By Layan Damanhouri
DOHA — In the midst of recent construction and rising projects in the growing city of Doha, one particular gem catches the attention of residents and visitors and is set to open next month.
It’s not a mall, according to the project’s developer Al Emady Enterprises that intended to create a unique attraction in the heart of Qatar.
Al Hazm, designed to be the ultimate luxury destination for shopping enthusiasts, will finally open after 3 billion Qatari riyals (over $823 million) was invested in the project, QR1 billion above the original budget.
“Any project being built should be an added value to the country. It needs to be different than what already exists,” said the company’s CEO, Mohamed Abdulkareem Al Emady during a private tour of Al Hazm with journalists this month.
Built in-house in European continental style in its grand dome, pillars, and arches with rare materials such as original Tuscan marble from Italy and stone from Palestine, the site comprises a gallery for shops, outdoor spaces for entertainment, and dining terraces. The opposite side of the site looks over a slight hill, which gives the name of Al Hazm in Arabic, with the skyline of Doha in the distance.
Importing stone from Palestine was initially a challenge, but the developer said it eventually succeeded in doing so to create the project totaling to 60,000 tons of stone and marble.
The 105,159-square-meter venue was modeled as shopping arcades during 18th century Europe and is regarded by architects as rare architectural designs of modern times. “Nobody designs this style anymore today,” said Al Emady who considers architecture the best feature of Italy and should be brought home to Qatar.
To face the Gulf’s harsh heat during the year, the white marble flooring is designed to be cool and heat-absorbent in addition to the state-of-the-art ventilation system set in place.
Al Emady described Al Hazm to be a bustling social scene of the elite and the ultimate fashion paradise for shoppers. Exclusive brands in retail and high-end restaurants are not enough to deliver the luxury experience, which will be coupled with luxury services, the developer announced.
“It’s an investment for the long-term,” Al Emady told Saudi Gazette. “The project aims to attract Qatari families, tourists, and visitors during the 2022 Fifa World Cup to a destination unlike all the malls we’re used to.
Its returns are not going to be anytime soon like any typical mall or project, however, but I feel I gave something to my country. This is our role as the private sector.”
Investing at home in such a massive project shows the private sector’s trust in the government and its vision of the economy in the future, Al Emady further said. “We are optimistic in the future of this region,” he noted. “We also want to show that as Arabs and Khaleeji nationals, we can deliver something of this quality to the world.”