Deal signed for $530m Manama market revamp
Manama, August 19, 2011
Work on a BD200 million ($530 million) revamp of the Manama Central Market is set to start within 24 months, it has been announced.
The project includes a new central market, which will be named the Capital Trade Centre. The development is set to include business, residential, shopping and leisure spaces.
The project will include business, residential, shopping and leisure facilities.
Four 28-storey office and shopping towers, car parking, a five-star hotel, heritage village and a park are also part of the plans.
Tashgeel for Commercial Buildings Management yesterday signed a contract with the Manama Municipality to supervise the project, during a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
The state-of-the art market is now expected to be up and running within six years and Tashgeel has been given a 24-month deadline to ensure the work finally gets underway.
The plan was first announced in January 2008, but sidelined due to the global financial crisis and problems reaching agreement on the best way forward.
Deputy Premier Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said the project would provide a major boost to Bahrain's economy.
"Manama, through the project's constant income, can see further development, especially in projects directed to people and we encourage the municipality to look into other projects of such high magnitude," he said.
Tashgeel will be responsible for determining the best way to handle investment, market the project, come up with criteria for investors, help select the best bidders and supervise designs.
Four 28-storey office and shopping towers, a new central market, car parking facilities, a five-star hotel, heritage village and a park are also part of the plans.
The contract was yesterday signed by Manama Municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam and Tashgeel board chairman Jamal Al Hazeem during a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
Event patron Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa was among those attending.
"Bahrain's infrastructure is something we are very proud of whether it is roads, sewage or any other basic service that any developed country should have," he said.
"We already have plans to develop the Capital Governorate (Manama) and we acknowledge there is a congestion problem.
"But a lot has been achieved over the past few years to absorb this and there is more.
"Development doesn't happen overnight and it takes time and even though there are questions about the new project's location and whether it would contribute to more setbacks in infrastructure, I have been assured that all necessary studies were being carried with possible solutions to choose from."
Shaikh Khalid said the project would benefit the country and the municipality through vital funds collected as leases and municipal fees.
"Manama, through the project's constant income, can see further development especially in projects directed to people and we encourage the municipality to look into other projects of such high magnitude," he said.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi said the revamp would cost between BD150m and BD200m.
"Tashgeel will have two years to prepare all necessary studies and then will supervise the project throughout its phases in the next four years," he said.
"We have already received interest from GCC and foreign investors to take their share in the project whether in office space, the hotel or other facilities.
"Off course, investors are interested in Bahrain because it has a high calibre of professionals capable of handling responsibilities, business growth and development besides us facilitating required licences to all of those interested."
Dr Al Ka'abi said the revamp had faced several setbacks in the last three years.
"It gave us time to put things on the right track and enable us to study the whole issue thoroughly," he said.
"Tashgeel will have every right to emit or add to the project within its phases in the master plan taking into consideration the changing market needs and that's something important considering that we don't want to invest in losses."
The minister said the existing market was past its prime and had to be replaced with traders complaining about undesirable fumes, the lack of air conditioned facilities and old crumbling materials the market is made of.
"Tashgeel will inform us on the time to move the merchants and we will look for alternatives until it is rebuilt," said Dr Al Ka'abi.
Al Ghatam said Tashgeel would face penalties if work on the revamp did not begin within two years.
"We don't expect any delay considering that the foundation for success is there and we are high in hope that it will take shorter than expected with the rush I have heard about from investors," he said.
"We just need to know the way the place will be handled and things afterwards will swiftly be done and that's Tashgeel's role to fulfil."
Al Hazeem said the unrest Bahrain had witnessed could have destroyed any developed country, but Bahrain was still standing tall.
"This project is strategic and services at the same time and will have a huge impact on the future of the country whether investors, citizens or tourists," he said.
"We are not looking to just have a new market to replace the current, but a completely new concept to the area that generates money from improperly and unused land that exists in the market.
"Bahrain, despite the unrest is still getting interest from countries across the globe wishing to invest in it and this shows that our economy is strong despite anything."
Shaikh Khalid was presented with a commemorative gift at the event by Dr Al Ka'abi before touring an exhibition that showcased the project's initial model and 3D animations on how the final project will look. -TradeArabia News Service
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