Investors find $185m Bahrain project stalled
Manama, April 3, 2012
Investors in a BD70 million ($185.6 million) development at Amwaj Islands in Bahrain are still in the dark about the progress of the project - three years after it was due to be finished.
The Amwaj Gateway was launched in July 2006 and was originally scheduled to be completed in May 2009, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
Developers had earlier said 'all is well' and denied construction had been halted.
However, the Bahraini and expatriate investors claim they are unable to reach developers to ask about the status of the project, which remains at a standstill.
'When we took up the matter in February 2010... we were told the project was set to be completed by the end of the year,' said one prospective owner. 'Not only has that not happened but there has been no movement at all after that, with the project standing where it was.'
The expatriate claimed he had paid nearly 70 per cent for an apartment but still has no clue when it would be handed over.
He revealed that the last contact investors had with project officials was in September when a new team was reportedly set up to co-ordinate with them.
'We were then told there were steps to put in more money into the project and complete it,' he said. 'But, since then, nothing else has happened and we soon realised we had been given false hopes.'
Another investor urged authorities to look into the dodgy claims being made by developers, saying she had lost money after paying 50pc of the cost of a penthouse apartment.
'I am not just upset about the loss of my own money but by the way authorities appear to be unconcerned with the very dubious business practices going on,' she said. 'It is difficult to obtain any current information on the project, since the developers do not communicate with the investors.'
The project is spearheaded by Bahrain-based RealCapita and Yara Investments and covers a total area of 360,000 sq ft.
It consists of six 20-storey towers that will accommodate a total of 550 different units.
The development includes condos, apartments, a hotel, restaurants, shops, town houses, swimming pools, gymnasiums and a private beach, all within a gated community.
There were no workers when our sister publication the Gulf Daily News (GDN) visited the site last week and it appeared nothing had changed since the last visit in February 2010.
RealCapita officials have not responded to numerous attempts by the GDN to contact them.
But one company director, who was part of the new team in charge, said he had 'given up' hope after months of urging company stakeholders to help the buyers.
'I was very keen to help those who had put in their money into the project and wanted to help them,' he said.
'I have now tried for several months and I am convinced there are far too many internal problems with the shareholders for them to think of the investors. I was asked to help talk with the investors and I vowed to help them. I must say I am disappointed and feel let down since I have not been able to do so just because there is too much of a mess to sort out.'
It was reported that Turkish company Cukurova Construction, which had originally been awarded the contract, had left in 2008, after only a few months on the job, because it had 'other plans'.
Sources had said work was then taken over by another Turkish company, Garantikoza but the site was reportedly 'abandoned' after developers failed to pay the company.
The then Amwaj Gateway sales head Ammar Al Bossta had in a letter to the GDN in April 2010 admitted there were delays but said it was unrealistic to not expect delays in 'such turbulent economic conditions'.
He said they were still confident the completion of the East tower would take place by end of 2010 or at most the first quarter of 2011.
He urged all buyers to have more patience, claiming there was no deliberate intent to mislead anybody therefore it was pointless to address any claims of 'criminal offence' or 'financial scandal'. – TradeArabia News Service