Mecca comes to Washington.
(The Blaze) — A major development project in downtown Washington will not be leasing space to banks or bars once it’s completed, a move that happens to comply with the tenets of Shariah law prohibiting alcohol or collecting interest — the same project a Qatari investment firm is bankrolling.
In April, the Washington Times reported the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company put up $700 million to fund the CityCenterDC project, six blocks from the White House and slated for completion in late 2013.
A New York Times article last week reported real estate companies Hines Interests and Archstone decided they would not lease space in the complex to banks or to “retailers whose primary business involves selling alcohol.”
Even before the Qatari investors became involved, Hines and Archstone determined that leasing to banks would not help them create lively shopping streets, Mr. Alsup said. But as it happened, their hesitancy on bank branches meshed with the policies of their financial partners, who adhere to the restrictions of Shariah, or Islamic law, including the ban on collecting interest. Restaurants will be able to serve liquor, but retailers whose primary business involves selling alcohol will not be allowed, Mr. Alsup said.