By Sean Cronin, The National Newspaper
Qatar's capital now has more office space than Abu Dhabi. It is best appreciated at night as the gleaming new towers of West Bay are illuminated in futuristic neon outline.
The city's ongoing construction boom has delivered 3.5 million square metres of accommodation for the banks, insurance companies and fund managers that it is bidding to attract. Almost half of this is considered to be grade A office accommodation built to appeal to such potential occupiers.
By comparison, Abu Dhabi has about 2.7 million sq metres of offices, a little over a third of which could be considered to be top end, according to research from CBRE, an international property consultancy.
But the Qatari capital still trails Dubai in its availability of commercial space, where a six-year building boom delivered some 6.6 million sq metres of office space, almost half of which lies empty today.
The similarities between the two cities and their ambitions to develop as regional financial hubs are obvious as is the over-development of office blocks in both locations.
But government intervention is coming to the rescue of Doha's saturated office market in the form of the bulk leasing of towers that is mitigating the impact of the glut of empty buildings
"The scale of development here is still much smaller to the overbuild that took place in Dubai," says Shahzad Shahbaz, the chief executive of QInvest, a Qatari investment bank.
"Maybe in commercial real estate there has been some overbuild. But if you look at the normal growth of the economy here, a lot of the stock will get absorbed. In Dubai even if you have good growth, the scale of the overbuild is such that I'm not sure all of that will get absorbed."
A decade-long spending spree on global property has resulted in Qatar acquiring a string of trophy buildings including Harrods, the luxury London department store as well as a stake in the company that owns Canary Wharf, also in the British capital.
Now Qatar is building its own trophy developments at home that extend beyond gleaming new office towers to shopping centres, museums and a raft of football stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.
It is reminiscent of Dubai during its boom years, right down to the names of the contractors on the cranes.
Arabtec, one of Dubai's biggest builders that helped construct the Burj Khalifa in addition to scores of other towers around the emirate, is now making much of its money in Doha, where its signboards can be seen dotted around the city.
Qatar's success in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup has revived the fortunes of the construction sector, which had suffered a similar slowdown to the one experienced by other Gulf states in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Now some US$65 billion (Dh238.76bn) of investment is required in the sector over the next decade in preparation for 2022.
"The key risk remains the actual sustainability of all planned facilities," says Matthew Green, the head of research and consultancy in the UAE for CBRE in a report.
"For a country as small as Qatar, the prospect of a post- 2022 glut must be carefully considered."