Press Releases

Investments in Al Areen exceed US$ 1 Billion. Gulf Holding Company Unveils Master Plan of Al Areen Downtown

26 March 2006

At a press conference held at the Al Areen Headquarters and Client Relations Center today, the Kuwait-based Gulf Holding Company unveiled its master plan and design for the Al Areen Downtown component of the Al Areen development.

Gulf Holding Company (GHC) is jointly sponsored by Gulf Finance House and Kuwait-based Bayan Investment Company to develop, at the outset, various Bahrain-based real estate opportunities, and has a paid-up capital of US$ 234million. GHC will be responsible for various strategic development components at Al Areen Downtown as well as the Residential South component of Bahrain Financial Harbour. The Company will conceive, execute and participate in real estate projects that contribute to the growth of the economies of Bahrain and the region. Al Areen Downtown is the first project that GHC will carry out.

Mr. Faisal Al Mutawa, Chairman of Bayan Investment Company, expressed his satisfaction with the Al Areen Downtown project schedule, and said that the Al Areen development has gained the confidence of investors with the attractive and lucrative investment opportunities it offers. He added that the investment climate in Bahrain offers the stability that foreign investors are seeking, and that Al Areen represents an excellent example.

Mr. Esam Janahi, Vice Chairman of the Al Areen Holding Company, said: “We are very proud to announce that the total investments in Al Areen have so far exceeded US$ 1 billion. This reflects the solid and ongoing commitment from major development companies, such as Gulf Holding Company, that are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Al Areen development. We are extremely happy with the unveiling of Al Areen Downtown’s master plan, and we believe that Al Areen will become one of the major tourism projects, not only in Bahrain but also in the region. This will surely be reflected by a substantial increase of the number of visitors and tourists coming to Bahrain.”.

“Al Areen Downtown is located strategically at the heart of the Al Areen development. Situated along the Boulevard of the integrated mixed use project on 261,000 square metres, it will offer commercial and residential facilities, luxury apartments, retail outlets and entertainment venues. The master plan was designed by a reputed international design company, with the general theme reflecting traditional Bahraini architecture. Al Areen Downtown overlooks the Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve, and the Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort. Though located amidst the serene calm of the Bahraini desert, it is also fairly close to the Bahrain high-octane excitement at the International Circuit”, he added..

Mr. Ahmed Al Ameer, Vice Chairman of Gulf Holding Company, revealed that Gulf Holding is in the final stages of completing the tender documents and specifications for the project. The estimated cost of the project is over US$ 360 million, with all construction phases expected to be finished by late 2007. “A well-trained, professional and specialised team has been formed to manage the project throughout its different stages, and a comprehensive marketing and promotion plan will be launched soon, to meet the expected large demand for the different commercial and residential components of the project,” he pointed out.

“Al Areen Downtown is set to offer the ultimate in residential, commercial and entertainment facilities. Visitors and residents will have the unique chance to experience the beauty of the desert and of the natural surroundings, while enjoying highly sophisticated contemporary facilities and state-of-the-art amenities. Al Areen Downtown will undoubtedly be one of the most charming and stunning downtowns anywhere,” he added.

“Al Areen Downtown will be divided into 10 zones, providing unlimited business and tourism opportunities, and enhancing its position as an invaluable asset to the entire region. The site is linked by a main Boulevard, which will be framed by abundant greenery. This broad walkway will feature a series of complexes along both sides of the pavement that will include residential and office space on the top three floors, with the ground floors reserved for a selection of restaurants, cafés and retail outlets,” explained Mr. Al Ameer.

From the Al Areen Downtown Boulevard stretches the main promenade, which will lead visitors to the idyllic Old Town. Inspired by historical Arabian architecture, Old Town Al Areen will recapture the forgotten charm of randomly placed homes and narrow winding streets of the past. During their trip back in time, visitors will also be able to enjoy a multitude of catering and entertainment facilities, supplemented by small hotels and furnished apartments.

Bordering the Old Town will be traditional town houses. Assembled using strict environmentally-friendly techniques and materials, these homes will be accessed through semi-enclosed green gardens and a pedestrian walkway that will be closed off to all vehicular traffic.

Two clusters of select villas will also be constructed – the first area will be located to the east of Old Town, and the second will be on the western edge of the town houses. Further residential housing will be offered through spacious terraced apartments, each of which will have a commanding view of the Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve. The heart of the project’s recreational facilities is the beautifully landscaped development neighboring the Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve, which will include restaurants and upscale shops.

According to an agreement signed between Gulf Finance House and Bayan Investment Company last September, GHC has taken responsibility for developing Al Areen Downtown as well as other strategic residential components at Al Areen.

Al Areen is a large-scale, luxurious urban mixed-use health and family tourism development spread over an area of 2 million square metres, located on an elevated desert plot in the southern region of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The core components of the development are the Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort and “The Lost Paradise of Dilmun” Water Park, in addition to the recently announced Al Waha Resort and the Domina Hotel & Resort engulfing the water park. The project will feature additional developments that will be announced shortly, including residential, commercial, hospitality, recreational, and entertainment facilities.