Preparatory and design work deal signed for $13 m. Manama project

The 300 meter long Bab Al Bahrain Road and its surrounding area will be transformed into a huge shopping area as part of the $13 m. Manama suq project

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By  Rhys Jones Published  August 21, 2004

Bahrain's Commerce Minister Ali Saleh Al Saleh has signed a contract with Gulf House Engineering head Ahmed Bucheery for preparatory studies and design work for the US $13.3 million Manama suq project. The 300-meter long Bab Al Bahrain Road and its surrounding area will be transformed into a shopping area, which will be designed to fit in with the area’s existing buildings. The study will be completed in six months, following which, a contractor will be appointed, according to project architect Khalid Al Hashimi. It will then take between 18 months and two years for the completion of the project, which is part of a larger development that covers the entire Manama suq. “The first phase development focuses only on the 300-meter long Bab Al Bahrain road and the surrounding areas,” said Al Hashimi. “The old government blocks, including the police station and the post office building will also be renovated, with shaded structures,” he added. Existing blocks of old buildings on both sides of the road will also undergo extensive renovation while an air-conditioned common area will be provided behind these blocks. Furthermore, a plaza will be added on one of Manama’s main roads. “A plaza will be built at the intersection with Sheikh Abdulla Road, and it will contribute towards activating the old gold suq. The plaza will house coffee shops and public toilets,” explained Al Hashimi. Although there was a proposal to make the whole suq a pedestrian area, there were objections from some traders and it was decided to have small pocket areas for car parking. However, to meet the problem of traffic congestion in the area, a separate project for a multi-storey car park is being discussed. It is thought that the proposed car park, which may take up to 600 cars, could be built in an open area adjacent to Al Jazira Hotel. Part of Al Mutanabi Avenue, attached to the government blocks, will be closed during the construction phase and Al Hashimi has appealed for patience from the locals during the development of the area because he feels it will benefit residents and traders in the long-term. “We expect maximum co-operation from the suq traders and the public during the construction phase, as the work involved is very complex in nature,” he said. “The re-development project will make it an important hub of the country’s commerce, heritage and tourism industry.”

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