There is a divide emerging in Qatar’s construction sector. The government’s commercial real estate developments are being put on hold, while it is pressing forward with its public building plans.
With much of the region still feeling the impact of the global recession, Doha is continuing to invest large sums into public infrastructure projects. The country is currently tendering four public building projects totalling an estimated $1bn.
Doha will receive bids for the estimated QR1bn ($274m) National Library, QR1bn Qatar Foundation headquarters and the Faculty of Islamic studies by early August. Tender documents for the Qatar National Museum are expected to be issued by the end of September.
The client for the projects is the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Social Development.
Three of the new schemes will be be located in the Education City, Qatar Foundation’s flagship project that aims to develop Doha’s kowledge economy creating white collar jobs for future generations.
While Qatar’s government is determined not to allow the recession to derail its investment plans for the knowledge economy, the same cannot be said for the real estate sector.
The local Qatar National Hotels Company (QNH) recently put on hold its estimated $500m twin towers hotel project at Lusail City. It is unclear whether the company plans the scheme at a later date.
As one of the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar has the financial resources to develop.
The recent projects tendered show Doha will continue to use gas revenues to develop a more diverse and knowledge-based economy. Its faith in real estate projects does not appear to be as strong.