Al Futtaim Group and Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) announced on Sunday that construction for the Dh6 billion Doha Festival City will begin next month following the appointment of the project's managers, architects and engineers.
The 433,847 square metres entertainment, retail, hospitality and commercial facility, set to become a driving force behind Qatar's diverse economic development, will be designed by DP Architects, with Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB) appointed as Project Architects. MACE International are Project Managers and Al Futtaim Investment Management (AFIM) are Investment Managers.
Construction of Phase One of the project - the first of its kind in the country - will start with a ground breaking for the Swedish furnishing giant IKEA in April 2011.
This phase is slated to be completed by the second half of 2012, with Phase Two scheduled for completion by 2014.
Al Futtaim, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Aqar Real Estate Investment Company and a private investor are partners in this Joint Venture project.
Along with IKEA, other brands from Al Futtaim Group already confirmed as Doha Festival City's anchor tenants which are ACE, Toys ‘R' Us, Marks & Spencer and Intersport.
Landmark Group's brands such as Centrepoint, Max Fashion, Sports Authority, Fitness First, Home Centre and Iconic have also joined the retail mix. Robinson's, the 153-year old department store and an integral piece of Singapore's history, will be part of Doha Festival City offerings which also include a fully serviced shopping centre, an indoor-outdoor entertainment park, automotive zone and two international hotels.
The iconic complex's futuristic design separates each individual area into its own uniquely identified space that will transport guests from the world of waterslides and roller coasters, into a retail area populated with diverse international brands.
Omar Al Futtaim, Vice-Chairman, Al Futtaim Group, said, "This is a dream come true for us and our partners. The innovative concept of this project will greatly appeal to visitors and local residents of the nation that has rightly earned its place as one of the most advanced Middle East countries. Doha has a strong diversified financial standing and a rapidly expanding population with high level of disposable income. This makes it a perfect platform for a versatile complex such as Doha Festival City."
QIB Chairman, Shaikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani, said: "It represents a new phase in the country's economic evolution and will raise Qatar's profile as a nation focused on innovation, excellence, and dynamic sustainable development. This Joint Venture agreement with the Al-Futtaim group demonstrates both parties' firm commitment to not only enhance Qatar's development, but amplify its positioning within the regional and global economy. Ultimately the agreement is in accordance with QIB's strategy to fuel the countries expansion and the State of Qatar's 2030 vision."
Doha Festival City is located 15km north of downtown Doha on Al Shamal Road, one of the main arterial routes to the city centre, connecting Doha with Bahrain via the "Friendship" bridge.
With its strategic positioning, the mega complex is ideally equipped to meet the retail and entertainment needs of not only Qatar, but also the neighboring GCC countries. Also included are "green zones" to ensure space is dedicated to the community for all to use and enjoy.
Al Futtaim is one of the largest family-owned enterprises in the region and owners of the globally acknowledged, award winning Festival City brand in the UAE and Egypt which have become the mainstay for leisure, shopping and entertainment in the two countries. The group already has presence in Doha through its automotive, retail, technology and engineering businesses.
Established in the 1930s, Al Futtaim initially operated as a trading company. Rapid development throughout the 1940s and 1950s saw the company establish itself regionally as an integrated commercial, industrial and services organisation, positioning itself as one of the leading businesses in the lower Gulf region.
Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, Al Futtaim is structured into seven operational divisions; Automotive, Engineering, Electronics & Technology, Retail, Financial Services, General Services, Education, Real Estate and Construction, Leisure and Joint Ventures.
Today, Al Futtaim operates through more than 65 companies in sectors as diverse as commerce, industry and services, touching people across the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia and Europe.
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