A shopping mall in Doha with a Fifa World Cup-themed food court has attracted an "extreme" amount of interest from the region's biggest retailers, more than two years ahead of its scheduled opening.
Qatar mall with Fifa World Cup-themed food court attracts retailers
Mall of Qatar, a 162,000 square metre mall located in Doha next to a future venue for the 2022 World Cup, is due to open in September 2015. The cost of the project is estimated at 3 billion Qatari rials (Dh3.02bn).
"There are very large holding companies which control many of the brands. We have already tapped all of those and have received several letters of interest already," said Shem Krey, the deputy managing director for the mall.
"There has been an extreme amount of interest for the companies to participate with us."
The shopping centre, which will cover an area equivalent to 50 football pitches, will include 400 stores, fine dining and entertainment. It will feature a large mix of retail, from luxury stores to hypermarkets and feature its own dedicated metro station stop. The project is part of a mixed-use site that includes the Al Rayyan Sports Club, a future World Cup Stadium and a planned luxury hotel.
"There are other very interesting development ideas that we have and are talking to stakeholders in the entire over 100-hectare site that are slowly coming together and we hope that at the end of the year we can announce other master planning developments that will get started there," added Mr Krey.
The opening of Mall of Qatar will be followed months later by Doha Festival City, which will feature 260,000 square metres of gross leasable area when it opens in the first quarter of 2016.
It is owned and developed by Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate, which has four shareholders: Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank, Aqar Real Estate Development & Investment and a private Qatari investor.
"It will be competition but the only difference is that we will be opening before them," said Mr Krey.
"The studies that we have done, and if you read their brochures it says the same thing, show that there is a huge untapped demand for good quality shopping in Doha. There are other malls here that are tired but these will be the new malls which offer the packages of full family experience," he added.