Investors cancel $66m Bahrain development over land dispute

Gov’t real estate firm refuses to give land for mixed-use coastal development despite ministry approval for plans, which included marina, resort, residences
The Al Ghous Corniche marina development. (Image for illustration only)
By Courtney Trenwith
Sun 16 Mar 2014 11:16 AM

International investors have cancelled a BD25m ($66m) coastal development in Manama over a land ownership dispute with the government.

A consortium of Turkish, Saudi and Bahraini businessmen had planned to develop a resort, shopping mall, indoor and outdoor theme park, office tower, residences, a fish market, marina, jetty and public beach on Al Ghous Corniche in Muharraq, the area between the centre of Manama and the international airport.

The project was approved by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister in 2012 but work, due to begin last year, has not started, because the ministry had not been able to convince a government development firm to relinquish ownership of the required land, Gulf Daily News reported.

The northern section of the corniche, where the development was to be located, is owned by Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company (Edamah), a subsidiary of the government firm Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.

Edamah has refused to swap its land in Muharraq for other plots elsewhere in the kingdom to allow the development to go ahead, according to Muharraq councillor Fatema Salman.

"Edamah refused to enter as a partner in the project with the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry after earlier rejecting getting its plots of land replaced with another through a deeds transfer by the Royal Court," Salman was quoted as saying.

"Investment of BD25m doesn't wait for procedures or tug-of-war and the consortium has decided to take its money to another Gulf coast, which is a loss to Bahrain and the public.

"The investors waited for years for the issue to be resolved and we tried our best to solve it, but as everyone can clearly see this country faces a lot of problems related to lack of coordination or understanding between bodies concerned."

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.