By Alexander Hartmann, Coreo Real Estate
I arrived in Doha a decade ago in 2009, which was essentially when the local real estate market started to slow down after having witnessed many years of strong growth. The most prominent project at the time that suffered from this “mini crisis” was the new city Lusail due to the fact that private investors that purchased land in Lusail halted development of their investments until there was more clarity as to the direction of the market. Now ten years later and in the wake of the World Cup, investors have moved forward with development of their purchased real estate as we are witnessing a new skyline pop up in Lusail with various businesses, government entities, and residents starting to relocate to the new city.
Lusail, currently one of the largest master developments in the GCC, is located on the coast just north of Doha and alongside the Pearl Qatar. Lusail is Qatar’s major green and sustainable city project, the other being Msheireb’s Downtown development situated in Doha. Lusail’s ambitious and cutting-edge concepts not only reinforce the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) but will also offer a unique blend of modern culture, Qatari tradition, and Islamic architecture.
According to current planning, Lusail will be spread over 38 sq km with a waterfront location stretching over 28 kilometres. Lusail City’s 19 districts will host attractive residential areas, island resorts, modern marinas for berthing more than 1,800 boats and luxury yachts, commercial districts, luxury shopping, plenty of leisure facilities, two golf courses, man-made islands as well as several entertainment districts. Overall, Lusail will offer homes to more than 200,000 people and workspace to over 170,000 people. An additional 80,000 people are expected to visit its entertainment and recreation facilities daily. These numbers may grow in the future with a possible extension of the current city layout.
Lusail’s modern infrastructure will combine the Doha Metro with a Light Rail Network (LRT), and offer a water taxi transportation system, huge highways, as well as modern car parking facilities. Cycling and pedestrian networks together with plenty of vast green areas will cater to the lively and more dynamic components of the city, for example, 33 parks are planned for the Fox Hills district alone providing approximately 10.3 hectares of green space. One of the largest parks, Crescent Park, includes a forested area, playgrounds, water features, bike trails, kiosks, monuments and several sports fields. There are also roughly 3 kilometres of promenades in the Marina district along the waterfront.
Furthermore, Qatari Diar, the master developer of Lusail, has placed a large focus on developing sporting facilities and infrastructure in Lusail currently home to Lusail Sports Arena and Lusail International Circuit. The addition of the iconic Lusail Stadium, which will host the opening and final matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is an integral part of the master plan for “New Doha”. Once the tournament is over, Lusail Stadium will be transformed into a community space consisting of schools, shops, cafés, sporting facilities and health clinics making it a hub in the district.
Lusail’s state-of-the-art design and concept does not only consider the attractive architecture of buildings and modern infrastructure with LRT and Metro, but also the technical infrastructure below ground evident through the implementation of underground tunnels for maintenance works and the underground gas and chilled water networks. The city planning team also developed a new grid for the city, whereby power will be supplied via a network of stations and underground substations. Waste will also be transported through an underground vacuum system similar to the system on The Pearl Qatar. The government has also ensured the safety of Lusail’s visitors and residents through the implementation of central command stations for both the technical infrastructure and surveillance of the city.
The 200,000 future residents of Lusail will live in approximately 40,000 apartments, 90 townhouses and about 3,000 villas spread over 15 districts. Many of the residential developments have already been completed, and more are set to come available within the next four years creating great investment opportunities for local and international investors. The quality in terms of design and materials used of those new homes is generally higher than in the main areas of Doha. Due to the incomplete status of Lusail, rentals currently range below Doha’s average rates, and are forecasted to increase in the medium term.
The second largest real estate stock will become available in Lusail’s office market. This segment is divided into three main elements: business parks, corporate offices and standard offices. Total office space supply shall reach approximately 2 million sq metres over the next few years. Currently more than 300,000 sq metres is available in the Lusail Marina district, the number one office location for New Doha. According to available market data, occupancy levels range between 30 to 40% whilst rents are in the range of 80 QAR to 130 QAR per sq m per month excluding the service charge. After Lusail Marina, Energy City will play an important role in the Lusail office market.
Retail is another key component in the new city of Lusail, master developer Qatari Diar has dedicated 40 plots spread over 12 districts to retail developments offering great investment opportunities to local companies.
Entertainment and Leisure is the fourth “success” component for New Doha. Consequently, the heart of Lusail will be Entertainment City. This district will include a family entertainment centre, nature and snow attractions, and a waterpark spread across 241 acres. Entertainment City will be divided into five distinct districts; Downtown, Corniche, North Shore, South Shore and The Villas, each thematically and characteristically different from one another. The five areas will be connected via a canal and water taxis acting as the connecting transportation system.
Separate from Entertainment City, Al Qetaifan Islands will offer additional entertainment facilities. Phase One of the island project is set to be completed in Spring 2022, the second phase is expected to be completed before 2030. Phase One shall include an aqua park and a four-star hotel comprising of 400 rooms, as well as the infrastructure on an estimated area of 350,000 sq m from a total area of 1.4 million sq m. Phase Two will include a linear park, a mixed-use residential complex, a retail plaza, a Souq and staff accommodation.
Not forgetting the prestigious Place Vendôme development, which after completion will serve as an entertainment hub and shopping destination. Its stunning architecture combines classical and neoclassical styles bringing a touch of Paris to Qatar and making the entertainment centre a unique state-of-the art development. With a massive built up area of approximately 1,000,000 sq m, this development will be home to two five-star luxury hotels, serviced apartments, a mall with up to 400 retail outlets, and an exclusive luxury wing dedicated to top designer labels. Place Vendôme is scheduled to open in 2020.
The successful delivery of Lusail city is an important milestone for the country to achieve its ambitious plans for the Qatar National Vision 2030. Lusail will enhance and support the local economy as well as celebrate the region’s unique cultural and geographical heritage. On the podium of businesses and property investors, Lusail stands as Qatar’s number one future market. Due to the well thought through master plan, the area will become a vibrant and bustling hot spot that again will result in increased capital growth leaving only one question. When will you be investing in Lusail?
This article was first published in Trends Vol. 2