Land row hits $66m Bahrain project
Manama, December 15, 2012
The work on a new BD25 million ($66 million) marina project on Muharraq's coastline in Bahrain will be delayed as nearly half the land earmarked for the development is not government property, said a report.
The Al Ghous Corniche project, which will feature a resort, shopping mall, indoor and outdoor theme park, jetty for fishermen and an open beach, is being spearheaded by a consortium of Turkish, Saudi and local businessmen, the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, reported.
It was initially approved by Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi, who said the northern part of the coast was registered as government property that had to be transferred to the ministry for the development to go ahead.
The Muharraq Municipal Council have voted in favour of the project, ending a deadlock that stretches back to October last year.
It was previously split on whether to sanction the development or support a ministry's revamp of the area.
The ministry completed the first phase of redevelopment six years ago, setting up children's rides and other family recreational facilities at a cost of BD700,000.
It had planned a BD2 million second phase including a restaurant complex and other maritime facilities, but work never started.
Land earmarked for the second phase was then set aside for the new King Hamad Grand Mosque, but the council and area MPs managed to get it back.
Area councillor Fatima Salman said, during a council meeting, that registering the other half of the corniche was easy as the land came under the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife, which is under the ministry's jurisdiction.
However, Muharraq Municipality director-general Saleh Al Fadhala said the information was backdated and the land was now registered with Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company (Edamah), which comes under Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.
"That land is not registered with us as municipal property and if councillors want the complete project to go ahead as planned, then it has to contact the Royal Court to change the deeds," said Mr Al Fadhala.
"The investors can choose to wait for the transfer or deal with Edamah in regard to the part they own, which we believe will create unnecessary confusion."
Council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed said it was vital to solve all problems delaying the project.
"This is the first time we see huge interest from regional investors to pump money in a Muharraq project rather than Manama and we have to make everything easy for them, not the opposite," he said.
"We are confident that this project would be successful and it is true that there is a problem with around half of the land, but we believe it could be solved within the upcoming few months.
"I don't think the Royal Court would reject transferring deeds for such a vital project, which would give Muharraq the edge it needs to be truly known as Bahrain's first image."
The development will be located on the coast between the Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Causeway and the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Causeway, which link Manama and Muharraq.
It will also include a main office tower, commercial and residential buildings, a fish market and marina.-TradeArabia News Service