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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Report: Doha’s downtown convention center to open in November

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All images courtesy of Qatari Diar

What is reputed to be one of the largest exhibition and conference halls in the world is set to finally open its doors in two months’ time, a Qatar tourism official has confirmed.

The opening of the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), located behind City Center Mall in Dafna/West Bay, comes more than two years later than the previously-announced completion date.

DECC interior
DECC interior

The 90,670 sq meter complex will host its inaugural event, the fifth Civil Defense expo, from Nov. 2 to 4.

According to the Peninsula, the Qatar Tourism Authority’s Director of Exhibitions Hamad Al Abdan told reporters this week:

“DECC is fully completed. The operator has been appointed and is managing it now.”

The center has five halls that total 32,000 square meters. Its ceilings are 19m high and don’t have any columns, which enables event organizers to more easily bring in boats, cars and other heavy equipment, according to the developer, Qatari Diar Real Estate Co.

Each hall can accommodate up to 3,500 delegates and the spaces can be merged to create one single venue, said to be one of the largest convention spaces in the world.

There will also be parking for nearly 5,000 vehicles in the basement, a kitchen which can prepare meals for 3,000 guests, 21 larger conference/meeting rooms and 21 smaller meeting rooms as well as VIP rooms, a bank and coffee shops.

No tower

However, there is still no sign of the 550m-high tower that had been originally planned to sit on the eastern edge of the site, adjacent to the center.

Rendering of DECC tower
Rendering of DECC tower

Designed by US-based architects Jahn, the obelisk was slated to be the second-tallest tower in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai when the scheme was drawn up, and was supposed to house office space, a hotel and apartments.

Though work on the tower foundations began several years ago, the project encountered numerous problems early on. Construction stalled in early 2012 amid concerns that the 112-story structure would obstruct planes from taking off and landing at the old Doha International Airport.

When Hamad International Airport opened last April, it was hoped that work on the site would resume, but this has not happened, and its initial completion date of 2012 fast disappeared.

Tourism officials hope that the downtown conference complex, which is not to be confused with Doha Exhibition Center near Katara or Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) by Education City, will help boost business visitors to the city.

(QTA) has previously said that business and conference tourism are a key part of its strategy to boost Qatar’s visitor numbers by 20 percent in the next five years.

In June, QTA announced that the center would be managed by ELAN Qatar (formerly q.media) and Fira Barcelona.

The convention center is also supposed to have an underground tunnel that will link it with the Corniche and Sheraton Park.

While the Sheraton hotel reopened to the public in November last year after a seven-month refurbishment, the park has remained fenced off and officials have been unable to say when it will actually open.

Thoughts?

14 COMMENTS

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Cerebus
Cerebus
5 years ago

There will be a viewing platform to look at the giant hole where the tower was going to be….

Flammable
Flammable
5 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

Apparently they have back-filled that giant hole and hid a treasure at the bottom of it.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago

I’m cringing at the congestion this is going to cause in the already traffic heavy westbay when there is an event in the center.

Naser
Naser
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

this is the main point.
am sure no one take care about traffic situations..only nice mass and let the the people suffer to find car park.
such buildings need 80% of land aaved as open area for carparks..this is my domain…

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  Naser

Even if they have plenty of parking. My concern are all the cars waiting in line to go into the parking lot. This will most likely be backed up on to the main road when there is an event.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

the parking is open for more than 6 months now. no more traffic was caused

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Yes but the convention center is not open yet. I am talking about when events/conferences start.

Oz
Oz
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Parking is open now, but the carpark is just being used by the offices around it and no large scale events have taken place. If you have an major exhibition or convention with +6,000 people or more arriving at around the same time where are the ample drop off points for taxis and how easily accessible is it to park your car and attend the event? Are there multiple entry points for cars to park in the centre that are not single file lanes? How are you going to easily access the tall office buildings that surround the convention center if you work there, have a meeting or require services of any one of the large number of companies and government agencies around there?

It is right next door to the City Centre mall, where is the bridge or tunnel linking the mall with the convention centre? There is none meaning there will be a constant flow of people walking to and from the city centre and slowing the already snail pace traffic movements.

Once again bad planning, poor infrastructure and little thought of how people and traffic flow in and around an already busy area. Comparing traffic flow now to when an event is on is like comparing a banana to an apple – they are both fruit, but that is where the comparison ends.

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

There is absolutely no pedestrian management to be seen in this area, delegates will be staying in nearby Marriott, Shangri La and moving on foot between the two as it stands now is a death trap. MMUP approve these developments with little regard to safety. At the Shangri La end the footpath is 30cm wide with a metre wide garden bed next to it. It already forces pedestrians onto a busy fast 3/4 lane stretch of road when try to get to Beverley Hiils Tower area or Sheraton Park. It is not useuable at all with a stroller and 2 people can’t pass without one going onto the road. West Bay is just a shambles. Mowsalat and CC can’t even work together to enforce safe disembarkment for taxis and buses, crazy situation at 5pm with pedestrians, cars, buses, taxis. Look at Asas Tower, again approved by MMUP without one guest park, it’s two huge towers with a restaurant, grocery store and yoga studio. management then closed the drop off circle forcing its own residents and guests to disembark on diplomatic street which frequently has people going 100km. I realise Doha has many worse dangerous areas but jeez what a way to show off the city to international guests.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

You are right the traffic will be a disaster especially if they organize an event in the morning time where all office are open around the convention center!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I guess the issue with the tower is that all that land in west bay is reclaimed land, so the foundations would be a huge problem to support such a large structure.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

I do not get the point here about tourism officials hoping to boost conference and business tourism in Qatar with this building. Did they not see how the 2 other convention centers are most of the time empty? Did they not notice that one of them was even transformed into offices for QTA and other bodies, with a smaller space left for exhibitions and conferences? By the way, what’s going on this week at the QNCC? I bet it will be empty and closed as usual.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

What’s happening at QNCC this week? Well, according to the QNCC website this week is the same as next week. Indeed there is NOTHING happening there at all for the entire month of September, according to the website.
Perhaps the website isn’t up to date?
(Meanwhile, in Dubai…. http://dwtc.com/en/events/Pages/default.aspx#.Ve_UAtKqpHw )

Ali
Ali
5 years ago

i read the article quickly to because i wanted to know how many car parks there will be which i think 5000 will be sufficient.

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