Marina West investors have 'little hope' in new law
Manama, June 3, 2014
Hopes have been dashed that a new law banning real estate developers from selling off-plan could help investors in the long-stalled Marina West project near Budaiya.
Property buyers who bought in to the $750 million (BD280 million) residential project last decade told the GDN yesterday that they held little hope this law, which was approved by the Shura Council last week, could be applied retroactively to help them.
Under the 31-article law - which is awaiting ratification by His Majesty King Hamad - developers would be allowed to promote, advertise and announce private developments, but would no longer be able to sell people thin air.
Former Bahrain resident and Marina West investor Paul Saks told the GDN from his home in the UK that it was a good sign for Bahrain to be taking steps to protect investors, but questioned what good it could do those who had already lost their money.
"The extent to which these new pieces of legislation protect or apply retrospectively to new projects is questionable," said the 60-year-old.
"What about the investors who are already out of pocket? Some people paid cash while others are still paying a mortgage, but we are all in the same boat."
Bahraini Waleed Hashim, 31, was equally sceptical about the new legislation, but said that government intervention at this stage could help give fresh impetus to the project.
"As a former lawyer, I do not see any strong legal action that can be taken to help us buyers," he said.
"But the government can purchase this project and things could change - and I strongly believe that this project will be completed some day."
A Saudi spokesman for the Marina West Home Owner's Committee, who did not want to be named, told the GDN that he had paid BD100,000 upfront in 2009 and is still waiting to get the keys to his dream home.
He cited the case of Hassan Al Husseini, former committee chairman, who for years acted on behalf of more than 200 of the 400 investors in the project and died last month aged 68.
"I promised Hassan that I would continue to fight for our rights and now my mission is to ensure his daughters can hopefully see the day when they can stay in the house that their father fought for years to get," the 42-year-old said.
"I plan to take the issue to a political level between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to help speed up the process."
Argentine Axel Hofman, 52, added that the new law offered only false hope for him and his family, who live in Dubai but invested in Marina West because of their love for Bahrain.
"The only good news for us will be when work on the project starts again and buyers can at last get the keys to their homes," he said.
"Company officials have not communicated with us for the last two years and there is nothing concrete, however."
Marina West is located on reclaimed land to the south of Budaiya and was planned to include 1,000 residential flats and a five-star hotel across 11 towers. It was originally scheduled for completion in 2010, but work has been at a standstill for the past four years. No one from Marina West was available for comment when contacted by the GDN yesterday. - TradeArabia News Service