By Andy Sambidge
Mega retail destination project is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014
Construction work has started on the QR6bn ($1.65bn) Doha Festival City retail destination which is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Company (BASREC) said the mega project was a joint venture with Al-Futtaim Group, Qatar Islamic Bank and other investors.
IKEA, part of the Al-Futtaim Group, will be developed under the first phase of construction and the 32,000 sq m store is set for completion in Q4 2012, with the remaining elements of Doha Festival City due for delivery two years later.
The company said the general contractor contract for IKEA has been awarded to QACC (Qatari Arabian Construction Co) and Amana Qatar Contracting Co with the MEP package awarded to Hamad and Mohammed Al-Futtaim Engineering.
BASREC said other leading international and local brands are expressing strong interest in being part of Doha Festival City, which will also offer an entertainment and leisure complex, car showrooms and international hotels.
Greg Douglas, development director Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate, said: "We are delighted that Doha Festival City has begun construction which celebrates the collaboration between our JV partners.
"We believe Doha Festival City will be one of the most advanced entertainment, retail and hospitality complexes in the region."
Jihad Zarkout, senior executive manager, BASREC, added: "Doha Festival City is the outcome of our shareholders' willingness to contribute in the promising future of Qatar and the unlimited support of the government, not to mention the enormous efforts by a dedicated team."
The project is one of the first mega projects to get underway as a result of Qatar's successful bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament.
Dubai's Al-Futtaim Group has also developed the Festival City construction brand in the UAE and Egypt.
The project is located 15km north of downtown Doha on Al Shamal Road, one of the main arterial routes to the city centre and connecting Doha with Bahrain.
Due to be completed in 2014, some of the main retail tenants already announced include the Swedish furnishing giant IKEA, Toys R Us, Marks & Spencer and Intersport.