By Construction Week
Retail complex that stood empty for five years finally expected to open at the end of year
A shopping mall in Bahrain that stood empty for five years after being built is finally expected to officially open at the end of the year, according to senior municipal officials.
Gulf Daily News reports that the US$1.66m (BHD 630,000) complex was completed in 2007 and a private firm was appointed in 2008 to manage the property on behalf of the Northern Municipality, which comes under the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
However, the company was sacked last month after failing to attract a single tenant, according to municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam.
He said the municipality took back responsibility for the mall and had already rented out 60 percent of the space, which it hopes to fill by the time the official opening takes place in December.
“I don’t understand why we needed to bring in the company in the first place,” he added.
“It was a decision taken by the previous municipality director-general, but I decided to pull the plug after discovering the real estate company didn’t rent out any shops.”
The mall is located on the troubled Zaid bin Omaira Avenue, which has been marred by street violence.
The private real estate firm was paying just US$9,289 (BHD3,500) a month to lease the space and the municipality predicts it can double its revenues by going it alone.
“We are expecting a revenue of US$159,236 (BHD60,000) a year from renting out shops, which is around double the amount we were receiving from the private real estate company,” explained Al Ghatam.
He said the aim was to fill the complex by the time the official opening took place during National Day celebrations in mid-December.
“We have now signed contracts for a supermarket, children and women’s clothing shops, phones and perfumes shops, a stationery shop, gifts and flower shops and a children’s play area,” he revealed.
“The municipality will also open an office in the mall to make it easier for residents of the area to access services,” he added.