Work to start soon at Bahrain Financial Harbour
Manama, November 9, 2013
Officials are "optimistic" construction will resume soon at the BD378 million Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH), which is still incomplete a decade after work started, said a report.
Ground was first broken on the multi-million dinar development in 2003 and although two landmark towers were completed in 2007, the rest of the project remains unfinished.
The Bahrain Performance Centre, residential Diamond Tower and long-stalled Villamar apartment buildings have yet to fully materialise.
However, Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company (BFHHCO) corporate communications manager Lina Mubarak told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, they remain "optimistic" that the developers who have purchased these plots will start work soon.
A multi-storey car park with rooftop food court called Commercial West Car Park is planned for completion next year and BFHHCO is also on track to buy a "substantial share" of the Capital Club, which occupies the top two floors of BFH's East Tower.
But Mubarak said the completion of the overall BD378m development was "contingent upon the recovery of the real estate market".
"However, as there are clear signs of a recovery on the horizon, we expect more developers who had purchased plots at BFH will start to actually shift into implementation mode of their plans which had been on hold for quite a while," she added.
"As for commercial, office and retail space, it will take a bit longer to recover."
BFHHCO would not comment on the occupancy rates at BFH although Ms Mubarak said there had been "virtually no losses" of existing tenants and those who moved out have already been replaced by others.
Last year, CBRE real estate senior director Mike Williams estimated that occupancy rates in the towers could be as low as 25 per cent.
When contacted by the GDN, Williams said he had no updated figures, but he did confirm that "the separate 'Harbour House' building at the back is 100 per cent empty".
Originally envisaged as an "eye-catching harbour scheme" covering 380,000 square metres of reclaimed land, BFH was designed to be a self-contained community in the centre of Manama comprising 10 distinct business, leisure and residential projects including Bahrain's two tallest towers.
The waterfront development was intended to comprise 30 individual development parcels including the Financial Centre, an insurance centre, upmarket residences, retail and leisure outlets, a luxury hotel, a Dhow Harbour and the Bahrain Performance Centre, which would have housed the Bahrain Royal Opera House.
The Financial Centre, at the heart of the harbour, was designed to include the twin towers, the Harbour Mall and the Harbour House.
Spread over 74,000 sq m, the Harbour Mall was intended to house the Bourse (Bahrain Stock Exchange) as well as a number of brokerage and trading firms.
With direct access to the mall via a suspended bridge, the Harbour House "will be located in the centre of the Harbour Row amidst seafront walkways, shopping boulevards, promenades, marina and water pathways with water taxis, coffee shops and dining facilities," according to the original design document.-TradeArabia News Service