The developer of the Doha Festival City project is in talks with selected companies for the contract to build the schemes main shopping mall.

According to sources close to the project the detailed design work has been completed and a main contract award is expected later this year. Excavation work for the mall is also due to start in the coming months.

Work on other parts of the development is approaching completion. The Ikea store at the development is due to open by March. In October 2011, a joint venture of the local Qatari Arabian Construction Company (QACC) and the local Amana Qatar Contracting Company won the first major construction package. The estimated QR300m ($82m) contract involves building an Ikea store covering a total area of 32,000 square metres.

Located on the northern highway leading out of the capital, the development will include the main shopping mall, an entertainment park, two hotels and an auto park with car showrooms. The complex will cover a total area of 433,000 square metres. The brands that will open stores at the mall include Ikea, together with Marks & Spencer, Toys R Us, Ace Hardware, Intersport and other major regional retailers.

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

The developer completed the QR3.7bn ($1.6bn) financing for the development of the Doha Festival City mall in June last year. Debt is split between a QR2.8bn conventional bank tranche and a QR1.2bn Islamic bank tranche. Both have a tenor of 10 years and are priced at 150 basis points above the Qatar Central Bank reference rate.