Bahrain health island work to start
Manama, February 25, 2008
Work on a $1.6 billion health island off the coast of Bahrain is due to start next month.
The project, known as Dilmunia, is being spearheaded by Ithmaar Development Company.
Located on the north-east coast, it is described as the largest healthcare, leisure and real estate project of its kind in the Middle East.
In addition to specialist clinics, hospitals, spas and other wellness facilities, it will include hotels, residential areas, leisure and shopping centres.
A $69 million reclamation contract has now been awarded to Boskalis Westminster Middle East (Boskalis), which will be responsible for dredging and reclamation of the seabed, rock protection and canal works.
Ithmaar Development Company (IDC), the wholly owned development arm of Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank, is part of the Ithmaar banking group.
A successful private placement by Ithmaar Bank has raised $185 million for Dilmunia Development Fund I LP and funds raised are being used to purchase land and invest in the initial infrastructure work for the island - paving the way for the project to enter its next phase, when some of the plots will be sold to investors for development.
Site mobilisation for the reclamation work on the island is set to start on March 1 and is expected to be completed in approximately 15 months, said Ithmaar Development Company chief executive officer, board member and Health Island Company chairman Mohammed Khalil Alsayed.
He said reclamation and construction work would be carried out according to strict international standards to ensure that the environmental impact was as minimal as possible - adding that the first phase of an Environmental Impact Assessment had already been carried out 'with positive initial results'.
The master planners for the health island are DP Architects, an international architectural firm based in Singapore.
Dilmunia is the first project in IDC's $3.3 billion initial portfolio to reach the implementation stage.
Other projects in the pipeline include the $1.5bn revamp of Al Jazayer Beach, which promises to turn one of Bahrain's oldest beaches into a modern and world-class leisure and family tourism facility, and a chain of family-oriented hotels beginning with a $175 million property to be located off Seef District.
'Future plans are to expand to the greater Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as to other emerging markets that offer strong potential for growth and investment,' said a statement by the bank. - TradeArabia News Service