Qatar has been investing huge sums of money over the last decade on infrastructure projects and the trend looks set to continue – as much as US$120 billion will be allocated towards projects to be undertaken by 2020, although over US$200 billion has been set aside. This has been prompted largely by the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World CupTM, which requires 12 stadia, 90,000 hotel rooms and the infrastructure to accommodate more than 400,000 fans.
Projects are carried out in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims to move the country away from its dependance on oil and gas revenues into a knowledge‐based economy. Under the vision’s guidelines, projects should provide a high standard of living for future generations, with investments in education and research, healthcare, transport and industry. This will enable Qatar to sustain its own development by 2030. Qatar has laid out plans for a bold new future with the construction of an integrated transport system, a major overhaul of roads and highways, drainage and sewage, and the renovation of downtown Doha.
Qatar Tourism Authority is to invest US$20 billion on tourism infrastructure development in readiness for the 2022 FIFA World CupTM, building an extra 45,000 hotel rooms to meet the FIFA requirement of 60,000 rooms. Between 2012 and 2017, it is expected that 21 new hotels will open.
Public Works Authority, also known as Ashghal, will tender projects worth US$11 billion, part of a larger plan investing US$30 billion over the next five to seven years. Ashghal has 216 road projects valued at US$14 billion, and there are plans for 120 new buildings in 2013–14, costing US$4 billion.
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee recently signed five stakeholder agreements with Qatar Rail, Ashghal, Kahramaa, Aspire Zone Federation and Qatari Diar, all of which have projects related to delivering the infrastructure for the World Cup.
But the money for these projects has to come from somewhere. Thankfully Qatar sits on huge gas reserves, and revenues from oil and gas exports last year accounted for 50% of GDP (gross domestic product) and 70% of state revenues. Much of this year’s budget has been dedicated to infrastructure projects, with capital works set to be around 30% of all spending. A Qatar National Bank report shows expenditure could be as much as US$66 billion in 2013–14. Some key projects will be moved along after investment slowed in 2012; a number are set to be tendered this year, including the Doha metro.
All this construction is good news for both local and international businesses. The major contracts awarded in 2012 included US$1.2 billion to Siemens for a tram system in Qatar Foundation and a US$1.2 billion contract for Phase 2 works at the new port. In total, US$10.9 billion was awarded to construction and infrastructure projects, according to MEED, up from US$9.7 billion awarded in 2011.
One of the largest projects in Qatar, if not the region, at an estimated US$45 billion. Lusail City is developed by Lusail Real Estate Development Company (LREDC), a subsidiary of the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. Located north of Doha and over 38 sq km, it is master planned to accommodate 200,000 residents, 170,000 workers and 80,000 daily visitors.
The project was launched in 2004, and work on the first marina started in 2010 – it is now open to the public. In February 2012 LREDC signed a contract with local companies and Qatari Diar Vinci Construction for seven underground stations and a viaduct, and in May 2012 Ashghal was awarded a US$3.5 billion contract for the main construction of the Lusail Expressway. In April 2013 tenders were invited for Marina Mall, a 57,605 sq m and US$275 million complex.
Lusail City is mixed‐use, with residential and commercial districts, retail and leisure amenities, hotels and a golf course. Energy City will be the country’s centre for oil and gas companies, with 80 offices. Fox Hills district will cover 1.6 million sq m with housing for 40,000 residents, a 200‐bed hospital, 36 schools and 35 mosques. Master planning and feasibility study has now commenced. The expected completion date for the entire Lusail City project is 2020.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup means Qatar has had to think of new and improved ways of people moving around the country. According to Saad Al Muhannadi, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Rail, the integrated rail system will be an essential part of Qatar’s urban infrastructure and will be recognised as one of the most successful, safe and environmentally‐friendly railway systems in the world, while meeting the increasing demand of Qatar’s growing population.
The project began in 2009 with the establishment of Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC), a joint venture between Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and DB International from Germany. QRDC became Qatar Railways Company (QRail) in 2011, and priority was given to the Doha metro project.
QIRP features: a 195 km freight line between Ras Laffan and Mesaieed via Doha, which will link to Saudi Arabia and the planned GCC rail network; the construction of a 150 km connection to Bahrain; the development of a 165 km passenger and freight network between Dukhan, Al Shamal and Doha; a high‐speed link between the Hamad International Airport and Doha city centre, linked to Bahrain via causeway; a freight rail link forming part of the GCC rail network; a metro network in Doha; and a light rail system in Lusail. The budget is projected to be in excess of US$35 billion. The railway system needed for the World Cup will be operational by 2019, with the remainder in place by 2026.
Barwa City is a mixed‐use development in Mesaimeer from local developer Barwa Real Estate Company and will cost approximately US$8.2 billion to build. Phase 1 of the development comprises 6,000 apartments in 128 buildings, across 1.35 million sq m. The first units were completed in 2011 and were available to tenants in June 2012; currently over 50% are occupied. Phase 2 is currently in the early stages of feasibility analysis and design and will feature a 250‐bed hospital and a hotel.
When complete, the entire development will feature schools and nurseries, a health club, retail outlets, banks, mosques, restaurants and a variety of recreational facilities. The entire development will boast modern infrastructure and services including centralised air‐conditioning, one of the first centralised gas networks in Qatar, and district cooling system.
Downtown Doha (MDD), is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project, the restoration of a US$5.5 billion, 31 hectare site in the heart of Doha. Msheireb, meaning ‘a place to drink water’ in Arabic, will use the latest sustainable technologies to redevelop, regenerate and conserve historical downtown Doha.
The Master Plan comprises five phases. Phase 1A is the ‘Emiri Diwan Quarter’, which includes The Diwan Annex, the Emiri Guard and the National Archive. Subsequent phases include four hotels, residential and commercial office space, retail shops, restaurants, and a community and arts focus, with a cultural forum, school, nurseries and mosques. The project will have 226 buildings, house 27,600 residents, have parking for over 13,000 vehicles and feature a dedicated tramway.
The enabling and infrastructure works of Phase 1A are 100% complete; the main building works is due for completion in September and the Heritage Quarter in December 2013. Phases 1B, 1C, 2 and 3 will be completed in 2015, while Phase 4 is on hold pending finalisation of the Doha Metro structural system.
Located south of Doha, the US$7.4 billion megaproject includes a new port, a new base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and Qatar Economic Zone 3 – at 26.5 sq km this is one of the world’s largest greenfield port developments. Since construction began in January 2011, contractors have excavated over 50% of the Port Basin, improved more than 5.1 sq km of the ground, placed over 7,500 pre‐cast concrete blocks in the Quay Walls, and completed over 2.7 km of marine breakwaters.
The New Port is due to open in 2016 and will comprise three container terminals with a combined annual capacity of more than six million containers. The port will also accommodate general cargo traffic, half a million imported vehicles, 750,000 livestock imports, one million tons bulk grain imports, offshore support vessels, coastguard vessels, and a marine support unit. A new base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces will be built offshore, offering technical support, comprehensive logistic facilities, material support accommodation and recreational services.
The Qatar Economic Zone 3 (QEZ3) will be a self‐contained development with industrial and residential facilities, lying adjacent to the New Port. QEZ3 will be an important gateway into Qatar, providing an economic hub around the Port for manufacturing, logistics and trade across a number of industrial sectors.
One of the highlights of 2013 so far has been the opening of the long‐awaited Ikea store at Doha Festival City. Located 15 km north of Doha, the US$1.65 billion retail site is one of the largest in Qatar. Doha Festival City is owned and developed by Bawabat Al Shamal Real Estate Company (BASREC), with shareholders including Al Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) and private Qatari companies.
Inspiration for its design is taken from the four elements giving it four individual interior zones: Water Concourse, Garden Promenade, Rainforest Boardwalk and Fashion Galleria. It will include a mall, an entertainment park and two hotels, covering 434,000 sq m. Total leasing space is 260,000 sq m and, aside from the enormous 32,000 sq m Ikea store, there is allocation for over 500 retail units. There will be parking for 8,500 vehicles. The design work is already completed and excavation for the mall is underway. The project is likely to be finished by 2016.
For more information about Qatar’s culture and traditions, pick up Marhaba issue no 57 Autumn 2013 for only QR20 from any hypermarket or bookstore in Qatar.
Author: Sarah Palmer