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Crucial report deadline set for Bahrain building

Manama, July 13, 2014

Owners of a landmark Manama building abandoned for the past eight years have been given until the end of the month to submit an independent structural report stating whether it should be torn down or saved.
 
A private consultancy has been appointed to determine whether the Kuwaiti Building should be demolished, or whether it is safe enough to undergo renovations, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
 
Authorities evicted tenants and ordered the property to be demolished in 2006 due to fears that it could collapse, prompting a lengthy court battle that is still going on.
 
The Manama Municipality has now agreed to accept the findings of an independent evaluator that has been given until the end of this month to determine if the property can be saved.
 
"The owners have hired an A-class consultancy firm to study the matter, which has sent samples to an external specialist laboratory to determine the building's condition and if it should be torn down," said Manama Municipality director-general Shaikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
 
"We will study the report presented by the firm with the lab tests to see if a remodelling permit should be granted or if the court battle (to demolish the property) should continue.
 
"The municipality has to see clearly within the report, which has to be submitted by the end of the month, its eligibility for remodelling."
 
Authorities earlier offered to bulldoze the commercial and residential complex in Gudaibiya for free, after municipality engineers deemed it a risk to tenants and the general public.
 
The 11-storey building was built in 1978 and was once a prestigious address favoured by Western expatriates, but its condition deteriorated to the extent that tenants were evicted due to safety concerns in November 2006.
 
A case is ongoing at the High Administrative Appeals Court combining three suits - one filed by the municipality and two by the building owners.
 
In one of the cases filed by the owners, they are demanding compensation of more than BD2 million ($5.2 million) for financial losses they claim to have incurred since the building - which housed shops, offices and apartments - was condemned.
 
The other claims the municipality refused to give owners a permit to carry out maintenance, remodelling and repair work to influence earlier court verdicts against the landlord.
 
Shaikh Mohammed previously argued the building was in such a poor state of disrepair it would cost as much to renovate it as it would to demolish and rebuild it.
 
A court ruled in August 2006 that the building should be bulldozed, but owners won an appeal in May 2009.
 
The Cassation Court later combined all the cases and referred them to the High Administrative Court. - TradeArabia News Service



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