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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Msheireb hotel delayed until 2016

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Msheireb construction site (September 13 2014)

The opening date for a luxury hotel scheduled to open in Msheireb this year has been pushed back two years – the latest signal that the massive QR20 billion (US$5.5 billion) redevelopment project is slipping behind schedule.

The Mandarin Oriental is to be a high-end, 158-room hotel with 91 serviced apartments and is one of three hospitality projects under construction on the massive 31-hectare site in central Doha.

Mandarian Oriental - Msheireb

A spokesperson for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group told Doha News that the project, first announced in 2010, is now not scheduled for completion until 2016.

As the operator of the hotel, the spokesperson said her company was not involved in the actual construction of the project.

She directed questions about the revised timeline to the property’s owner, Amlak Hospitality, but that company could not be reached for comment.

Amlak is a member of the Qatar Foundation and is developing three Msheireb hotels. Once completed, the buildings will take up more than 15 percent of the 760,000sqm of the site’s eventual built-up space, which will also include homes, retail shops and cultural space.

The other two hotels are the 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.

However, representatives of those two chains could not be immediately reached for an update on the developments.

Msheireb plans

It’s common for major projects to fall behind schedule in Qatar, where countless road, rail, real estate and infrastructure projects are under construction in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.

There are several theories about why this is the case, including supply bottlenecks in importing building materials and red tape for various approvals.

However, some argue the delays are a byproduct of Qatar’s overwhelmingly foreign workforce. Employee turnover is high, and it is a lengthy process to recruit and relocate new skilled workers.

Construction Week magazine, meanwhile, suggested earlier this year that an extremely competitive construction sector in Qatar forces contractors to accept unrealistic deadlines in order to land work.

It’s not clear what the delay in the opening of the Mandarin Oriental means for the overall Msheireb project, which is being constructed in several stages.

That property was supposed to be the first of the three hotels to open and is part of phase 1B/1C, which was slated for completion in 2015 and also includes offices, townhomes, apartments, amenities, government buildings, a school, cultural center and a mosque, according to a project update published last fall.

Future phases will include retail space, a cinema as well as more offices and residential units.

Msheireb construction site (September 13 2014)

Meanwhile, the first section, phase 1A, includes the Diwan Amiri Quarter – made up of a Diwan Annex, National Archive and Amiri Guard building – and the Heritage Quarter, featuring four restored heritage houses that will serve as a museum, as well as an Eid prayer ground.

It was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. The fall update pushed the expected completion date to mid-2014.

While the exterior of the buildings are completed, the site still appears to be an active construction zone. There is still extensive scaffolding in place and dozens of workers were visible on the property on Saturday.

Banana Island

Meanwhile, several kilometers away, it appears another delayed hospitality project may finally be nearing completion.

The website for the Banana Island Resort Doha appears to be accepting reservations for rooms after Nov. 1.

Construction on the Banana Island property – which will be operated by Thailand-based Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas – began in mid-2012.

A rendering of the under-construction resort on Banana Island.
A rendering of the under-construction resort on Banana Island.

Last year, UrbaCon General Contracting – the firm responsible for building the resort – told Construction Week Qatar that the resort would be completed in the summer, and that there would likely be a soft opening by the end of 2013.

Guests will have to take boats to the resort, which officials previously told Doha News would not be licensed to sell alcohol.

When reached last week, the property’s sales and marketing director, Elias El Khoury, declined comment.

Thoughts?

26 COMMENTS

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Oracle
Oracle
6 years ago

“It’s common for major projects to fall behind schedule in Qatar” “There are several theories about why this is the case,” “However, some argue the delays are a byproduct of Qatar’s overwhelmingly foreign workforce. Employee turnover is high, and it is a lengthy process to recruit and relocate new skilled workers.” Hmmm why is that?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Oracle

Maybe they should Qatarise the construction workforce and they will see improvements…..

Oracle
Oracle
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Excellent idea. It should be recommended to the Ministry of Labor

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

The article in Construction Weekly really is worth reading because it hits the nail (50%) on the head talking of unrealistic construction deadlines and budgets. However it fails to mention the poor productivity of an unmotivated workforce in a difficult climate, the appallingly written and contradictory construction contracts, the inability of the Clients to realise that a building project is a team venture by all parties and not a clash of the Titans, and the often inadequate construction drawings and the Client’s often appalling design changes during construction. Add the shameful withholding of interim payments by the Client due to the flimsiest of excuses and the subsequent recriminations and you have a perfect storm that guarantees all major projects will be late and exceed their budgets. The evidence of recently completed or ongoing projects is overwhelming yet still the Qatari Client bodies bury their head in the sand and refuse to contemplate change.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Spot on

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Any news on the two hotels at the end of city Center which seem to have been under construction since the crusades?

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The Shangri la, heard the rumour, obviously the external is built but the local owner and the management company (ie Shangri la group) couldn’t agree the fit out inside…time after time…. In any case no pedestrians and certainly no strollers can walk pass the potential shangri la hotel because MMUP approved a sidewalk designated for aliens on bean pole legs occupying a space of no more than 10cm width. They did however approve a flower bed, which obviously beautifys the area for passing car VIP, at the cost of resident pedestrian safety.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Thanks for the update. I always like to celebrate a new bar(s) opening in Doha but I guess this one is someway off.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Shocking

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Speaking about Banana Island is…”When reached last week, the property’s sales and marketing director, Elias El Khoury, declined comment.”

The Marketing and sales director has nothing!, nothing to say. Do any of these guys go to school to learn how to actually be a Sales and Marketing Director? I see this so much. People way out of their depth to perform the job, many in very high level executive positions, to any level of competence. This is not how Qatarization is supposed to work.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

I had the exact same thought as you when I read that sentence. As a marketing director, a media request for comment is free advertising. Use it to promote your product!

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

You’d think.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

It’s certainly possible that Elias went to the marketing director school that taught him that the role is about going to parties and looking dashing in corporate photos.

It’s also possible that even though on paper his job is “Sales and Marketing Director” he actually isn’t empowered by his boss to write press releases without their approval, speak to the press without their approval, and to do anything else related to his job without their approval. Which is another way of saying… he’s actually not a Sales and Marketing Director at all.

Either way it’s a pretty laughable situation for a high profile project to have a senior (“senior”) marketing staff member who does not, can not, or will not speak to the press.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

The cannot is very prevalent here as well. Ultimate boss holding the reins so tight and not letting their people do their jobs. I work for one.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

In defense of poor Mr. El Khoury who is getting unfairly savaged for events obviously out of his control, irrespective of his title, ability to do the job or anything else, I don’t see too many public comments from ANY project management companies on completion deadlines for that matter. Remember, build it and they will come! (Eventually).

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Whether he is incompetent or he was just the sacrificial lamb the company let fall on the sword is neither here nor there. The fact that either the company didn’t train him on protocol and how to handle, what had to be obvious, questions or he just didn’t now what to say anything, he comes out looking like a ditz. Whenever a company has this type of problem it’s never better to say nothing. It’s called marketing in a negative environment. Easy when it’s good.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

It is “here nor there” actually, you assume he was not briefed on what to say, nor had the ability to think for himself. In your opinion he looked like a ditz. Easy to type the cheap words of sarcasm as you seem to do a lot on this site, however, given the benefit of the doubt for someone working in this environment who may be muffled without opportunity to speak. Of course he represents the company, by default whatever he says (or not) is a representation of them. As for your marketing in a negative environment (?) and saying nothing, ask the hundreds of companies who let the bad PR continue without taking action. They would no doubt like to have retrospection on their decision.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

It is not because other people do it badly that he can also do the same and get away with it. He made a huge mistake by not preparing the right answer, and if that was his management’s request, it is his job to inform them and let them know that this is wrong. He is the director and he will be held accountable for it.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yes Yacine, we all tell our management how wrong they are and act exactly the opposite when they give us instructions. Without his side of the story, there is no balanced view anyway. He’s accountable to the degree in which his company empowers him.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

It’s “neither here nor there”

He had opportunity to speak, he declined to comment.

Not sure if you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me on the rest.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Maybe you missed the context in which I wrote it. As for agreeing or disagreeing on the rest, better let the readers decide then if you are not sure.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Jeez I couldn’t shut up Marketing people back home…. Really nuddha?? New hotel, new island hotel and nothing to say??…..money well spent on that wage……

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Agree with you, except for the last bit, El Khoury is very unlikely to be a Qatari. Did you mean to say his boss has him muffled?

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

yes.

LoveItOrLeaveIt
LoveItOrLeaveIt
6 years ago

What about Dubai Tower-Doha?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I hear that the land and development has been bought out and construction will start again soon. Will not be called Dubai tower though.

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