The UAE based Al-Futtaim Group, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) and the local Aqar Real Estate Investment Company have signed a QR6bn ($1.6bn) joint venture agreement to build an entertainment and retail complex in Doha.

The multi-use development will located on the northern highway, which will link Doha International Airport with the proposed Bahrain causeway.

The development will include a retail centre, entertainment park and two hotels. The complex will cover a total area of 433,000 square metres. The project will be divided into three phases.

Construction is expected to start in early 2011, with the first retail phase scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2012. The remaining two phases are expected to be completed by 2015.

The project is owned and developed by Bawabat al-Shamal, the parent company which is supplying the land to build the project. Bawbat al-Shamal comprises of four primary shareholders: Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, QIB, Aqar Real Estate Investment Company and a private company.

Al-Futtaim Group has been planning a multi-billion-dollar mixed-use scheme in Doha, similar to its existing $5bn Festival City shopping and residential complex in Dubai since last year (MEED 28:8:10).