By Elizabeth Broomhall
UAE company to appoint consultant for the $1.6bn project later this month
UAE conglomerate Al Futtaim Group, the developer behind Qatar’s largest retail and leisure complex, has said it will appoint a consultant for the QR6bn ($1.6bn) project later this month.
The UAE-based company also expects to appoint a main contractor for the first phase of construction in the second quarter of 2011, said Marwan Shedadeh, group director, Al Futtaim Capital.
“We will probably put the contract out to tender at the beginning of next year, the first quarter, and award the contract by the second quarter."
The first phase of the Doha mall, which is expected to cover 2.5m sq m of retail space, is scheduled for completion at the end of 2012.
“We believe there is a gap in the Doha market at the moment for a proper, super-regional, retail and entertainment destination, and we are hoping to fill that gap through our project,” said Shedadeh.
“Doha is today probably the richest city in the world and yet it doesn’t have a world class shopping destination. It will be the largest mall in Doha – by a long shot,” he said.
The mall is currently unnamed, but is likely to be branded Doha Festival City after its sister centres in Dubai and Cairo.
Al Futtaim signed the deal to develop the project in Doha in September with Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar's Aqar Real Estate Investment.
In October, Al Futtaim said it hoped to fund the project through a club loan deal from banks for as much as QR4bn.
According to property analysts, Qatar currently has as much as 370,000m sq of unoccupied gross leasable area (GLA), potentially making retail one of its most lucrative markets.