Contractors have been approached to express interest in the main construction packages for the planned QR6bn ($1.6bn) Doha Festival City development in Qatar.

The multi-use development will be built on the northern highway, which will link Doha International airport with the proposed Qatar-Bahrain causeway. The client for the project is the UAE’s Al-Futtaim Group.

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

Brands that will open stores at the mall include Ikea, Marks & Spencer, Toys R Us, Ace Hardware and Intersport. The first retail phase is scheduled for completion in 2012. The remaining two phases are expected to be completed by 2015.

The mall will be owned and developed by Bawabat al-Shamal, which is supplying the land to build the project. Bawabat al-Shamal comprises four shareholders: Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank, Aqar Real Estate Investment Company and one other private company.

The Festival City project is one of a number of new shopping malls planned in Qatar.

Local developer Equinox has received bids from at least nine companies on 10 April for the contract to build the estimated QR1.5bn ($412m) Northgate Shopping Mall in Doha.

The project will cover a total area of 417,500 sq m.

The work will involve the construction of the shopping mall and office buildings. The project is expected to take 30 months to complete. The shopping complex was designed by the US-based architecture firm Callison. The consultant for the project is the local office of Lebanon’s Associated Consulting Engineers (Ace). The mall development will contain shopping units, a supermarket and a cinema, as well as food and beverage outlets (MEED 15:4:11).