Talk about a big statement.
Saturday, April 8, marks the official grand opening of the massive Mall of Qatar, which encompasses 500,000 square meters. (For those not on the metric system, that’s roughly 5.4 million square feet, or about 93 NFL football fields.)
The $1.48 billion regional mall was developed by Qatar-based UrbaCon Trading & Contracting Co. and is being billed as a new type of entertainment complex. In addition to shopping and dining, it features a hotel, movie theater, kids’ activities and “the world’s first 360-degree in-mall revolving stage,” which will host live performances by a resident troupe.
For the grand opening, the mall has planned stage shows featuring 20 kung fu masters demonstrating ancient martial arts culture, plus the vocal group Il Divo.
While the Mall of Qatar is not the largest shopping center in the world — that honor remains with the South China Mall in Dongguan, China, which has a reported 660,000 square meters of leasable space — it does have a prime location, right next to the Al Rayyan Stadium, home of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Of course, it boasts a robust lineup of shopping options. As of December, when the Qatari mall held its soft opening, it was 99 percent leased, with 220 stores operational. At full occupancy, it could hold roughly 500 retail shops.
More than a dozen footwear and fashion brands are already selling in the mall, including Adidas, Aldo, Birkenstock, Vans, Ecco, Timberland, DKNY, Tory Burch and Steve Madden.
In a statement issued in December, Ahmed Al Mulla, CEO of the Mall of Qatar, explained the property’s early success: “Mall culture plays a large role in Middle Eastern and, especially, [Gulf coast] society. We are pushing the boundaries and elevating the mall experience with our brand-new and innovative offering. Today, we are setting super-regional standards for shopping malls and bringing the concept of retail-tainment to life.”