A model of the project
Bahrain's main market facelift under threat
Manama, February 13, 2014
A major BD200 million ($527.8 million) facelift to Bahrain's main market is under threat.
Investment company Tashgeel for Commercial Buildings Management has been given three months to come up with designs to revamp the Manama Central Market, which councillors claim is on the verge of collapsing, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It was awarded the contract in August 2011 and was supposed to complete them within a year.
It was later given a one-year grace period by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry because it was struggling to attract investors as the market is close to the former GCC (Pearl) Roundabout.
The Manama Municipal Council yesterday threatened to end the contract, saying the company has failed to present any development plans for nearly three years.
"Tashgeel has done nothing to draw up plans for the BD200 million development and we have been waiting for so long that we can't wait more as the original market is on the verge of collapse," said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
"We acknowledge that Tashgeel is facing problems attracting investors, who are worried about injecting funds into the project knowing the political circumstances associated with the location, but that doesn't mean that they can't draw up plans.
"Tashgeel should have blueprints ready and whenever the situation is cleared with the location then work could begin on the multi-million dinar investment project.
"Now it could easily draw up plans for the marketplace, which would cost around BD10 million, and give it to the government to fund from the GCC Financial Aid."
He hopes the market will revive business in the area, which has been affected since the unrest in 2011.
"We just want the plans for the marketplace from Tashgeel and other things can be negotiated later - they have until May 1 to come forward with it," he added.
Mansoor, who is also the council's technical committee chairman, said the existing facility should have been knocked down years ago.
"It is illogical to have the Manama Municipality spend thousands of dinars to maintain the place when it should be bulldozed," he said.
"They have been carrying annual maintenance since the BD200 million project has been announced, but that can't hold the place intact for long as it is past beyond its prime."
The scheme was first announced in January 2008, but was side-lined due to the financial crisis. It should include a new central market, which will be named the Capital Trade Centre, along with business, residential, shopping and leisure spaces.
Four 28-storey office and shopping towers, car park facilities, a five-star hotel, a heritage village and a park are also part of the plans. - TradeArabia News Service