Bahrain has seen a boom in mixed-use and waterfront developments, with a number of major projects currently under construction that will add significantly to the high-end residential and commercial real estate landscape, not to mention expand the available hotel and tourism-related infrastructure that could be influential in helping grow the kingdom as a tourist destination. In September 2017 Bahrain showcased over $11bn of mixed-use real estate projects at the Cityscape Global property event in Dubai, chief among them Bahrain Bay, a $2.5bn luxury mixed-use development that stretches over an area of 450,000 sq metres and includes a Four Seasons Hotel, which opened in 2016, luxury residential complexes, as well as the headquarters of Al Baraka Islamic Bank, the Arcapita headquarters and the regional offices of AXA Insurance Group.
IN THE WORKS: Other projects on display at the Cityscape Global included Bahrain Marina, Diyar Al Muharraq, Durrat Al Bahrain and CanalView. Bahrain Marina is a mixed-use development in Manama that aims to create a distinct waterfront area. The 316,000-sq-metre project, being developed by Bahrain Marina Development, will feature residential, entertainment, leisure and marina facilities, including waterfront villas, a cinema complex, boardwalk and yacht club. Work on the first phases of the project, being undertaken by local company Al Hassanain Contracting and related to enabling and marine works, is expected to be completed in 2020, with the second phase to begin in 2018.
Diyar Al Muharraq, one of the biggest urban developments in Bahrain, is a large-scale master-planned community currently being built on 12 man-made islands off the coast of Muharraq, at the northern tip of the Bahraini archipelago. The area is expected to be home to more than 100,000 people when completed, with the development including a range of residential, commercial and retail properties, as well as schools, hospitals and 40 km of beaches. In August 2017 Diyar Al Muharraq Development Company announced that infrastructure work has begun for the second half of its Al Bareh residential zone, with the area scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.
Meanwhile, work is ongoing on Durrat Al Bahrain, a 21,000-sq-metre development consisting of offices, luxury hotels, spa resorts and retail space spread across 15 islands and CanalView, a residential, recreational and health development in Dilmunia. Industry insiders see a trend towards mixed-use projects. “There is a lot coming onto the market so you need to be more creative and think differently. That’s why they are moving now from malls to mixed developments,” Ahmed Abdulla, CEO of Seef Properties, told OBG.
According to Mark Haikal, head of investment at real estate and infrastructure development company Naseej, the developer behind CanalView, it is increasingly important to add something different to the market. “You want to not just meet demand but find a component that makes your project unique and attractive to people. If every apartment building is the same why would people come,” Haikal told OBG.
WATERFRONT: Going forward, other major mixed-used projects in Bahrain include Water Garden City, a new mixed-used waterfront development being built in Seef District by Albilad Real Estate Investment Company. The project is divided into nine neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct features, and consisting of residential units and a commercial district.
In April 2017 it was announced that the first phase of the development, which includes the Marina Promenade dining strip, was nearing completion. Meanwhile, in July 2017 Gulf-based design firm SSH was appointed to provide design and construction supervision for the Hasabi Waterfront Development, a mixed-used project located in the south of Bahrain, adjacent to Durrat Al Bahrain. The project will feature three- and four-bedroom villas, each with their own private jetties, as well as multi-storey three- and four-floor residential buildings, commercial developments and beach facilities.
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