Doha Festival City to Become Major Retail Attraction

Jenny Malem
Scheduled to open in September 2016, in northern Doha, Doha Festival City is setting new standards for the retail, leisure and entertainment sectors in the region.

The scale of the project comprises over 240,000 square metres (sq.m) of gross leasable area over 550 outlets, of which there are 100 restaurants and cafes, the first of its kind entertainment zone (VOX Cinemas and a snow park) and approximately 8,000 parking spaces. Phase One of the mall was completed in March 2013, along with the official opening of Qatar's first IKEA.

"The partnership approach at the very top has led to collaborative, solutions-based thinking throughout the project team..."

Michael Connor, Faithful+Gould Associate Director

The project involves a myriad of companies and partnerships, with ownership comprising a joint venture of Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Aqar Real Estate Investment Company and a private Qatari investor.

Michael Connor, associate director said: "Faithful+Gould was contracted to provide commercial management and contract solutions to the key phases of the project and to develop a detailed commercial management plan to identify and address all associated risks. The partnership approach at the very top has led to collaborative, solutions-based thinking throughout the project team and has made Doha Festival City the largest retail development in the Middle East currently under construction."

Scheduled for opening later this year, the development includes a number of firsts for Qatar; the first IKEA, the first Harvey Nichols, the first Cheesecake Factory, the first full-size Monoprix store hypermarket in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the first Pottery Barn in Qatar; making Doha Festival City a unique and innovative destination for entertainment and socializing in Qatar and the region. Attractions include the first snow play in Qatar and the first ever Angry Birds theme park in the Middle East, as well as housing Qatar’s largest movie theatre by VOX with Doha’s first 4D film experience.

Faithful+Gould contributed to several aspects of the project’s development; not limited to the commercial management aspect of the project’s construction phase as well as providing investment managers, finance managers, tenancy managers and other consultants the necessary advice to make critical financial decisions in regards to cost matters and contract solutions. A proactive approach to risk and change management was encouraged throughout the project.

"We are proud to be part of the project team and have continuously worked towards ensuring the project will be delivered within the ambitious deadlines set by the investors..."

Campbell Gray, Faithful+Gould Managing Director - Middle East

Campbell Gray, managing director - Middle East, notes that Doha Festival City has been positioned as a prime financial investment, saying: "This project is a testament to Qatar’s ambitions and commitment to the development of the retail and entertainment industry in Qatar and the region, aimed at fulfilling the National 2030 Vision. Doha Festival City is expected to attract a high number of visitors year round and as such promises to add an inflow of jobs to the country’s and region’s employment opportunities. We are proud to be part of the project team and have continuously worked towards ensuring the project will be delivered within the ambitious deadlines set by the investors and we feel we have been integral in achieving this without wavering on quality.”

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