2,800 cars. It will prove to be a boon to motorists who visit the West Bay area, which houses several ministries and offices but is always short of parking space.
According to Qatari Diar Vinci Construction (QDVC), the contractor for the SPP, besides the parking area, the project features a landscaped park, a 66 KV/11 KV substation and a tunnel below the Corniche road linking its car parks and the Doha Convention Centre. "It will also consist of seven hectares of public garden with landscaping and hardscape elements, children’s playground areas, cafes, restaurants and water features."
Another feature of the park is the electronic guiding system that will direct users to empty parking spots.
On Friday (June 12), hundreds of Filipinos celebrating the 117th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Iindependence at the Sheraton Hotel were the first motorists allowed to use the first level of the underground parking ahead of its formal opening.
A hotel staff privy to the Philippine Independence Day celebrations said the Sheraton management had requested the "authorities" for a “one-day use only” of the parking lot to accommodate some 2,000 guests on the day.
A staff at the site Saturday said no further orders have been given to them to allow motorists to use the underground parking facility , even if most of the work has been completed.
“The construction of all three lower levels is already complete. We are only finishing some work on the uppermost level of the underground parking," he said.
A source said the area will be opened to the public between September and December this year.
"Once formally opened, the underground parking is likely to be managed by a second party, which will charge fees similar to the parking facilities at Souq Waqif and City Center mall," he said.
“We do not know if the management of the parking area will be given to the Sheraton hotel or to another entity,” he added.
A Sheraton employee said parking has always been a problem for the hotel, especially during big events, conventions, and weddings because of the limited space available on the hotel’s premises.
Sherwin Valerio, a Filipino who was able to use the parking lot on Friday, said the opening of the project would lessen the burden of motorists.
“ During a previous Philippine Independence Day celebration held at the Sheraton, another motorist damaged my car when he was navigating a tight and awkward parking space,” he said, adding this year's was a pleasant experience in comparison.
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