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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Qatar’s Aspire Zone to add new sport venues, mall in massive expansion

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Aspire Zone

Updated on Thursday, Oct. 16 with more information about location of expansion

Officials at Qatar’s Aspire Zone have said they are readying plans to nearly double the size of the local sports hub by adding new venues, recreational areas and additional aquatic facilities.

The vision for the property, located west of central Doha next to Villaggio mall, also includes restaurants, residential areas and a new 68,000-square-meter shopping center, dubbed Aspire Park Mall.

Templar’s remarks appear to confirm previously reports of plans for an additional shopping center in Aspire.

Aspire mall renderingRenderings posted on the websites of engineering firm Meinhardt and architect Promontorio appear to display a retail concourse constructed beneath a grassy slope. In addition to shops and restaurants, the project includes a kids entertainment area, education facilities and a botanical gardens, according to Meinhardt.

Speaking at a conference in Paris last week, Phillip Templar, the director of venues and events at Aspire Zone’s logistics division, said, as quoted by Doha Stadium Plus:

“There’s a growing demand within Qatar for more facilities for the sports and events industry … We see at least 1,000 events a year. With the addition of the new facilities, we expect the number to touch new highs.”

The cost of the expansion has not been disclosed.

Templar was not immediately available for comment today.

Aspire evolution

When it was founded in 2003, the 250-hectare property next to what is now Villaggio Mall was called Sports City. The name was changed to the Aspire Zone in 2006, the same year Qatar hosted the Asian Games.

Along with a large public park and Villaggio, the precinct already includes two hotels, the Aspire Academy training center, a sports medicine and orthopaedic hospital as well as several athletic venues including the Hamad Aquatic Center and Khalifa International Stadium.

The latter is currently undergoing a refurbishment that includes adding more seats as well as a new roof so it can be used as a venue for the 2022 World Cup.

2014 FINA World Cup / swim / swimming / swimmer

In the run-up to the international football tournament, Qatar has been working to brand itself as a sporting hub by hosting major athletic events such as next year’s Handball World Championships and the FINA World Swimming Championships, which will take place in December at the Hamad Aquatic Center.

While many venues are geared towards professional athletes, Aspire Zone is also aimed at encouraging local residents to lead a more active lifestyle through, for example, a new bike rental service and cycling path as well as programming during Qatar National Sports Day.

What’s planned

The expansion is still at the high-level planning stage and is envisioned to take place over the next five years on the western portion of the Aspire Zone, next to Aspire printing press.

According to a separate story published by Inside World Football, Templar said the project would consist of flexible sports and event facilities “and could potentially include any number of developments ranging from multipurpose venues, indoor and outdoor recreational areas, areas for children, aquatic facilities, restaurants and residential areas.”

A new “Qatar Lab” is also being set up inside the Aspire Dome to train young football players ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

The expansion of the Aspire Zone is one of two major projects planned for the area. In a separate initiative, the Doha Zoo – located directly south of Aspire – is being completely redeveloped and is scheduled to reopen to visitors in late 2017.

Thoughts?

27 COMMENTS

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Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

Please stop building shopping malls.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Agree…especially in close proximity to other malls. On the other hand land for schools seems to be in short supply…

dubious
dubious
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

especially right next to each other!

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Qatar is really good at commissioning pretty pictures of projects. But has anything ever turned out looking as fantastical as the pictures? That would make an interesting tumblr blog: Qatar before and after pictures, artist renderings vs. real life.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Because all the pretty pictures are produced at the concept stage of the project and are based on the Client’s (whoever that might be) utopian wishes/dreams/fantasies as conveyed to the consultant in some coffee bar at the dead of night, without any budget considerations. What happens then is that the concept is costed, followed by many sharp intakes of breath before reality sets in. That’s why the final product looks nothing like the pictures. The waste of time, effort, and money resulting from this flawed process is enormous. I kid you not in anything that I’ve written

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Thank goodness for that. We’re really short of Malls and especially in Aspire where we only have two. Actually I can only assume that Qatar’s planning strategy is based purely on the desire of the individual Sheiks to corner the market in Mall’s on their patch of Doha and is totally unrelated to the demand in Doha as a whole. Will Qatar’s population not decrease at some time in the future, and if so who will use all these malls?

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

More malls, more traffic congestion. Like how’s the extension on Villagio into the already over crowded car park? Here’s a thought build some car parks as well you numpties. And to what end? 300 thousand citizens and a city being built to support 100 times that?

smd
smd
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Lol…but apparently to
get in the top 10 most wondrous cities in the world (as per recent article), it
was observed that they needed more artificial attractions and minimum of one
mall per capita to offset the otherwise barren landscape…..oh yeah and also to
support their top 2 ranking as the world highest carbon footprint per person 🙂

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Who needs parking? We can always double park people and go watch a movie. If the double parking is also full, we can always drive our landcruisers onto the footpaths and park it. Who uses footpaths in Qatar anyway?

Fred Watson
Fred Watson
6 years ago

Let’s hope they consider building an indoor velodrome. Much needed in Qatar, it would be well used by elite and amateur cyclists alike, and would fit in perfectly within the Aspire Zone.

Em
Em
6 years ago

So… you’re going to do away with the big grassy area (in effect, the park) of Aspire Park… to build a mall. Because Villaggio and Hyatt malls on the same piece of land are somehow not enough. Only in Doha does anyone ask “how can we up our athleticism to truly world-class standards?” and the answer comes back “let’s build another mall!” I, however, am getting a fantastic workout from much shaking of my head.

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  Em

The development will be close to Aspire Zone, not Park – so the grassy areas should be ok.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

If you look closely at the rendering on page 2 of the link you provided http://www.meinhardtgroup.com/mena/Meinhardt_Mena_News_V01.pdf

The mall will be behind Hyatt Plaza, across the road from Villagio.

What you can see in the top left of that image is the rear of Villagio mall (where the cinema is) and on the top right is the read of Hyatt Plaze. This means the mall will be built over the existing parking area behind Hyatt.

This agrees with a concept design which can be viewed on Skyscrapercity.com

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1740446&langid=6

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

If the Aspire facilities are open to the public, it’s news to me. From what I have experienced, everything is under lock & key. Doubling the size and actually allowing the public to use the facilities would be amazing. Much more amazing than another Body Shop or H&M.

smd
smd
6 years ago

Lol…but apparently to
get in the top 10 most wondrous cities in the world (as per recent article), it
was observed that they needed more artificial attractions and minimum of one
mall per capita to offset the otherwise barren landscape…..oh yeah and also to
support their top 2 ranking as the world highest carbon footprint per person

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  smd

After the LC event on the weekend they’ll be #1

Jordan
Jordan
6 years ago

What Doha needs is Multiple Sports Centers (hint : not malls) in all corners of the town so people can have a sport options in their own neighborhood. Doha is a Sports City after all – right?

Shaiju
6 years ago

more malls, Qatar desperately need more malls

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

“There’s a growing demand within Qatar for more facilities for the sports and events industry … We see at least 1,000 events a year. With the addition of the new facilities, we expect the number to touch new highs.” ……..The only new ‘High’ is that statement.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Like the headline in Times the other day that the MICE group declared Qatar the new world destination for conferences because they hosted 1900 people over the past year. I’ve been to conferences in the states that host that at one event.

DickDePilot
DickDePilot
6 years ago

Have scoured the comments for a positive response to this latest news and, so far, have failed to find any. Sorry, but I can’t contribute in a positive way either 🙂

Greeker
Greeker
6 years ago

Hello guys, please let’s not jump the gun here. Whoever said the mall was going to be based inside the existing ASPIRE Park? Did it ever occur to anyone that the new mall might be inside the new development, which would actually double the size of Aspire Zone?

This is the master plan. The shaded area is where the new development will happen. It’s the huge tarred area right in front of ASPIRE Printing Press, all the way to the new road. So instead of just blindly criticisng/shaking heads, try to get the facts. Thanks.

Greeker
Greeker
6 years ago
Reply to  Greeker

Well, where is the picture I uploaded? Why isn’t that showing?

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  Greeker

Just added it to the story.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Greeker

According to this, yes, the mall WILL be in Aspire park, if this press release is to be believed:

“There will also be expansion of retail and entertainment facilities with the creation of the 68,000 sq m Aspire Park Mall which will complement the existing Villagio Mall.”

From how I read this statement, their intention is to ‘develop’ where there is currently the park/lake/grass areas, ie the western half of the park. So bye-bye park and hello to residential developments, more restaurants etc. Great, just what Doha needs. Less parks, more buildings.

“Templar says the second phase of the master plan is an extension of the west part of Aspire Zone that will provide more flexible sports and event facilities “and could potentially include any number of developments ranging from multipurpose venues, indoor and outdoor recreational areas, areas for children, aquatic facilities, restaurants and residential areas.””

http://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-cup/62-qatar/15596-aspire-zone-unveils-plans-to-double-its-size-over-next-5-years

Greeker
Greeker
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Michael, from the google map image rendering they have of the new development, it is NOWHERE near the current existing park. From what I understand, they plan to extend the park to totally new areas and the mall is supposed to be inside the new extension. Only if I could upload that picture, you could understand it more clearly.

I also saw a rendering of the mall. It integrates green area as a sloped roof on top of the mall. I don’t think I make much sense here, do I?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Greeker

Just post a link to the image from wherever it is located.

I just have difficulty understanding how a senior staff member can say that the new expansion will be toward the west, while you are saying that in face it is in completely the opposite direction – the north east.

Has Aspire hired someone who can’t even work out how to read a compass?

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