The $750-million project in Bahrain, which languished for several years after its launch in 2008, has got a new lease on life.
Villamar @ The Harbour, a residential component of the Bahrain Financial Harbour, is back on track with the main contractor, Al Hamad Construction and Development Company, now busy completing floor after floor in a race against time. One of the three towers in the project is scheduled to be handed over to buyers by the second half of 2018.
The $750-million Villamar is owned by Kuwait’s Gulf Holding Company (GHC). The project, which was launched in 2008, was stalled after political unrest and the global financial crisis hit the region in 2010. It was reactivated in December 2016, when a $200-million Sukuk agreement was restructured between GHC and Gulf Finance House (GFH), the main project sponsors, and Al Rajhi Bank, the original project financier. Other stakeholders include Cowi as the consultant, Projacs International as project managers, and HAJ as cost consultant.
Villamar is being delivered by Al Hamad as a turnkey project.
Majed Al Khan, the CEO of GFH Real Estate, tells Gulf Construction that since work resumed until early February, concreting works have been carried out in the upper floors and the podium level. Almost 1,500 sq m of glazing has been done; 1,500 tonnes of steel used; and a lot of casting and concreting done.
Villamar consists of three residential towers - A, B and C - and will house about 1,000 units with a total built-up area of 212,000 sq m. Tower C will be a five–star hotel and talks are under way with international brands to operate it. The units will be composed of apartments, townhouses, sky villas, terraced apartments and hotel rooms. Villamar is being built as a lifestyle concept and the entire project rests on an island of its own, enjoying a seafront on all sides.
“The niche aspect of the project are the sky villas,” says Al Khan. “These are duplexes that link the three towers together and are floating on one core supported by a tower on each end.”
On the other hand, the lifestyle apartments look exactly like townhouses with car-parks right in front of the homes, says Al Khan. Above the townhouses are sea-facing terraced apartments, which will have outdoor gardens and swimming pools.
Villamar is being built broadly in two phases and planned in such a way that all required resources including finances, building materials, manpower and technical abilities for each phase have been acquired for a smooth flow of work.
Currently, Tower B, housing 220 units, is structurally complete. Tower C, with 486 units, is being completed, while Tower A, which will house 170 units, has only the tip of the tower to be completed. Around 200 lifestyle and terraced apartments are under way too.
Al Khan says Phase One aims to handover Tower B to buyers and close the project by Q2 2018. The project structure, which is 70 per cent done, will be entirely completed in this phase as will be the finishes in Tower B and common areas to allow handover to the buyers – totalling 170 – that have all purchased units in this tower.
Commenting on work that has been carried out by Al Hamad on site, Al Khan says most of the blockwork, plastering, and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) for Tower B has also been done and elevators installed.
“Inspection of the MEP services is ongoing in addition to maintenance of existing air-conditioning units; duct fabrication and light point works. Plumbing works continue at a steady pace, and these include pressure testing of water supply pipes; installation of drainage pipes; pex pipes and water heater pipes in Tower B.”
Orders have also been placed for finishing and accessories.
Phase Two will see the completion for handover of other components including Towers A and C, and the lifestyle apartments. This phase is targeted for completion 24 months after the handover of Phase One.
Glazing has been completed on the sky villas between Towers A and B (northern part) and is in progress on those between Towers B and C (southern part).
The entire glazing for the project is being manufactured at Al Hamad’s own factories in Bahrain.
According to Mohammad Ghaith, the project manager of Al Hamad, the company has three factories for the project: one for the aluminium and glass works, which is producing the glazing panels; a soon-to-start joinery that will undertake the woodworks for kitchens and ballrooms; and the third for precast concrete and pre-stressed concrete.
Currently, the glazing on Tower A is under way and 95 per cent of the panels on Tower B have installed.
Commenting on the facades, Naim Madhat, senior project manager at Projacs, says the three towers will have a unitised system while the sky villas will have the stick system.
Al Khan says the building meets the Bahrain standards for environment, in addition to the glazing meeting a high standard of insulation.
In other works, Tower A balconies are also being built. The contractor has started slab shuttering in the podium level and slab deshuttering on the third level of the terrace villas.
The project will also have 14,700 sq m of retail space which features a promenade structure; and all retail outlets will have direct access to outdoor seating.
The car parks will be in the basement and the core of the project, providing a total of 1,700 slots with provisions of another 400 spaces. The rooftop of the car-park in the core, which covers 5,000 sq m, will feature gardens supporting all outdoor sport facilities.
Appreciating the contractor’s commitment to Villamar, Al Khan says: “Al Hamad stayed on site for the six years the project was stalled and didn’t allow the project to deteriorate, taking good care of the site.”
There are 400 people currently working on site.