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7 July 2012 12:04 pm

City Center Doha remains closed for 22nd day

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There is no new information about the reopening of City Center Doha (CCD) which remained closed for the 22nd day yesterday. The shopping complex was closed on June 15 for sprucing up its safety features as well as carrying out some major redesigning of the floor plans on the instructions of the Directorate of the Civil Defence. The safety audit and the resultant actions were precipitated by the May 28 fire tragedy at the Villaggio Mall, which cost 19 lives, including that of 13 children. With Villaggio and City Center Doha remaining closed, Qatar has been deprived of two of its major shopping destinations in the run-up to the summer holidays when residents go on a shopping spree. As per the revised plans for City Center Doha, it is learnt that some major modifications would be made on some of the shops located on the top level of the complex. However, uncertainty has prevailed among the tenants as there was no word from the mall operators on when it would be ready for resuming commercial operations. One of the maintenance staffers had told Gulf Times recently that implementing of additional safety measures was going on at the mall even until late in the evening. An employee of one of the prominent outlets in City Center Doha said staff had been redeployed to other branches. The mall’s reopening will be known only after the Civil Defence personnel carry out their inspections, a source said. Inquiries revealed that safety exits have been put in place and they are directed to the ground level car park and also to the exteriors of the mammoth complex. The closure of the Villaggio Mall and City Center Doha has dealt a severe blow to various businesses operating within the two malls with business owners calling for compensation from their managements asking for rent waivers. Also, the country’s film viewers were being affected as 28 cinema screens at the two multiplexes in the two shopping complexes have gone blank. Shoppers and leisure seekers are also being left with fewer choices among their favourite shopping and relaxation destinations. Gulf Times