Despite some delays, redevelopment of Doha’s downtown district now appears to be picking up speed, with Msheireb announcing its first tenant in the commercial district this week.
The non-profit International Center for Sport Security (ICSS) has signed up to take nearly 4,000 square meters of low and medium-rise office space across five floors in the project’s Al Baraha district.
Designed as a traditional town square – which developers say would be the largest of its kind in the Gulf – Al Baraha will be one of the focal points of the QR20 billion (US$5.5 billion) Msheireb district.
The public space will feature an “urban majlis,” with light installations, water fountains and benches, and there will be a retractable canopy and under-floor cooling systems.
Surrounding buildings will include a 19,000 square meter cultural forum, featuring two art house cinemas and a performing arts theater, as well as space for public art exhibitions, music and fine art lessons.
There will also be around 15 restaurants and cafes, in addition to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
No date has been given for when ICSS is expected to move into its new premises.
Previously, Msheireb Properties said its Baraha complex would be completed by 2016, but construction is still underway, casting doubt on this time frame.
A photo update of construction progress posted on the company’s Facebook site last month shows that while the main structure of the complex is up, there is still further work to be done before it resembles the artists’ impressions of the final design.
Hotels at the site
Some parts of the project have already slipped behind schedule. Last year, the opening date for the 158-room Mandarin Oriental was pushed back two years from its original 2014 completion.
The property’s owner, Amlak Hospitality, is also developing two other hotels on the 31-hectare site in central Doha – the four-star Al Wadi Hotel, part of Accor’s M Gallery Collection, and a 181-room Park Hyatt.
When they were initially announced, the projects aimed to open in 2015 and 2016, respectively. There have been no further updates regarding a completion date.
Hotels will make up about 13 percent of Msheireb’s eventual built-up space. More than one third will be taken up by commercial and government offices, around 13 percent (104,000 square meters) will be shops and retail, and a quarter will be residences.
There will also be schools, a mosque and a museum, in addition to 120,000 square meters of parks and open space.