A highly anticipated, Qatar-backed development in the American capital of Washington, DC will include a cultural center run by the Gulf country when it opens next year, Qatar Foundation International has said.
The $1 billion CityCenterDC, one of the largest construction projects on the American east coast, is considered Qatar’s first major real estate investment in the US. The country became involved in the development in 2010, when the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. put up some $622 million in financing.
When completed, CityCenterDC will take up three pedestrian city blocks in downtown Washington and include two condominium buildings, two rental apartment buildings, two office buildings, a luxury hotel, a park, a plaza and an underground public parking garage.
Construction on the project began in 2011, and CityCenterDC already has a bit of the Qatari touch. According to the Washington Post, the investment made by the Qatari Diar, an extension of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, was sharia-compliant. Thus, the development will not lease to any bars, though some restaurants will be granted alcohol licenses.
This week, QFI announced that it will establish a cultural center within the 10-acre, mixed-use urban village called “Al-Bayt,” or “home.”
In a statement quoted by the Post, Maggie Mitchell Salem, executive director of the foundation, said the center was “designed to increase knowledge and understanding of Arabic language and culture in the America.”
The newspaper continues:
The foundation’s real estate adviser, Audra Cunningham, vice president at CBRE, said the cultural center would provide a little bit of everything that Qatari culture has to offer. “You will walk into that space and get very familiar with their art, their language and their cuisine,” she said.
Meanwhile, even though apartments at the development go for a whopping $2,000 to $7,700 a month, tenants are already lined up to rent, according to developer Hines Interests LP. Residents are expected to begin moving in next month, and the project should be completed early next year.