New malls bring surge in Bahrain retail sector

New projects to be added to the retail and hospitality pipeline, while residential sector remains stable, CBRE report says

PHOTO: Bahrain's hospitality sector has also seen several new projects entering the market. Credit: Shutterstock

Bahrain’s retail sector saw a surge in 2014, with growth being driven by a rising number of new shopping centres, a report has found.

According to the Q4 2014 Bahrain MarketView by property consulting firm CBRE, the country has seen growth in community retail shopping complexes. Additionally, the upcoming Seef Mall Muharraq, expected to open this year, has also seen significant uptake with a high percentage of the mall pre-let, CBRE said in a statement.

“Despite Bahrain being a small market geographically, demographics and traffic congestion has led to a need for local retail, as well as food and beverage options. This shift has spurred the progress of new developments at Muharraq, Isa Town and Riffa,” said Steve Mayes, Director, Middle East Research, CBRE Bahrain.

The hospitality sector has also seen several new projects entering the market, such as the Swiss-Belhotel and Ramee Grand Hotel and Spa in Seef. Other upcoming five-star hotels include The Four Seasons and Wyndham Grand Hotel at Bahrain Bay, along with the ART Rotana at Amwaj Islands, a beachfront development slated for opening in early 2015.

“It is reported that construction will start in the coming year on a 215 room Fairmont-branded hotel, near the Bahrain International Circuit, funded by a joint venture between Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and FRHI Hotels and Resorts. The development is set for completion in 2018,” Mayes said.

Bahrain’s residential market, on the other hand, had seen little change in the last quarter of 2014, with rates remaining relatively stable.

Juffair and Amwaj Islands remain popular, with the latter seeing new developments entering the market.

“Reef Island and the Seef District continue to benefit from their close proximity to offices, destination shopping malls and entertainment centres. Further phases of development at Reef Island are also nearing completion, including Marina Reef (expected in 2015) and the remaining towers of Dar Al Salam Port, a Bin Faqeeh development. It is expected that these buildings will face little challenge in attracting tenants,” Mayes added.

Meanwhile, the Bahraini government will oversee the completion of stalled residential projects, which is expected to bolster investor confidence, real estate consultancy Cluttons announced on Sunday.

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