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Friday, October 30, 2020

New shopping center catering to Qatar’s elite eyes December launch

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All photos by Chantelle D’mello

A new Italian-inspired luxury shopping center catering to Qatar and the region’s wealthiest residents is eying a soft opening by year-end, its developer has said.

The QR3 billion project, AlHazm, is under Al Emadi Enterprises and located near Al Markhiya.

Its launch comes as several other retailers prepare to open their doors in the next couple of years, including the Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City and North Gate Mall.

However, speaking to Doha News, AlHazm’s marketing director Soufiane El Ouazzani stressed that the new venue differs greatly from other shopping centers in Qatar.

“It’s not a mall. Our target (is) people who don’t go to malls,” he said. “We’re catering to the Qataris who don’t shop in Doha, the ones who go to Paris and Milan to buy clothes and accessories.

We also don’t offer what traditional malls offer. There is no food court, or franchise chains. This is a destination because it is a customized service for each person. You will be known by name,” he said.

He added that though the company is eyeing an end-of-year launch, that may be pushed to the first quarter of 2016.

The architecture

Foundations for the 105,159 square meter project were laid almost six years ago. AlHazm, which means “the natural hill” in the Qatari dialect, is situated atop a small green mound on Al Markhiya Street.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Some 15 architects were hired to mirror some of the features of Italy’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, which is housed in a 19th century double arcade in Milan, among other different Italian buildings.

The architects are among a team that also includes some 2,500 engineers, construction worker and others working on the project, which is expected to utilize some 41,400 tons of stone and marble.

Plans for the project were overseen by Mohamed A.K. Al Emadi, the company’s CEO, whose long-held fascination with Italy lead to the creation of AlHazm, the project’s creative director said.

Speaking to Doha News, Georges Bou Ibrahim continued:

“It’s inspired by Italy, yes, but everything is made in Doha. We imported stones from Jerusalem, Carrara, and Tuscany by ship to be treated by 250 Indian carvers from Rajasthan who were also brought to Doha.”

Al Hazm shopping center
Al Hazm shopping center

In addition to carved marble arches, gleaming walls and mammoth pillars, Ibrahim said that AlHazm is comprised of special slabs of marble similar to the ones in Mecca, which aim to keep floor temperatures at 20C despite surrounding heat.

Other fixtures include a 40m-wide glass dome, one of the largest in the country, and 200-year-old olive trees imported from Sicily.

In keeping with the Italian theme, there will also be several sculptures, water fountains and gazebos in the outdoor areas between the glass-domed galleria and the surrounding piazza.

The piazza is composed of five blocks, green spaces, fountains and gazebos.

The concept

Qatar is home to the third-highest density of millionaires in the world.

And according to a report from global management consulting firm BCG, the total number of households in the country with private wealth of $1 million or more rose by 3.7 percent during 2014. That figure is projected to further increase by 4.1 percent by 2019.

When it opens, AlHazm aims to cater to that clientele, as well as other wealthy people in the region. Those people rarely shop in Doha, El Ouzzani said.

Al Hazm shopping center
Al Hazm shopping center

A glass pyramid on one end of the central galleria will double as the project’s VVIP entrance, where visitors will have private access to retail stores, and a special 3,000 square meter underground auction and gallery space.

Above the underground VVIP area is a VIP floor, where personal shoppers will assist visitors interested in the clothes, jewelry and other effects from retail stores housed inside the galleria.

Ibrahim declined to list the names of retail outlets that will be housed in AlHazm, but said several designer brands and high-end stores will be included.

The surrounding piazzas will be home to several one-of-a-kind restaurants and cafes, handpicked from countries around the world, and will each have dedicated lobbies leading to the common underground parking space.

“We brought authentic food from all the well-known cities in the world,” El Ouazzani said, adding that most of the food and beverage offerings will be new to Qatar.

The space is also slated to hold a fresh market with organic produce imported from across the world.

“There will be chocolate from Belgium, cheese from France… It’s a fresh market full of products that are not native to, and not available in Doha,” he added.

With a mission to promote art, culture, and luxury, the project will also include an in-house library with several rare manuscripts and encyclopedias, reading rooms and books related to art, architecture, culture and the Islamic world.

The outdoor spaces in between the galleria and piazzas will be used to hold special events and as an open-air viewing room for the sculptures. The domed galleria is also slated to house a skyline terrace for special events and performances.

Finally, an adjacent Ladies Club will provide customized beauty and spa services, and a Kids’ Entertainment Center, housed in the same building, will include novel “edutainment” activities where children will be encouraged to both play and learn simultaneously, Ibrahim said.

Thoughts?

72 COMMENTS

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Mildly Amused
Mildly Amused
5 years ago

pipe dreaming – why would people who evidently love to travel and shop do so here with a huge mark up? This is basically the Gate II, only viable during sales. Rich people are not necessarily dumb people.

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
5 years ago
Reply to  Mildly Amused

Spot on. Astute fashionistas at the upper end of the market know full well that we are only exposed to a fraction of the available ranges of high end designers and luxury goods manufacturers in Qatar. Having said that, the people who this mall is targetting don’t shop abroad because they have to, but rather because they want to and have the means to do so.

Having watched the film, it does look quite stunning inside though. Fair play to them.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Mildly Amused

This rings a bell. Here is a press release from 2008 when The Pearl first started opening shops:

“We are not a shopping mall we are a shopping lifestyle experience. We are creating and inspiring the culture of the designer brands.”
And, from the same press release, was a quote that I’ve never forgotten:
“ First of all I believe in the potential of Qatar. Then I believe in the concept of The Pearl-Qatar. It’s going to be better fun and shopping than St Tropez and Cannes. This is a wonderful place for its trendy way of life.”

See more at: http://www.udcqatar.com/English/Newsroom/PressRelease/Pages/Press20122008.aspx#sthash.84LcRzxB.dpuf

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Best unintentional comedic statement ever!

Mohammad
Mohammad
5 years ago
Reply to  Mildly Amused

S L A V E R Y – in DOHA QATAR is alive and well – FCKU the rest of the 99%

the architecture is an ABORTION done in a back alley the proportions are OFF and the DUMB architects should know

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Mohammad

I guess you don’t like the building much then. Maybe you are more of a classical man….

HalfManArmy
HalfManArmy
5 years ago
Reply to  Mohammad

I somehow doubt that someone who speaks like that understands the finer details of architecture.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

From the description of the place, I can bet from now that it will be a HUGE failure, one that is even bigger than the Pearl. The owner thinks that the few thousand wealthy Qataris will make the project viable. Even if they shop daily that is not going to happen.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I for one will eschew this place, I will not lower my standards to VVIP, a place needs to be at least VVVIP or prefrably VVVIP.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

They are planning to have VVVIP, the CEO is currently handselecting the cherubs that will recreate Apollo’s chariot to take you from store to store so your feet don’t have to touch the ground.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Nice, but I would also require Aphrodite to help me peruse the aphoridsiac section, while Aries smites my enemies.

Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

So true. For some crazy reason I decided to go pitch my, admittedly, terrible idea to the Incubation Business Centre in the middle ‘of the middle’ of nowhere. I was the only expat there, the rest were nationals cackling and shaking hands. The whole environment was full of friendship and love. Then I walk into the room at which point the CEO lady takes out her watch and says I have 5 minutes (I actually had 10) but decided not to start an interview by correcting the interviewer. I told them my business would cater for the other 99% of the population and they practically laughed me out of the room. So yeh looking forward to this mall 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

How did they import stones from Jerusalem? Isn’t there a trade ban dealing with Israelis since the trade mission was kicked out of Qatar…. well I guess business doesn’t care that they are putting money into Israel while Israel strangles the Palestinian state..

Gaga
Gaga
5 years ago

The architecture is indeed stunning, but like duh, how many people in Qatar can afford to go to a remote place and purchase high-end luxuries? Oh well.

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago

Wealthy Qataris shop when they travel where they have the full range of designer goods to select from at source and they can also claim back the VAT (even the wealthy take advantage of this, believe me). This is why Chanel will not open in Qatar because it is a very small market here and that small market mostly buys in Dubai or when travelling in Europe. Fact. The idea that they would purchase here with a huge mark-up and limited selection is laughable when they can jump on their private planes and jet to Paris / London / Milan for the latest collections.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

“Shall I call Qatar Executive and charter that lovely private jet again? The Spring/Summer collections are about to be shown in Milan and I want to pop in to Prada for some new evening wear. I hear they are bringing back charcoal”.

“No dear, let’s drive to that new mall-that’s-not-a-mall in Markhiya.”

Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

haha, brilliant, I can imagine this conversation

Expat
Expat
5 years ago

Targeting those 1% who don’t purchase things in Doha, how? With a luxury mall in Doha! +1 for the head of strategy!

Phoe
Phoe
5 years ago

Not that I begrudge the 1% their entertainment but it seems off to me that they will just come out and say this is for the 1% who are rich, the remaining 99% better not show their poor faces anywhere near our gaudy replica. Just call it ultra luxury or something, no need to be so rude.

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Phoe

They have a point and an intelligent strategy. Take me for example, do you know how uncomfortable I feel when I have to share a mall with nasty peasants? Can’t even do my browsing peacefully without being forced to look at hideously cheap yucky clothes that should have been donated to a homeless shelter.

Once I tried to be low key because I took the embarrassingly old car to the mall and peasants drew attention to me by asking to take pics! Imagine how my peers would have viewed me if they caught me in a 2011 lambo in 2014!

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

If not making any sense is a sport of some sort, you Sir would destroy EVERY competitor!

Seriously though, what is your point?

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

Sarcasm….

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

You can be sarcastic yet sound smart… I aa not picking on him in person because I do not know him in real. But his comments are always off topic and hilarious too! Hehe

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

That you are a creepy idiot who stalks me, that’s my point.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Stalk you? I am a contributor who finds your comments to be very humerous. You calling me an idiot is a compliment because if you think I am smart, then it is a bigger problem to me lolol.

Keep’em coming Saleem haha
Saleem lolol

Paul
Paul
5 years ago

They exist already to cater to the 1% .. and they are abroad.

Amin
Amin
5 years ago

If it’s gonna cater 1% of Qatar population, that means 1% of say 2.2 million. Means 22,000 person. That will be a average of say 61 persons a day. With 105,159 square meter, i doubt that will be more than 61 shops inside that mall. I dont know how to comment this!!!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Amin

Lol. In their original press release they told prospective tenants that the project will attract “10 million visits per year” (that is about 30,000 visits… per day… seriously?)

They also said it would open in early 2013.

http://www.apimpresa.it/media/circolari/All.1Prot.100.pdf

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
5 years ago

DN 2016: Italian Mall on a Hill released a statement today “We are proud to confirm that McDonalds will be opening a store by the fountain piazza. New MD Mustufah commented “it seems we didn’t research enough, rich locals eat McDonalds too, we had to listen to our customers who demanded this. We thought they wanted South American Organic Lama roasted over maple twigs and basted in Antartic honey. In fact this offering confused not only our customers but our chefs from Kerala. The truffles were not popular either as we had to admit they grow in the ground and are unearthed by pigs. Our customers wanted penne with the infamous pink sauce so beloved by Qatari. If only we had listened to other high end eating restaurants in Doha. The people filling those restaurants are white expats on business Amex, but unfortunately we banned white expats from our complex”. McDonalds said it was releasing a new burger in honour of Qatar and this new exciting opportunity. The name of it will be….

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

Q-Burger…

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Mc G&O (gas and oil burger…gives you)

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

Did you see online – this mall is going to be half fashion, and half food. All about gourmet food… I can’t wait for a project to match the press releases and boasts….

The second element (or soul) of the project, which is focused on food and all food-related concepts; there will be around 30 fine dining restaurants, 20 coffee shops and between 25-30 retail stores related to food. “When you are in Qatar and you think about food, whether it be dining, cooking, utensils, decorating or learning to cook, you will find it at Alhazm,” says Gaffuri. “The mall will feature the country’s first ‘social kitchen’, resembling a very large classroom, where we will teach children and adults how to prepare and cook food, how our well-being is related to food, what we eat and how we eat it.”

http://www.rli.uk.com/profiles/shopping-centre/nov13/qatar/

Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago

wow thought the word pig would be edited here for profanity. This would look great on the news though, perhaps they can place the newly composed QIB theme tune in the background.

SLICK
SLICK
5 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

Curiosity, didn’t call anyone a Pig… Just a general reference. 🙂

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago

Damn, MIMH you are responsible for this proliferation of unfunny satire.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

hehe

Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago

This does not sound like a good idea at all. People who go Paris to shop are there for more than the shopping experience (I hope). They are there for sightseeing, rides along the river, trying out the food etc. How can you have a shopping mall without food? Also I thought 99% of the food here was already imported? I go nandos often enough to be known by name and that did not cost me a fortune. Anyway I am looking forward to walking around (if I am allowed in) I will prepare my suitcase of cash (with newspapers for padding).

Ali
Ali
5 years ago

i don’t know why this reminded me of Persepolis in Iran, by the way how the “people by name” will enter?

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

The angels at the gate will have their names and deeds written on a papyrus.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago

AHA! now i know it, “the people who are known by name” will make a phone call, a Rolls-Royce car will pick them up from their home to the shop they want, they will spend a 100 thousands QR or more and then the Rolls-Royce will take them back home.

SLICK
SLICK
5 years ago

“We’re catering to the Qataris who don’t shop in Doha, the ones who go to Paris and Milan to buy clothes and accessories.” Qatari nationals number only 278,000, representing a mere 12 percent of the total population in the country. http://www.bqdoha.com/2013/12/population-qatar In 5 yrs, the owners are going to wish sales looked as good at that video did. That 1% = 2780 people. 🙂

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  SLICK

There have to be a plan B!

SLICK
SLICK
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

DOUBTFUL!

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

they should hire Saleem lol
I am sure he will propose some plan that will fix it all lolol

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

Who is Saleem?!

Rose Thorne
Rose Thorne
5 years ago

Nietzsche famously said, “the mother of excess is not joy but joylessness”. How appropriate.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

Now let’s do the math. 1% of the Qatari population is roughly 3000. Let’s assume each one of them will visit the place regularly and will spend on average 10k riyals per month. That’s 30 million riyals in monthly revenue for the whole mall, which is less than the revenue of a mid-sized Meera or Lulu hypermarket.
Someone needs to tell Mr. Mohamed A.K. Al Emadi that not everyone can be a good businessman.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

There are non-Qataris in Qatar much richer than many Qataris !

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Not much richer but even though what you are saying is true, you must address it to the owner and his marketing guy who said it clearly in the text. This project is for Qataris and in particular for the 1% who do their luxury shopping abroad. It is not for us expats, or at least we are not the primary target. And do you think rich expats will waste their money in luxury stuff that they can get cheaper back home?

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

You took the last phrase from my mouth!

Edward
Edward
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Great point. The architecture is beautiful, for sure, but the business model, such as it is, seems insane.

As other commentors have said, there are many reasons why wealthy people don’t buy in Qatar — even the few high-end outlets that exist don’t provide the product assortment, service, overall customer experience, or ancillary tourism opportunities that shopping in Europe, east Asia, or even Dubai offers. There is no way that Al Hazm will solve these problems.

This is a white elephant. If it’s the owner’s own money, and he wants to create a notable project in Qatar out of national pride, or a place for himself and his friends to enjoy, then good for him. (With QAR 3B in construction starting six years ago, there is no way that this project could be profitable.) However, more likely this is funded directly and indirectly by the state (and state-owned banks) and he will not suffer the huge losses himself. Yet more welfare spread from the state to the rich elite; if I were a middle-class Qatari, I would not appreciate this.

By the way, the article mentions the VIP and VVIP areas; where is the VVVIP entrance?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Edward

When the VVVIP customers want something from a particular shop, the shop will pack all their stock into the back of a truck and drive it to the customers house and assemble a pop up shop in their living room.

PS – this project will be a huge success. And do you know how I know it will be a success? Because it will say so, in the Gulf Times.

Edward
Edward
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

You’re probably right. Then what about the VVVVIP customer base — what do they get?

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

I suggest that if there’s a large piece of white marble left over they get the Indian stonemasons to carve it into the shape of an elephant. Even if it did stack up (which I simply can’t believe) then it would be at the expense of other Malls. I do wonder about the headlines in Doha News after WC2022 has left town.

Corali Carvalho
Corali Carvalho
5 years ago

I could see from the beginning that was a very high quality shopping, it looks beautiful and is very close to my house. Good luck!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I guess the salary working in their PR department is very generous….

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago

I wonder why money was spent marketing this project on the Qatar Airways inflight entertainment, force viewed in the economy class cabin, when the target market is the 1% wealthiest in the country.

QMalabari
QMalabari
5 years ago

A benchmark in Qatar’s development, will attract wealthy GCC nationals to Qatar. Good luck!

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
5 years ago

so are the rest of us not allowed in? What is the point of the ‘mission to promote art, culture, ‘ when those who would benefit most, wont be allowed in. I cant believe that there enough people to make it pay. Personally, I don’t want to be known by my name when I go shopping,

Alhitmi
Alhitmi
5 years ago

it sounds too boring and probably will be empty most of the time, from they come up with these horrible ideas?!

Myrddin
Myrddin
5 years ago

Chocolate from Belgium
Cheese from France
Olive trees from Sicily
Tumble-weed from Arizona
Business plan from Pluto

It’s a winner!

Anna
Anna
5 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

lol

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago

That 1 % is based on the fact that at least 1% of rich people are ones with no education and sense of spending. Why buy an item online or straight from Italy when you can grab its last year’s model for 4 times its price 🙂

More malls please, there is still an immense need to 5 other malls like that one!

KK
KK
5 years ago

There is no comparison with the Galleria in Milan. Why always try to copy something from Europe? Who will go to this mall in the middle of nowhere.

Blue
Blue
5 years ago

How beautiful is the architecture. I just loved it but considering I’m not one of the 1% that is wealthy enough to be invited in (by name) nor the type that finds any of Qatar’s malls interesting i don’t quiet care for the concept. Economically though the business model seems flawed – I’d rather go to Europe, vacation and shop. Until Qatar improves infrastructure, safety measures, service delivery & entertainment this could become a new katara spot for bored individuals.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago

I was looking forward to visiting this “non-mall” for its library and beautiful architecture until I read this article. What a shame.

Why couldn’t they have created something unique and non-themed?! I have been to the real one in Milan and it is beautiful and full of character. I’m sure this one will be beautiful but its concept is terrible.

The Qataris they are targeting are the ones who are able to hop to a European city for the weekend. Why would they shop in Doha if they don’t already? Maybe they will spend money at these luxurious restaurants but several high end restaurants empty out after a few months and lead to their closure. Time will tell.

How will they verify the one percenters? Will you have to apply for membership? Show your bank statement upon entry? Pay a min charge per entry? Can’t wait for this to open, it will be interesting!

O
O
5 years ago

What a kind of marketing strategy!

Amber
Amber
5 years ago

Does Qatar really need more high end malls and shops? This mall will basically only appeal to locals since they are the only ones who have unlimited spending.

Maybe some Saudi tourist will shop there but that’s about it.

Uglymost69
Uglymost69
5 years ago

It is surprising to see so many jealous people discussing this ambitious project…..what a shame!!!

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Uglymost69

Loooolll

myloginname
myloginname
5 years ago

OMG I never shop at malls so I must be their target shopper! And I am wearing my favourite outfit I bought in Paris (at the Paris Flea Market!) €8! I’ll be right over Al Hazm! Will I need reservations at Nandos?

Anon
Anon
5 years ago

As grateful as I am for what Qatar offered me, reading this article makes me so glad I no longer live in the oppressive dusty, vacuous dump. More malls pretty much sums up the extent of the local imagination. What an awful place.

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