Construction overdrive in Qatar

by  — 2 January 2013

Edd Brookes examines the largest infrastructure projects underway in Qatar, which will have an impact on residents and visitors once completed.

Phase I of The Pearl-Qatar, Porto Arabia.

Doha Port

The QR19 billion New Port Project site stretches more than 26 square kilometres (km2), is located south of Doha City, east of Wakrah, and will be operational in 2016. It will have an enormous annual capacity, best appreciated by the numbers:

• 1,000,000 tons of bulk grain

• 750,000 livestock

• 500,000 vehicles 

• The port basin will be 3.8 kilometres in length and 17 metres deep. The excavation has meant removing enough material to fill 25,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Doha Port will also be the location for Qatar Economic Zone Three – providing an economic hub around the port for manufacturing, logistics and trade across a range of industrial sectors. 

The facility is much needed and coupled with the extra capacity; it will have the added bonus of being located outside Doha, a vast improvement on the current port, which has to move all its freight for distribution via the Corniche.

Lusail Express Way

Construction of the QR3.5 billion four-lane dual carriageway road system from Rainbow Roundabout through to Lusail commenced in November 2012 and is anticipated to be completed in November 2015. The three main interchanges connecting The Pearl-Qatar, Katara and Lusail will also feature the West Bay tunnel link providing an alternative route to the New Doha International Airport from the St. Regis Hotel.

This improvement is desperately required to serve The Pearl-Qatar and Lusail, as local populations increase rapidly in the new districts over the coming years. The additional West Bay link will also be much appreciated by residents and visitors.

Other ventures apart from these huge infrastructure projects, mean shoppers will have much to look forward to in terms of increased retail offerings. Some of the larger projects include:

Northgate Mall

Located off Al Shamal Road, when completed in 2015 the mall will provide more than 130,000 sqm of gross leasable area (GLA) with a wide offering of leisure, food and beverage, and retail outlets. Six buildings will provide a further 66,000 sqm of office space (something which Doha is not short of).

Festival City

Due to be completed in 2015, this huge mall will provide an additional 240,000 sqm GLA of top class retail space together with a choice of hotels and themed entertainment areas. The project is well on track with Doha Festival City signing a QR3.7 billion syndicated facility in June 2012.

Marina Mall

This three storey mall will be the largest in Lusail at 60,000 sqm. It is designed to provide a suitably coastal themed experience and its design is a result of combining parametric design techniques and building information modelling. The property will be owned by Qatar Foundation who have joint ventured the development with Mazaya Qatar. Despite a publicised opening date of 2015, given the delays experienced elsewhere within Lusail this most probably will be extended by up to 18 months.

Apart from the above, local developer Ezdan Real Estate, anticipate the opening of Gulf Mall 1 in Al Gharafa during (80,000 sqm GLA), which will also be joined in 2013 with the completion of Markhiya Mall (55,000 sqm GLA) and Mirqab Mall (36,000 sqm GLA).

Outside Doha, the master planned development of Urjuan Al Khor stretches to 5.5 km2 and will provide a range of villa, apartment and hospitality offerings within one of the most picturesque locations in Qatar and will no doubt ease the commute for those residents working within Ras Laffan as well as offering some excellent accommodation for the anticipated visitors to the Al Khor football stadium.

Vital delivery

What remains to be seen is whether the majority of these projects will be delivered on time and provide the quality of construction, which in so many projects of the first few years of the new century was clearly lacking. Ongoing planned preventative maintenance will also play a key role in ensuring the residential and retail projects remain economically and environmentally sustainable in operation.

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