Investors pull out of $65m Bahrain project
Manama, March 16, 2014
Investors have pulled out of a BD25 million ($65.9 million) development project on the coast of Muharraq, despite months of negotiations with government bodies.
Work on Al Ghous Corniche should have started early last year, but was delayed due to problems connected to land earmarked for the development - nearly half of which was not government property, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The project, spearheaded by a consortium of Turkish, Saudi and local businessmen, would have featured a resort, shopping mall, indoor and outdoor theme park, a jetty for fishermen and an open beach.
The Muharraq Municipal Council has been negotiating with ministries concerned and government bodies, which own the plots, for months but nothing materialised.
The project was initially approved in 2012 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.
Area councillor Fatema Salman blamed Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company (Edamah) for the withdrawal of investors.
She said the organisation, which comes under Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, refused to sign an agreement to replace the land it owned in the area earmarked for the project with another.
"Edamah refused to enter as a partner in the project with the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry after earlier rejecting getting its plots of land replaced with another through a deeds transfer by the Royal Court," said Salman, who is also the council's services and public utilities committee chairwoman.
"Investment of BD25 million doesn't wait for procedures or tug-of-war and the consortium has decided to take its money to another Gulf coast, which is a loss to Bahrain and the public.
"The investors waited for years for the issue to be resolved and we tried our best to solve it, but as everyone can clearly see this country faces a lot of problems related to lack of co-ordination or understanding between bodies concerned."
The development was earmarked on the coast between the Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Causeway and the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Causeway, which link Manama and Muharraq.
If it went ahead it would have also included a main office tower, commercial and residential buildings, a fish market and marina.
The ministry completed the first phase of the redevelopment eight 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. - TradeArabia News Service