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UAE’s Futtaim, QIB, Aqar in $1.6 bln Qatar project

Companies to develop Qatar's largest mixed-use project.

September 5, 2010 4:24 by

UAE conglomerate Al-Futtaim Group, Qatar Islamic Bank and Qatar’s Aqar Real Estate Investment signed a 6 billion dirham ($1.63 billion) deal to develop a large retail and leisure project in Doha.

The project, in line with Qatar’s plans to diversify its economy, is expected to become the country’s largest multi purpose complex with construction scheduled to begin in early 2011, the companies said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The planned mixed-use project will include a retail centre, an entertainment park and two hotels, spreading over 433,000 square metres of land.

Completion will take place over three phases with the first retail phase expected to be concluded in the first-quarter of 2012, and the remaining two by 2015.

Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of LNG, did not witness the same flawed speculative building model which imploded and caused house prices to tumble some 55 percent from their peaks in Dubai.

Qatar is positioning itself as a cultural hub in the region, building museums and setting aside $20 billion for tourism until 2013.

Al-Futtaim is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the Gulf Arab region, developing large mixed use projects including Dubai Festival City and Cairo Festival City.

Bawabat Al-Shamal, which includes Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Aqar Real Estate Investment Company and a private company — will own and develop the project as well as supply land.

“Qatar has a rapidly expanding population, strong diversified financial standing and its local citizens possess a high level of disposable income,” the statement said.

QInvest, the largest Islamic investment bank in Qatar, was appointed as a financial advisor to all parties.

Qatar Islamic Bank owns a 49 percent stake in Aqar Real Estate Investment.

(Reporting by Tamara Walid; Editing by Jason Benham)

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