A senior figure has backed Bahrain as a ‘logical’ target for UK architects as a surge in house building in the kingdom was forecast.
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Property consultants Cluttons predicted that more than 6,000 homes would be completed by the government between April and September this year.
Its Q1 2013 market report added that retail and industrial work would follow as the Bahrain construction sector steadily grew.
Dan Ringelstein, director of urban design and planning at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, played a key role in creating a national masterplan for Bahrain.
The comprehensive project, aimed at allowing sustainable growth while protecting natural resources, was completed by an SOM-led team in 2007.
Ringelstein told AJ this week that the Cluttons report was evidence of the growth plan finally coming to fruition.
‘The project took a year or so after we completed it to be signed off, and then the economic downturn took place,’ he said.
‘Then when the Arab Spring happened, the project really ground to a halt. It is great news that some housing work is now coming through.’
Ringelstein said population growth and a desire for independent living were driving a housing crisis.
He added that development of banking and tourism facilities would follow the residential boom as the kingdom looked to diversify its economy.
‘It is a Middle Eastern country but it has a national plan and it would be a logical place to do work,’ he added.
‘It’s going to be very different to the growth seen in Dubai. It won’t be massive growth but it will be an enjoyable place to work.
‘The majority of the population are Bahrani, and it feels like it has its own identity – modernising but with a sense of history. It is also an archipelago, so it is surrounded by water.’
Cluttons said the Bahrain Central Bank had projected economic growth of 4 per cent in 2013.
Its report added that furnished homes with modern amenities were in great demand.
Retail work was likely to increase in line with tourism, and industrial space supply was likely to rise to meet demand, it added.