Private investors are being invited to bid to develop and provide services in government-owned land, spanning more than 230,000 square metres.
The Government Land Investment Platform was unveiled last night and is the latest in a series of initiatives announced under the Economic Recovery Plan in November last year.
Currently, 17 projects, spanning 230,814.20sqm, are available, providing an opportunity for the private sector to partner with Edamah, the Finance and National Economy Ministry (MOFNE), or the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry.
“This is the first batch of projects to be made available on the platform,” Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning minister Essam Khalaf announced during a Press conference.
“Our ministry is looking for investors to partner with, on seven properties, spanning 52,785.70 sqm.”
Edamah, meanwhile, also has seven properties on the platform, spanning 26,335 sqm and MOFNE has listed three of its properties, with a total area of 151,693.50 sqm.
Interested investors can visit investmentland.gov.bh to view the properties, most of which have a specific purpose and are open for general public auction.
In case a property does not have a predetermined purpose, the responsible ministry is inviting competitive negotiation, during which private entities can provide ideas and feedback, working with public authorities to develop a collaborative development plan.
Each listing provides the size, location and a 360-degree view of the property, along with the designated plan. Currently, there are 10 commercial, three educational and four entertainment designated properties available.
Four fall within Capital, three in Muharraq, one in Northern and nine in the Southern governorates.
According to National Economy Undersecretary Amna Ahmed Rashid Al Romaihi, the new platform is in line with international standards and investors will be able to apply through the established Bahrain Tender Board procedures.
Investment bids will need to be approved and quality for the projects will monitored throughout the life of the contract signed between the government and the private entity.
The life of the development and service provision contracts will range from 15 to 30 years, at the end of which the private entity will sign another contract to continue operations, the ministry will take over the project or another entity will be invited to manage the project.
“The goal of this platform is three-pronged – provide transparency, encourage economic diversification and foster public-private partnerships,” Bahrain EDB chief executive Khalid Humaidan added.
According to Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the projects would be overseen by RERA to ensure compliance with industry standards and fair competition.
The projects will be open to both foreign and local investors, and the platform hopes to draw more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Edamah chief executive Amin Alarrayed clarifed that the choice to go with a service contract and collaborative development model, as opposed to a straightforward sale, was made to ensure development actually takes place, which can not be guaranteed once a property has been sold.
Among the projects currently listed on the website are plots of land near the Estiqlal Highway across from the petrol station, as well as one near the Sitra Central Market. In addition, there are properties in the Zallaq and Hidd areas designated for educational purposes, including one for the construction of a university.
“For each property, we will be monitoring the quality of services provided throughout the life of the contract, and based on the feedback we receive during this first phase, more properties will be made available soon,” Mr Khalaf told the GDN.