This March will see the much anticipated opening of the largest entertainment and retail development in the Gulf, Doha Festival City.
When the QAR6.5bn ($1.8bn) mixed-use development open its gates for the public in March, it will be home to more than 500 international and local brands along with entertainment offerings and food and beverages (F&B) outlets.
Trevor Hill, general manager, Doha Festival City Mall told The Peninsula in an exclusive interview that the mall is in the final development phase and will open to the public in March 2017.
He said: “On the opening day, the majority of the mall will open including the two main hallways, the Centre Courtand North Food Court.”
He added that the opening celebrations will begin from this time with ongoing events, while entertainment and activities will then follow over the next few months.
Spread over a gross building area the equivalent size of 94 football pitches and a gross leasable area of 244,000m², the development is expecting over 20 million guests within the first year of opening.
The executive continued: “We have a phased approach to bring our remaining key attractions on line, by April 2017 we will launch the second food court – in the south of the Mall, and the Luxury Wing.”
He added that the theme parks will also open throughout Q2– with the immersive digital gaming venue Virtuocity set to be the first of the four, followed by Angry Birds World, Snow Dunes and Juniverse.
Prominent brands set to open include the international department stores: Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Centrepoint and BHS and Harvey Nichols – a first for Qatar, as well as the first ACE Hardware store in the country.
The international retail franchise operator M H Alshaya Co has publicized that 45 of their primary brands will open at Doha Festival City, with several ‘market firsts’ on the books, Hill added.
Other well-known international brands set to open include the LEGO Store, JCrew, Victoria’s Secret and Muji.
Hill said that the F&B visitors “will be spoilt for choice, with the opening of more than 100 places to dine and relax including restaurants, cafes, and casual dining outlets” including Serendipity 3, Abdul Wahab Lebanese Restaurant, as well as top international eateries, among which are Texas Roadhouse, Hummingbird Bakery, Bouchon, Eataly and The Cheesecake Factory.
The mall will be host to Monoprix Hypermarket, the French retail chain which is set to open its largest store worldwide at the mall, covering 7,000m².
The hypermarket will boast more than 35,000 top quality goods within its location, including several product lines that will be new and exclusive to Qatar.
Hill added: “VOX Cinemas will also be part of our offerings and there will be 18 screens available with four new concepts completely unique to Doha Festival City,” he said, setting Doha Festival City apart from other destinations.
“Our vision was to create a space for the whole community to come together and celebrate the best leisure facilities, retail mix and hospitality, all with exceptional service. Our much loved brands along with entertainment offerings and F&B outlets will provide visitors with a comprehensive combination that will appeal to guests of every age.
“In addition to our retail offerings, we will have four unique family friendly theme parks to give our guests a range of fun experiences,” he said.
Included in the offerings are sports facilities that encourage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle as well as a range of green spaces with outdoor facilities, free of charge and include two outdoor basketball courts and a three-kilometer trail circling the Mall with numerous routes for both running and cycling.
“Our media partner, Elan Media will also provide best-in-class turnkey solutions to the Mall, which will enable brands to reach up to millions of visitors per year with their state-of-the art in-mall advertising.
“Three new formats never seen before in Qatar will be viewed by our guests and include ‘The Axis, The Runway and The Torch’,” he added.