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The repurposing of the massive and iconic sporting arenas will be quite a straight-forward affair. Image Credit: Reuters

Planners of the successfully concluded FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar were clear from the go. The utilization of sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials used while building the stadiums, implied Qatar had plans to reuse and repurpose its multi-billion infrastructure investment once the event was over.

While some of the purpose-built stadiums (out of a total of eight) will still play host for future events, others will be repurposed for multiple mixed-use facilities like hotels, business districts, educational and a medical facilities. Most of the stadiums were constructed with the flexibility to either completely dismantle or repurpose its function.

The installation of modular equipment and recyclable material will easily allow its conversion or to donate certain elements to other countries. The future sports’ events that Qatar will be hosting are Asian Football Cup, which was relocated from China, and the award of the Asian Games in 2030.

In parallel, local football teams will start using these World Cup venues while others will be transformed into local community areas or by changing their function into residential or commercial space. Here are some options in hand:

  • Ras Abu Abboud 974 Stadium, which is made of 974 recycled shipping containers, will be dismantled and likely to be donated to other countries, while the area around the stadium will be converted into waterfront business district.
  • Education City Stadium will be repurposed to serve as educational facility for students’ research laboratories for local schools and universities.
  • The Al Bayet stadium located in Al Khor will be transformed into a five-star hotel and business shopping center. A medical hospital is also planned to be constructed at the lower level.
  • Al Thumama stadium will be also modified to include a hotel and a sports clinic.
  • The Lusail Stadium, which was the venue for the FIFA World Cup final, will be fully converted into a community hub serving as a major attraction for residents by adding retail and F&B outlets. In addition to converting some of its facilities to residential areas to complement the high-end development of Lusail City.

Challenges to repurposing

The early planning and delivery of modular components will facilitate a proper dismantling or converting some of the stadiums for different function. Delivering these conversions may take time, while these plans are still evolving in terms of the final utilization of these facilities. Subsequently, the final cost is still not clear and it depends on the extent of the final modification.

Like other initiatives of this magnitude, headwinds lie as Qatar puts together a firm plan. While the rate of returns on investments will be a driving factor, the policy planners are also aware that in the longer term there will be a need for continued investment in facilities management (FM) and maintenance if these facilities are not frequently used.

Hill International has supported the delivery of many infrastructure and building projects in Qatar since the award of the FIFA World Cup in 2010. We delivered the project management services for Qatar Rail Green Line, and the construction management services of Qatar National Museum.

A growing list

It is not just the eight stadiums that are prime candidates for repurpose, but other related infrastructure too. Park and ride areas, logistical hubs, and fans’ accommodation are potential sites that could potentially be refunctioned for other purposes.

Some of these facilities can be transformed to provide support services. Others can be used to enhance and expand on the health care and educational systems by providing additional facilities. The redevelopment of Doha Port in the center of city is witnessing many cruise-liners on frequent visits to Doha, which Qatar can make use for some of these sports facilities to enhance this growing industry