Top Bahrain residential project stalled
Manama, April 30, 2012
A new multi-million dinar housing project in the Seef district of Bahrain could be scrapped after its developer refused to allocate land for major road expansions.
The Works Ministry wants the Eskan (Housing) Bank to give up parts of the area for the country's road network expansion scheme. It follows concerns by councillors that the investment project, Seef Gardens, could create major traffic congestion.
However, the developer has snubbed the ministry's request to give up land in return for the final go-ahead.
The controversial project has been on the Manama Municipal Council's chopping block since 2008 as councillors attempted to veto every phase of the scheme.
They initially wanted to earmark the area to build 50 homes for families in Karbabad village, but the bank got the green light instead because the area had been allocated for investment projects and not housing.
The original development plans included 30 and 40-storey buildings, 670 apartments, 23 shops and 42 villas.
However, further disputes with councillors resulted in another veto in May 2009 in which the designs were amended several times to gain the council's approval.
The new proposal features 20 and 28-storey buildings, around 580 apartments, five shops and 20 villas.
'The council doesn't want to block the project anymore after residents reached an agreement with the developer and councillors changed their mind on the whole situation,' said council vice-chairman and area councillor Mohammed Mansoor.
'They (residents) don't want the 50 homes anymore and are just happy with written promises for employment and that they could use the project's facilities either for free or at minimal rates, which has been already documented.
'But, for the project to go ahead it just now needs the consent of the Works Ministry and the developer have failed to comply in giving parts of the project for road expansions to avoid network failure.'
Mansoor said the developer already owns the nearby Seef Mall, meaning it does not need the five shopping outlets featured in the design.
'The developer has to sacrifice something to get the ministry's approval and I believe that the shops could be their only choice, unless they want to reduce the numbers of villas,' he said. – TradeArabia News Service