Bahrain

The Golden Gate towers ... soaring to a height of 245 m at Bahrain Bay. INSET: A close-up.

The Golden Gate towers ... soaring to a height of 245 m at Bahrain Bay. INSET: A close-up.

Highest homes to rise at Bay

January 2019

Standing tall in testimony to the close ties between Bahrain and India with a design that fuses elements from both cultures, the Golden Gate will rise 245 m above ground to take the crown of the tallest residential towers in the country.

The project, a 50-50 joint venture between Bahraini-based Kooheji Golden Gate (KGG) and Indian real estate companies Ajmera Realty and Mayfair Housing, aims to set a new benchmark for the real estate sector in Bahrain.

Being built in a prime location at the $2.5-billion Bahrain Bay development, the Golden Gate consists of two towers of 45 and 53 storeys with a total of 746 luxurious apartments – 286 and 460 apartments in each tower, respectively.

The project boasts many outstanding features, Anas Kooheji, the vice chairman of KGG, tells ABDULAZIZ KHATTAK of Gulf Construction at his 26th storey office at United Tower in Bahrain Bay that gives a direct view of the work under way below at Plot No D.01-1.

Bigger apartments, amazing prices, fantastic location, unobstructed views, abundance of facilities, high return on investment, high car-parking space ratio, numerous food and beverage (F&B) outlets within walking distance and, above all, the highest gross floor area (GFA) at Bahrain Bay are what Golden Gate offers, says Kooheji.

Golden Gate is located in the heart of Bahrain Bay on one of the seven anchor lands in the development. Kooheji calls it the golden zone. It is segregated from all sides with no adjoining building and features road access on three sides and a walkway at the Wharf on the fourth.

In its neighbourhood are two prominent retail and F&B concepts – The Park, a huge plot with parks and restaurants in the middle of the bay, which enjoys fantastic views; and The Wharf (North and South sides) on the canal opening into the Four Seasons hotel. The canal cleanly divides Bahrain Bay’s offices and commercial segment from the residential.

“We chose Bahrain Bay because of its strategic location, which puts the Golden Gate in close proximity to all cultural and financial centres. In addition, the infrastructure at Bahrain Bay is fantastic and is in line with the government’s 2030 vision. All utilities here are provided underground and are plug and play,” says Kooheji.

Down below, at the site, Keller is busy installing contiguous piles around the periphery of the towers.

Golden Gate’s 5,306-sq-m site is a high-density plot with the towers rising vertically high enough to offer a total built-up area of approximately 145,000 sq m and featuring the highest gross floor area (GFA) at Bahrain Bay. This has allowed optimisation of all cost aspects of the project, says Kooheji.

Elaborating on the project, Kooheji says there will be eight storeys entirely for car parking – three basement levels and then from levels two to six – the façade of which resembles jewellery boxes used in India. The basement levels have direct access from the connecting roads, increasing efficiency and circulation in the car parks.

“The car park is part of our vision, which is to see a project that supersedes any other for the next 20 to 30 years. And so we have the highest car-parking spaces ratio in Bahrain Bay and probably one of the highest in all of Bahrain,” he says.

The car parking requirement for Golden Gate, he says, was 784 slots for 746 residential units. But instead, 999 spaces are being built – an additional 215 slots or 21.5 per cent more than the requirement.

“Other developers would shy away from that because that’s additional cost. But we have kept the future of the project and residents in mind, and we have promised to deliver on that as well,” he adds.

In fact, Kooheji says one entire basement floor (B3) with almost 100 car-parking slots has been dedicated solely for visitors and guests of the canal side restaurants with a separate access.

The ground and mezzanine floors house the lobbies and main reception. The ground floor also has retail outlets as well as coffee shops.

Levels 7 and 8 feature various amenities for the residents including squash and basketball courts, jogging track and rock climbing wall, children’s play area and club, separate pools for men, women and children, dining area, separate gyms for men and women, lounge, library, cinema, aerobics and yoga hall, separate prayer rooms and salons for men and women, a board room, business centre, executive club and a conference room and a multipurpose hall. In addition, there will be cafes and restaurants all available on site for residents.

“We are a very customer-centric project. Facilities and lifestyle are key,” says Kooheji.

Apartments at Golden Gate start at the 9th floor, with those on the 11th floor and above, enjoying full 360-degree unobstructed views as the nearest building is 10 storeys high.

When it comes to the apartment mix, Golden has different types of floor plates.

Kooheji explains: “From the 9th to the 26th floor in the 53-storey tower, we have a mix of 12 units per floor, comprising four each of studios, one- and two-bedroom units. As we go higher, the number of units per floor starts to decrease to 10, 8 and then 6 but their size gets bigger. So the mix changes.”

From the 27th to the 29th and then 31st to 40th levels, each floor plate has two studios, two one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units. From Levels 41 to 48, the mix consists of four one- and three bedrooms on each floor. The higher you go, the more prestigious it is for clients, says Kooheji.

The apartments range in size from 50 sq m for a studio to 192 sq m for a three-bedroom unit, and are bigger in size than comparable units in the same categories available on the market.

Penthouses make up floors 49 to 51. At 1,060 sq m and custom-made to the owners’ requirements, these four-bedroom luxurious units are the highest penthouses in Bahrain.

Meanwhile, the 30th floor has services and a few residential apartments. And the top two floors (52 and 53), will also have services in addition to the machine room.

The floor plates at Golden Gate are very flexible and apartments of bigger sizes can be attained by simply removing the walls of adjoining smaller apartments.

Kooheji is proud of the efficiency that Golden Gate has achieved in terms of liveable area – more than 85 per cent – without compromising on the design of the apartments or the size of the common areas (corridors, lobbies, etc).

Other facilities at the Golden Gate include five lifts including one service lift, and one garbage chute per floor.

Crowning the towers are sail-shaped rooftops that represent Bahrain’s maritime culture, while also complementing a neighbouring project, which looks like a ship. Both the rooftop and the jewel box design symbolise the JV between India and Bahrain, says Kooheji.

Meanwhile, the oval shape of Golden Gate enables residents of apartments in the farthest part of the building to enjoy unobstructed views by maximising
balconies.

The 45-storey second tower has a mix of one- to two-bedroom apartments.

Kooheji says a total of 350 apartments will be up for sale with the remaining to be retained by the partners for rentals. Prices that Golden Gate offer are very competitive, he says.

“Out price per sq m is considerably lower than that of our competitors, and this gives us the label of Bahrain’s most promising investment opportunity. Owners can enjoy 30 per cent return on investment (ROI) right after they buy the apartment because of the lower prices offered,” Kooheji adds.

In fact, Kooheji says 190 apartments were sold even before the project’s launch – with 120 units purchased in bulk by one client. Expats including GCC nationals have shown a lot of interest in the project.

A fully furnished package for the apartments is also offered.

Furthermore, all owners become members of Golden Gate’s concierge programme that takes care of all their formalities and paperwork, in addition to services whether personal or business once the resident has moved in.

“These are all testaments to our philosophy of building trust and a long-term relationship with the tenants, rather than just a sell-and-drop strategy,” says Kooheji.

 

Construction overview

Work on the project started on September 18, 2018, says Ashok Mehta, the general manager projects at Golden Gate, adding Al Jameel Contracting (AJC) has been awarded the main contract for the project since it is already working on other developments in Bahrain Bay. Arif Sadeq Design Consultants, which also has experience at Bahrain Bay, is the architect and project consultant.

AJC has substantially mobilised at site and is now progressing actively in close co-ordination with the master developers.

Currently, contiguous piling is being done on site and is expected to be completed this month (January), says Mehta. A total of 362 piles, ranging from 8.5 m to 16 m in depth, will protect all the assets around the property. Mehta says the test pile has been well tested to its peak design load capacity and has even exceeded it by more than six per cent.

As of now, AJC has completed 282 contiguous perimeter piles out of 362 (77.9 per cent).

This will be followed by excavation for the three basement floors and the structural piling work to support the podium and towers, which will go on for three months.

The raft will be laid from -3 m so dewatering will be done. A dewatering plant will be installed and this water will be returned to the sea only after it is filtered through a sedimentation tank so as to protect marine life.

For the lift pits, excavation will be done at a further depth of 3.2 m. So the total depth of excavation will be 6.4 m.

The entire podium is expected to come up 20 months from the start of construction.

Mehta says the developer is closely monitoring the project with the consultant to ensure best possible quality is achieved with the materials and workmanship. 

Cladding will be specially taken care of due to the wind pressure and exclusivity of the project. Meanwhile, for the elevators, the latest technology will be explored.

The Golden Gate will be built entirely in a single phase and will be completed in 42 months from start of construction.

Kooheji sees Bahrain as a promising market. “The cost of land and construction in Bahrain is currently optimum, new laws by Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) are helping regulate the market, the EDB has an ambitious vision to expand investments into the country, and Bahrain has a friendly culture and offers the best ROI on investment. In addition, growth in neighbouring Saudi Arabia will positively affect growth in Bahrain,” he comments.

 




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