Raffles City may halt construction

Construction Week

The developer of Raffles City Bahrain may stop construction after phase one in order to reassess the development in the current economic climate, according to Bahrain Bay CEO Bob Vincent.

Construction of phase one – the project’s underground car park and basement – was commenced by Nass Murray & Roberts Joint Venture in July and is scheduled to finish by the middle of the year.

“At that point it looks like they might stop construction and reevaluate things to capture the best pricing or product for the market,” Vincent told Construction Week.

“It doesn’t mean the project has stopped but that they will continue the next stage at the most sensible time to maximize the returns.

“It’s a massive undertaking and for it to be a long term success it has to be properly driven by the right commercial decisions.”

Vincent said the Raffles City Bahrain Development Fund, of which Singapore’s Capitaland is a main investor, was contractually obliged to complete phase one to allow infrastructure works for the whole of Bahrain Bay to proceed.

Raffles City is a waterfront residential project that forms a major component of the US $2.5 billion (BHD 943 million) Bahrain Bay development located in the heart of Manama.

Vincent said infrastructure works for Bahrain Bay were progressing as scheduled, but there will be delays to the construction of sub-developments.

“All the other developers have been assessing their business plans in terms of their timing for start, their design, the functionality of the design, the mix of the product – all of the projects are undergoing that process,” he said.

“In the end there is enough flexibility in our relationships with them to allow them to implement their project successfully.”

Vincent said construction of Bahrain Bay’s Four Seasons Hotel will most likely commence in the first half of 2010, almost 1½ years behind schedule.

The tower was originally going to be an iconic centerpiece for Bahrain Bay standing at 285m tall, but has since been scaled back.

“The height of the building has changed because it was extremely expensive to build and the uses of the hotel have changed to make it more user friendly family oriented,” said Vincent.

“Previously it was a businessmen’s hotel driven by convention usage and in this market was too expensive to build and the shift in demand justified a change in design.”

The entire Bahrain Bay development was originally intended for completion in 2013, but will now most likely be 2015 said Vincent.



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