Bahrain discovers number one formula
by Zoe Naylor
July 29, 2006
While the UAE may grab the majority of the construction headlines, the diminutive Kingdom of Bahrain is attracting a growing share of attention as a swathe of new projects get underway. Bahrain made history in 2004 as the first Middle Eastern nation to stage the Formula One Grand Prix.
More than 12,000 tonnes of stone were used to construct the race circuit — a third of it Welsh granite, chosen for the track surface due to its adhesive qualities.
The success of this fast-tracked project put Bahrain firmly at the centre of Gulf motor sport, and at the same time helped pave the way for countless other bold construction projects. But with such a limited natural land area on which to build, reclamation work is fast becoming a vital element within Bahrain’s construction scene.
Durrat Al Bahrain islands:
The US $1 billion (BD378 million) Durrat Al Bahrain islands will stretch over an area of 20km2 of reclaimed desert and sea. Located near the southern tip of Bahrain, the development will include 13 different islands with more than 2,000 villas and 3,000 apartments. There will also be hotels, restaurants, promenades, shopping centres, a marina and an 18-hole championship golf course.
Another mega project is Amwaj Islands, a group of man-made islands, which has been reclaimed off the northeast coast of Al Muharraq Island. Developed by Ossis and covering an area of around 2.8 million m2, the mixed-use project will combine residential neighbourhoods, commercial districts and leisure resorts.
The $1.5 billion development will provide 9.5km of beachfront land and is due for completion in August 2007. With the reclamation of Amwaj Islands now complete, developers are getting underway with infrastructure projects on the islands.
The latest project to be unveiled is The Lagoon Bahrain, 55,000m2 of commercial space located on a waterside strip of Amwaj Islands. “Simplex Almoayyed won the piling contract for the project and has just begun work,” says Amer Al Khan, development director, The Lagoon Bahrain. Overall completion of the project is scheduled for August 2007.
According to Al Khan, Bahrain was the ideal choice for The Lagoon project. “Business here is booming, especially after Formula One was awarded to Bahrain — and tourism is definitely increasing. A lot of new franchises are coming to Bahrain and there’s a lot of new hotels and projects coming up, too. It’s similar to how Dubai boomed over the past 10 years.