Bid to revive $750m residential project
Manama, February 3, 2013
A group nearly 100 investors from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have launched a bid to revive a $750 million residential development in Bahrain, now two years overdue, a report said.
They have signed a petition demanding the government take charge of construction work at Marina West, said the report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
Campaigners say around 400 people have invested an estimated BD57 million ($150.1 million) in the off-plan property development since 2007. Work halted in early 2010 because of the market conditions and never restarted.
The petition will be submitted to HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa in the coming days.
Signatories hope he will agree to appoint an administrator to take up the project and negotiate with new investors.
"It is important for the Bahrain government to restore confidence among investors, which can be done if it takes up the Marina West project," said Saudi Hassan Al Husseini.
He is one of 400 people from more than 20 countries, who have already paid about 80 per cent of the value of their apartments in the project.
Investors are determined to keep the pressure on authorities and held three meetings last week to discuss the way forward.
"We submitted a similar petition on November 24, 2011 to His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, in which we appealed for help as the delays in this project is affecting hundreds of investors, families and Bahrain banks," said Mr Al Husseini.
He revealed many buyers have requested to see an audit of project finances to get a clear picture of its status, given the fact they invested millions of dinars.
Al Husseini said the developers initially promised the project would be completed by December 2009, which was later pushed back to December 2010.
"We, investors, have not filed any legal case as the process in courts takes time, maybe years," he said.
The petition calls for a solution to the crisis which it states "has affected the flow of investments into Bahrain".
It also claims investors from Saudi Arabia and Europe had come forward to finance the project, but the original developers had rejected all such offers.
The project, close to the King Fahad Causeway, was due to house 11 towers including a five-star hotel, 1,168 residential flats and a number of recreational and service facilities.
The GDN reported in October that investors planned to set up a trust to lobby the international community.
They also approached Bahrain's Criminal Investigation Directorate and Interpol in an attempt to seek redress.
Marina West officials could not be reached for comment.
Chief executive officer Mahmood Janahi earlier blamed the "global recession" for delays in the execution of the project.
Speaking in August, he said a syndication arrangement with local banks to finance the project was being studied - adding that finance was being arranged through the selling of sponsors' equity to new regional partners. – TradeArabia News Service