Place Vendôme is a relatively recent addition to Qatar’s mall landscape having opened its doors on 15 April 2022, but it has quickly established itself as a leading destination for shopping. Here, RLI sits down with Shane Eldstrom, CEO of United Developers, the company who brought the project to life, to discuss the vision behind the scheme and how it has been performing since launch.
A multi-billion Qatari Riyal mixed-use destination in Lusail City, Place Vendôme was constructed by United Developers, a group of four Qatari investors who partnered to align their expertise in retail, real estate, construction and contracting. The result is a groundbreaking, world-class development that showcases entrepreneurship and commitment to Qatar’s development and offers a piece of Paris in the heart of the Arabian Desert.
Housed within its mesmerizing architecture, Place Vendôme is home to two luxurious five-star hotels, Le Royal Méridien and Palais Vendôme (which is due to open soon), a Luxury Collection Hotel, a serviced residency complex called Le Royal Méridien Residences and captivating entertainment options, all infused with cultural charm to elevate the shopping experience. The hotels and residences are operated by Marriott International, delivering a luxurious and authentic experience that aligns with the Place Vendôme brand. The mall itself features 560 different retail outlets with an exclusive luxury wing dedicated to top designer labels as well as one of the largest mall-based indoor amusement park in Qatar called Trocadéro.
In total, the project is spread across 1,150,000 sqm of retail, leisure, entertainment and luxury, becoming a one-stop destination. Strategically placed at the heart of Lusail, Place Vendôme is the centre of attraction for regional and international residents and visitors seeking a combination of varied entertainment and retail choices in one place. The vision of United Developers was to create a new regional destination, blending convenience with a vast array of options.
“For me personally, I have been involved in commercial real estate for 27 years, most of which has been dedicated to super regional schemes, shopping centres and mixed-use developments, and I would say you will not find another centre like Place Vendôme. Most shopping centres struggle to have facades and entrances on two sides; Place Vendôme has six! It is not a 360-degree façade but rather a 720-degree one because it is repeated in the courtyard. In addition, our amazing Dancing Fountains, design and architecture adds to the grandeur. It is a phenomenal project that offers many USP’s and I am thrilled to be a part of the team that realised this vision,” explains Shane Eldstrom, CEO of United Developers.
The Parisian-inspired development is reminiscent of the famous high-end shopping street in Paris, Rue de la Paix, of which Place Vendôme is the starting point. This massive investment ensured impeccable attention to detail, with every element of Place Vendôme reflecting authenticity drawn from its inspiration.
Community engagement has been a major consideration throughout construction and it has remained this way since launch, with decisions around the merchandise mix and the specific retailers who could and do call the site home, made around how best to fulfil community needs and wants. The mall certainly has something for everyone, with the ultra-luxury and aspirational luxury sections covered. High street and convenience retailers have also been incorporated into the Place Vendôme portfolio and there have been many new store opening since the beginning of this year.
While the project is not just about Lusail, what it has done is successfully address gaps in local amenities and provides world-class shopping and entertainment convenient to its growth corridors. Due to the size of the scheme, it has given brands an opportunity to express their brand essence and it allows them to offers a wider range of products to its customers.
All property developers around the world must be as sustainable as possible now, particularly in Qatar. In the case of the Place Vendôme development, it subscribes to the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS), whose primary objective is to create a sustainably-built environment that considers the specific needs and context of the region. The system looks into leadership, energy and environmental design, as well as areas that matter in places like Qatar, such as water consumption and the environment. For its part, the project has received green building certifications from GSAS that validate their commitment to sustainability.
“For example, we use LED lights to reduce consumption and
conduct various recycling initiatives. The building is also heavily insulated to ensure cooling costs are maintained. Rather than generating our own air conditioning, we utilise a centralised cooling system, for an energy-efficient approach,” says Eldstrom.
Even though the scheme has only been operating for 18 months, it has of course embraced technology. As the world embraces AI and digitalisation, Eldstrom anticipates its increasing integration into every aspect of the business, including traffic management. With the volume of visitors reaching 28,000 cars in a day, digital technology becomes crucial in managing congestion with smart technology helping visitors to Place Vendôme find parking on their arrival and even find their car on their return.
“Place Vendôme itself is a strategically important project for Qatar, as it aims to establish itself as a global tourist destination that provides both shopping and F&B establishments for people around the world. One of the biggest and undervalued advantages of Qatar is that it is a tax-free place, a rarity on the global stage. Qatar Tourism Authority actively encourages shopping and tourism and this destination plays a pivotal role in realising this vision. In line with this, United Developers has developed accordingly and is in the process of developing a third hospitality destination to complement its current hotels. We are deeply committed to creating a sustainable, comprehensive community in collaboration with various stakeholders, including Qatar Tourism Authority, Al Daayen Municipality, Qatari Diar and others,” Eldstrom comments.
Place Vendôme adheres to and supports the pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030. The project reflects United Developers’ commitment to Qatar’s economic diversification, as well as human and social development through the opportunities and jobs that the project created during construction, after completion and will continue to do so moving forward.