In an effort to reduce congestion in central Doha, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has launched a new commercial concept to bring together bakeries, grocery stores, laundry services, banking options, pharmacies and other outlets in one place.
The initiative, titled Al Furjan Markets, is being developed in neighborhoods that are far from the city, making it easier for residents in these areas to access important services without having to drive into Doha.
The project would also include taxi stops, post offices and ATMs. It is the result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Qatar Chamber and the Central Bank (QCB).
Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Ahmed Bin Jassim Al Thani, cited Qatar’s growing population as the main motivation for the initiative.
So far, the MMUP has allocated a total of 44 pieces of land for the project, including:
- Al Thamama (four complexes);
- Ain Khaled (four);
- Hazm Al Markhiya (three);
- Laqtifia (seven);
- Jeryan Nejeema (three);
- Rawdat Al Hamama (nine);
- Al Aab (four);
- Rawdat Qadeem (six); and
- Al Merad (four).
Notably, officials said this plan is different from an earlier initiative to construct nine commercial zones in Doha and nearby municipalities to replace many of the 7,000+ neighborhood shops (baqalas) that are currently sprinkled in residential areas across Qatar.
Phases one and two of Al Furjan Markets were launched in 2013 and have already been completed. They involved the construction of some 40 complexes, for a total of 298 shops.
In the third and last phase, which is expected to be completed by year-end, 290 more commercial units will become available, for a total of 600 stores.
In addition to reducing traffic in Doha, officials said they hope the initiative helps bolster Qatar’s economy.
According to the Peninsula, Qataris can register online to enter a lottery for a license to operate one of the shops starting May 11.
The newspaper adds that there are already complaints from local businessmen about the shop rent (QR6,000/month) being too high.
However, Chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani insisted yesterday that the markets would contribute to correcting prices of essential commodities and provide shops with reasonable rents.
He added that the design and architecture of the place would reflect Qatar’s distinctive tradition, heritage and culture.