A massive QR20 billion (US$5.5 billion) project to redevelop the downtown Doha area has finally started coming online, with the opening of its first building this week – Qatar Academy Msheireb.
The school, which has a 12,754 square meter campus and can accommodate up to 450 pupils, welcomed students and teachers for the start of the new academic year yesterday.
It has been described by developers Msheireb Properties as a “significant milestone” in the construction of the downtown Doha project, which is running behind schedule but expected to open in phases over the next few years.
Facilities at the dual language Arabic and English school include a swimming pool, basketball and volleyball courts, a gym, a dining hall, music and art rooms and a library.
There is also a student drop-off and pick-up zone in the building’s basement mezzanine, developers said in a statement.
The school is the fifth branch of the Qatar Foundation-run Qatar Academy chain, whose private, non-profit schools cater to pre-school, primary and high school students.
Other branches are located in Education City, Al Khor, Al Wakrah, and there is also a Qatar Academy Sidra.
The Msheireb branch initially opened on a temporary site in Bani Hajer last September with six classes – two each in kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2.
Relocation to the purpose-built site took place over several months, ahead of the new school year, according to Qatar Academy Msheireb director Suad Al Kindi.
This year, QA-Msheireb is taking students from Pre-K to Year 3, and will continue expanding next year, operators said.
Commenting on the launch, Msheireb Properties CEO Abdulla Al-Mehshadi said:
“The opening of Qatar Academy Msheireb therefore marks an especially significant milestone in the development of Msheireb Downtown Doha. It underpins our overall objective of creating an environment which caters to all the needs of our residents, while also fostering a sense of community that will flow through the entire development.”
QA-Msheireb is the first building in the downtown Doha project to open and be in use.
In July, Msheireb Properties announced that its first commercial tenant in its Al Baraha district would be the International Center for Sport Security (ICSS), which is also part of the QF stable, but construction is still ongoing on this site and it is not yet operational.
After missing previous deadlines, developers have been reluctant to give confirmed timelines for the opening of the various projects being built on the 310,000 square meter site, which is in the heart of “old” Doha next to the Emiri Diwan and Souq Waqif.
Citing the “scale and complexity” of the project, a spokesperson for Msheireb Properties told Doha News today:
“More specific information on the delivery and opening of individual phases will be released as they near completion.”
Once completed, the renovated downtown district is expected to have four hotels, including a Mandarin Oriental, which is due to open next year, and a Park Hyatt Hotel.
and Al Wadi Hotel.
There will be shops and a 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, aimed at attracting up to 60,000 visitors to the complex.
There will also be more than 100 commercial buildings and government offices and 900 houses and apartments for an eventual residential population of 2,600 people, as well as a mosque, museum and 120,000 square meters of parks and open space.
In the heritage quarter, next to the Diwan, government buildings will include the National Archive, restored houses and the Eid Prayer Ground which is across from Al Koot Fort near Souq Waqif, and opened for the first time last year.