Plans for new market in Bahrain blocked
Manama, September 1, 2011
A request by merchants to build a new central market in Manama in addition to the Manama Central Market has been blocked by the municipal council.
Councillors said that central markets are old fashioned and that customers prefer shopping in hypermarkets for all of their needs rather than walk long distances in the heat.
They added that there were no empty plots of land to build the project and that it would need a lot of study, time and financing for it to be carried out within the upcoming 10 years.
The council also said that most customers complain about parking and the lack of easy road access while shopping, with the government still working on plans to solve those problems.
Councillors said that a state-of-the-art BD200 million ($530 million) six-year plan to revamp the Manama Central Market will be underway soon - after 36 months of delays.
The project includes a new BD50 million central market, which will be named the Capital Trade Centre. The development is set to include business, residential, shopping and leisure spaces.
Four 28-storey office and shopping towers, car parking facilities, a five-star hotel, heritage village and a park are also part of the plans.
"Yes, we considered an option to have the new central market in addition to the Manama Central Market, far away from mainstream Manama and found it impractical," said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
"There were plans for it to be built for example in Nabih Saleh, but we found the location to be unpleasant to customers and that for anything to be successful in the Capital Governorate it has to be done in frequently-visited places.”
"The belief among councillors is that the central markets concept is old-fashioned and can't compete with services provided by hypermarkets, which are currently the best shopping places in the country without the need of walking long distances in the heat.
"We can't deny that central markets don't have customers and that there should be one each at every governorate, but from feasible studies, regretfully, our decision to merchants is 'sorry we can't'."
Mansoor, who is also the council's financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman, said that there were few plots of land to build another central market that only a small number of people would benefit from.
"We have properties to build public parks and gardens, seek more government homes to build among other needed facilities and Manama is not like Hamad Town where a few services are available to residents," he said.
"There are no empty plots of land to build the project and it would need a lot of study, time and financing for it to be carried out within the upcoming 10 years.
"Most customers are already complaining about parking and easy road access while shopping, with the government still working on plans to solve those problems and we don't want to increase their woes."
He said that the government was already changing its ideas on centralised markets, with the announcement of state-of-the-art BD200 million six-year plan to revamp the current market that will be soon underway.
"The project will include a new BD50 million central market that will be named the Capital Trade Centre and will include a bazaar, shopping complexes and a variety of services,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service