Investors in Bahrain project to sue developer

EXCLUSIVE: Investors have been waiting nearly three years for Marina West to restart
By Claire Valdini
Thu 07 Feb 2013 09:18 AM

Investors in the troubled Marina West in Bahrain will press ahead with legal action against the Bahraini developer after nearly three years of waiting for the project to restart.

The Marina West Owners Association, which represents around 300 investors, said it has also submitted a petition – signed by nearly 100 buyers – to lobby the Bahraini prime minister’s office to appoint an administrator for the project.

“We want the project to go ahead. We have a petition, a court case and we have groups of investors that are going to see their ambassadors,” said Hassan Al-Husseini, who paid BHD100,000 (US$265,231) for a four-bedroom apartment in 2006.

“The level of frustration is incredible; most of us are renting alternate homes because our apartments were originally promised in December 2009 – which under the purchase agreement could be delayed until December 2010 – so I am in my third year of renting a temporary apartment and everyone else is doing the same,” he added.

Work on the project, which is based in Budaiya Village and consists of ten residential towers and a five-star hotel, was halted in March 2010 due to a lack of funds.

Two months later Marina West’s CEO, Mahmood Janahi, said that he was determined to complete the project and that negotiations were under way with a series of potential investors to add “fresh impetus” to the residential site.

Work onsite has still not begun, despite promises to restart construction in January 2011. The majority of investors have paid 80 percent cash for their property, said Al-Husseini. He added that the sales and purchase agreement stated buyers pay according to a time schedule rather than on a construction-linked basis.

Owners have alleged that developers AAJ Holdings and MJ Holdings received US$150m from buyers but had only spent US$48m on onsite building. Investors said they have lobbied several government officials, including the Crown Prince’s office, but this has failed to produce any results. 

Buyers also claim that the developers have continued to make unrealistic terms for any potential financiers. “We’ve managed to get hold of information that was made available to investors for potential financiers but what I have seen of it it’s just a joke and the figures they are asking for are unrealistic and not market value,” said Alan Pitt, who has paid 95 percent of his BHD88,000 apartment.

“They are intent on clinging on to it but our only redress is for them to be ousted and for the government to appoint an administrator. This is what we have been after all of this time. I personally want to see the project go ahead,” he added.

Calls made by Arabian Business to the Marina West office went unanswered.

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