$660M Qatar Center On Track

Construction of the $660 million Qatar National Convention Center is right on schedule, with 40 percent expected to be completed by the end of this year and the final phase ready by the end of 2010.

AEG Ogden, a joint venture between Anschutz Entertainment Group and Ogden of Australia, has the exclusive on the building and a management contract with the Center for five years from the official opening, according to the Peninsula of Qatar.

“[AEG’s] managing such venues and the prospect of bringing acts like [Justin]Timberlake and [Celine] Dion are plus points for us,” Center GM Paul D’Arcy told the paper.

The Center will feature 57 meeting rooms and 40,000 square meters of exhibition space. There’s a multipurpose hall with seating for 4,000, a 2,500-seat tiered auditorium, a 500-seat theatre and banquet seating for 4,000.

The venue, which is located in Education City, will feature a tree-like façade to symbolize the Sidra tree. The Peninsula noted this feature has been a challenge for builders but it will be accomplished.

Rather than focusing on attracting leisure visitors, Qatar is concentrating on bringing in high-spending delegates through conventions, sporting events and major meetings.

“The convention business is very competitive with several other centres having come up in the region and worldwide. With the Convention Center, Qatar can benefit not just through prestige but economic impact as well. Delegates tend to spend far more than leisure visitors,” D’Arcy said.

He added Qatar is working on lining up potential conventions for the Center and pursuing more than 50 leads.