Friday, June 15, 2012

Villaggio Tragedy and City Centre Update

Apparently the first report is out and it points to an electrical fire at the Nike store as the source. No evidence of arson or other wrongdoing. I haven't gone through the full report but I believe there is a link to it at A criminal investigation is still ongoing.

So imagine my surprise when I stopped by City Centre mall this morning only to find it completely closed. The guard wasn't sure why but I later found out through websites and texts from friends that the Ministry of Interior had closed it for inspections. Later word was that the mall would be closed for at least two days because something didn't conform to safety regulations. Looks like the ministries are starting to crack down. Closing the largest mall in Qatar for two days over the weekend is pretty tough.

I was out at lunch with a couple of friends when I heard the news. With both Villaggio and City Centre closed that left only one main mall open on the weekend – Landmark. We decided to go just to see how crazy it would be. (I know, I know, let's chalk it up to morbid curiosity.)

Yep, it was pretty crazy. It was difficult to even get a table in a café and this was mid-afternoon. We left by six before it got too insane.

While I'm glad to see that the Government is stepping up inspections I sure hope City Centre isn’t closed for long. There's no way all of Doha can go to Landmark.


Anonymous said...

Do you know when Villaggio will be re-opened or will soon be demolished?

Anonymous said...


Glen McKay said...

One of the papers had an article recently which said that Villagio wouldn't be torn down but I don't recall if it cited an official source. At the moment I'd say the odds of Villagio being torn down are "unlikely, but still possible".

If not being torn down I have heard nothing about when it will reopen. I honestly don't expect it to open for at least three months but that's my personal opinion.