A popular retail and recreation complex near the Industrial Area that caters to Qatar’s low-income workforce has changed its name as it prepares to open several new amenities.
West End Park, which encompasses several cinemas, a cricket pitch, amphitheater and shopping centers including the Grand Mall Hypermarket, will now be known as “Asian Town,” according to the property manager.
A spokesperson for Ibin Ajayan Projects told Doha News that “Asian Town” was the original name given to the development when the government commissioned its construction. He also said the label reflects the customers the company wants to attract.
The spokesperson, who asked not to be named, added that Asian Town is meant to provide affordable amenities and services to the country’s low-income workforce close to where they live.
“Laborers are the most important part of (achieving) Qatar’s vision,” he said. “They are the manpower. Qatar (constructs developments such as Asian Town) as an appreciation for them.”
In addition to that development, the Industrial Area is home to Barwa Al Baraha, a “Workers’ City” project aimed at providing quality housing to construction workers in Qatar.
However, both developments are located far from central Doha, and their construction was initiated alongside other efforts to push blue-collar workers out of established residential areas and shopping malls.
These have included “family only” days at some retail centers and a ban on male laborers living in some centrally located neighborhoods.
Thousands of people turned up in October 2013 to celebrate the opening of the first phase of what was then known as West End Park.
While the Ibin Ajayan Projects spokesperson said he didn’t have precise visitor numbers on hand, he estimated that some 5,000 people pass through the complex on a typical day. That figure goes up to 12,000 on weekends and for special events.
He said the development is popular with families as well as expat men.
The project’s build-out has continued and will soon include a new plaza-style mall with 240 shops selling clothing, glasses and coffee at prices meant to be affordable to low-income shoppers, the spokesperson said.
He added that the first stores in the new mall would open as part of a soft launch later this month.
Next week, a third cinema is set to start screening films and will be joined by a fourth cinema by early June, the spokesperson said.
The theaters charge a relatively low QR20 per ticket and focus on Hindi and Tamil movies aimed at Qatar’s large Indian population.
International films – such as the popular Fast & Furious 7, which the spokesperson said would be screened later this month – are also shown.
Separately, an outlet mall with some 170 stores is also expected to open in the complex later this year.
Despite mandating that retailers charge comparatively low prices, the spokesperson said there’s been no challenges finding retail tenants since Asian Town’s proximity to the Industrial Area all but guarantees a steady stream of customers.
The developer also works to increase the number of visitors through special events such as celebrations last Friday that saw performances by singers from India, Nepal and the Philippines in addition to cultural dances and sporting events.
It’s also a popular venue for events that cater to the south Asian community, such as National Day celebrations and National Sports Day activities.
“Our vision is to make it a destination for shopping and for dinner for the laborer community,” the spokesperson said.
Just wondering if some of this fancy hotels in Doha are going to open a few Bar and Restaurants there so the guys out there can have a drink too once in a while or as and when their heart desires after a busy day at work
There is nothing stopping them as long as they’re dressed for the evening or whatever he dress code is for these places
I think the fact a bottle of beer costs about 45QR on average is the main factor stopping them….
So .. The govt should subsidize alcohol to make it more affordable ?
Yes, a fantastic idea, within certain parameters, clearly, then the people who would ordinarily enjoy an occasional social drink in their own countries would be able to do so here, without having to make their own dangerous sidiqi……the current prices are clearly designed to keep certain demographics away from alcohol, to hopefully ensure their 100% devotion to constructing the State……..no fun, limited leisure opps, away from family and friends for long periods…it would be fair.
lol give me one country which subsidizes alcohol or even one country which does not tax alcohol..
An argument based on comparing Qatar with other countries is a slippery slope in this Forum! But wait! Hmmm! Thinking back, this (cheaper alcohol for laborers) is actually a dark idea Caligula might’ve came up with to keep the ‘slaves’ in the heel!
I guess he’d have given them “Bread and Games”.
It’s not a subsidy that is needed, it’s the huge tax rate the government rakes in selling alcohol that could be reduced. However the hotels and government, (Qatar Airways) are addicted to the money it makes
Not necessarily. The guys out there would be willing to pay more then the guys with the cards at present. They maybe paid very low wages but they too certainly want to have a good and fun time sometimes. The QDC not allowing this guys to buy the drinks is another form of abuse and of treating this guys different from the rest. I wont be surprised if a lot of the drinks bought at the QDC end up at their camps at double the normal prices
Asian Town sounds very racist and derragatory especially where it states it meant for the low income group.
Why would asia towb sound racist to you? Does China town all over major U.S. cities sound racist? Little italy… Irish named pubs… American grills?!
There are no set rules but since Asian is sometimes used in an unflattering way, I wouldn’t call a mall or whatever it is Asian Town. I don’t think it’s outright racist but whoever named it should know better.
It is the distinction of a place for a certain type of people (apartheid) versus a place that reflects the culture, shops etc. of an area or areas that is open to anyone. In English people would say “China Town” but they’d never have a “Chinese Town” – or at least I’d hope not!
I see your point asia is more appropriate
D I S C R I M I N A T I O N …..also call SECOND CLASS or S L A V E RY …..or in Qatar ” ASIAN TOWN” !!
Love it Asian Town! Next waiting for Black Town and possibly my Favourite, South American Town. Not keen on India Town as we already have that in Doha….
When you say Asiam town, it already includes India? You dont need another India town. Your stupid comments are always good to read.Keep up with your idiocy.
I’m glad I entertain you and that stupid comments are what entertain you
Deleting for personal attack.
Asians should be very pleased. They are officially taking over Qatar now step by step.
That is hilarious. Didn’t anyone ask a native speaker how bad that sounds in English? Up there with “Bantustan”. Here’s a lesson – “Asiatown” sounds ok. “Asian Town” does not.
You shouldn’t be surprised. They don’t even get the nationalities on the visa and ID cards right. One of my friends who is from Germany has the nationality ‘Germany’ on his ID card! Speaking to an official at the Ministry of Interior I got the answer:” Nobody cares.”
News Flash … Arabs and those from the region are also Asians !! Apart from the fact that Qataris have money…they look very much like Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis n those near or around the sub-continent. But to name a place Asian town bec of who lives there is outright racist. Why not just rename Qatar … ‘Asian Country’ ? Ooopppsss…. sorry my bad; you are already an Asian country.
Qatar is a West-Asian country in geographic terms. That has nothing to do with their ethnicity or culture.
Tell that to those who named it Asian Town.
I totally agree with you
Reminds me a great tune………
It’s the fact that the name has been deliberately used to segregate society which makes it feel a bit racist.
Will they set up special bars so they can meet Asian ladies?
Will there be another opening ceremony? Which tasty bint will they bring in to do the opening? Will you meet her for a drink after? Do you think that she will choose Star of India for a takeaway before going back to yours?
Deleting for irrelevance and subsequent thread.
Seriously? “Asian Town”? Sounds like the project manager – & the Qatari government entity that started the project – need to come into the 21st century!
I thought you were dead, too bad.
As Mark Twain once said, “Reports of my death were an exaggeration.”
Sorry to disappoint you since you are obviously a fan of mine 😉
Why wasn’t it called Chinatown? Is that not inclusive enough? 😀
Where is this Asian Town located in the Industrial Area exactly?