Bid to resolve Bahrain mall rent row
Manama, May 18, 2011
Top officials from Dubai have flown to Bahrain to reportedly help resolve a rent dispute at one of the country's top malls.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro yesterday met executives from the Al Futtaim Group, which owns the BD250 million Bahrain City Centre mall.
Officials now plan to contact every shopowner at the two-year-old facility to re-negotiate their rent and find a solution.
It comes after businessmen hit by the unrest demanded action to stop a potentially crippling rent hike of up to 40 per cent.
'We have had fruitful meetings with the City Centre management and some good results will come out of it,' said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) retail and traditional markets committee head Jawad Al Hawaj.
'We are aware of discussions going on between the management and the shop owners to try and resolve the rents dispute.
'The discussions have so far been fruitful.
'We hope individual discussions between them would come to a conclusion to the satisfaction of both parties.'
Traders were unhappy after they received notices saying there would be a rent increase of between 30 and 40 per cent after their contracts went up for renewal in September.
They said they were expecting leniency in keeping with the difficult times, but claimed they were told to either agree to the increase or leave.
Our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN) earlier reported that Bahrain's retail trade lost around 80 per cent of its business during the unrest, with the gold industry losing a $1 million (BD378,000) a day in the week that businesses remained closed in March.
Al Hawaj warned traders across Bahrain, particularly in Manama, were facing difficult times and needed help.
Al Futtaim Group chief executive officer Ahmed Bin Brek, Bahrain City Centre director Ray Scott and Al Hawaj attended yesterday's meeting.
Bahrain City Centre mall officials declined to comment.-TradeArabia News Service