Posted on March 22, 2011

Qatar’s major Real Estate developers and investment firm Barwa is setting up an integrated automotive township, spread over an area exceeding 1.8mn sq m. Company officials said the city, to be called the Baraha Motor City, would be the first of its kind in the whole of the Middle East.

The announcement was made by senior Barwa officials at a meeting attended by, among others, members of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) and representatives of several Qatari-owned business houses.

The city would provide an array of services to dealers of large, medium and small vehicles as well as maintenance and service facilities. Insurance, finance and banking houses too would be included in the proposed project that also envisages a large parking space for trailers as well as storage facility for heavy equipment.

QCCI board member Mohamed Mehdi al-Ahbabi described the township, expected to come up about 14km south west of Doha, as one of the “major projects” of the region. He said the parking facility for city-bound and out-bound trucks hopes to be the largest of its kind in the world.

“The actual value of the project could be measured in terms of its utility to end-users and not just from the revenues likely to be accrued from the whole project, said the QCCI official, adding that the proposed truck parking slots would help solve the problems of truck owners of smaller companies. “The issue of trucks clamouring for space even in the city’s densely populated areas and the suburbs would be over with the opening of the automotive city.”

The QCCI considers the motor city project as a role model for other entrepreneurs to launch similar initiatives to meet the actual requirements of the country’s end users in the automotive industry, said the chamber official.

Barwa Real Estate Investments director Ibrahim Yousef Fakhroo said the proposed city’s first phase consists of several purpose-built automobile showrooms and would be ready in about three years time. “We will make efforts to get the entire project ready for use in five years,” he assured.

The initial investment for the first phase of the ambitious project would be not less than QR2bn. The city would feature showrooms for both new and used cars as well as other small and large vehicles, with each capable of accommodating between 30 and 60  vehicles at one time, Fakhroo said.

The Barwa official said even though something similar to the proposed motor city is already in existence in the UAE, Barwa’s project would be unique as far as its infrastructure facilities were concerned. “Either towards the end of this year and or in the beginning of the next year, a significant portion of the first phase of the city would be ready for potential clients to have a look at its facilities,” said Fakhoo.

Asked if the city would be built by Barwa alone, the official replied that there would be some stakeholders in the process of its development.  “However, the Barwa alone would build the structure for the entire complex,” said Fakhroo.

The prospective tenants could design their allotted space depending on their actual requirements, he added. Motor City acting project manager Mohamed Saleh Abdulla al-Hiji said project would combine all requirements of the automotive industry in one place. The entire project, he said, is being conceived in line with the Qatar National Vision of 2030.

Replying to a query on whether the country’s entire automotive sector would ultimately be shifted from Doha city to the proposed township, Al-Hiji said the city would perhaps provide a number of incentives to attract the city’s automobile dealers to the new location.

“However, there would not be any compulsion on the automobile dealers to move to the Barwa Motor City,” he said, while pointing out that there are about 25 major automobile dealers who have set up their facilities in the Industrial Area.

“The main idea behind the entire project is to provide the stakeholders in the country’s automobile industry the spaces that they are looking for at rates affordable to them,” added the project manager.