March 21, 2008 As Arab States continue to build for the future using oil-buoyed economies, the region is beginning to explore the concept of creating designer islands. Dubai gave the idea currency with its megadollar World and Palm projects, effectively showing the world how to build artificial realty. Neighbouring Qatar came up with the Pearl, and now Bahrain is in the process of building Reef Island at a cost of BD 450 million (US$ 1.20 billion). Of course you could always go for a floating island.
The 579 thousand square meters (6.23 million square feet) free-hold development, previously known as Lulu Island, is being re-launched with a brand new marketing push targeting high income investors and residents from across the Gulf. Lying off the shores of Manama, Reef Island will include a total of 1,217 apartments among 39 residential buildings, 65 villas, 49 chalets and a 250-room 5-star hotel & spa. The project will also contain an all-inclusive shopping mall, the most up-to-date Medical Center, six lavish parks, a private marina, a state-of-the-art Spa Village and a Yacht club.
With its luxurious designs, spacious parks and even an Aquarium, Reef will be an island paradise complete with modern amenities and infrastructure. Its facilities will include a shopping mall, a multi-function exhibition center, a medical center, a marina and a yacht club. The project is a joint venture between the Bahrain government and the Mouawad Group for Real Estate Development Company.
"Reef Island will be Bahrain's most luxurious development, offering the serenity of wide open spaces and greenery that Bahrainis and residents have long wished for. All of the residential buildings, except for the project's icon tower, are low rise, ranging from 5 to 13 floors. They take up less than 30 per cent of the total land area, providing a unique environment where landscape and open space areas provide an exclusive style of living," said Robert Mouawad, Chairman of Lulu Tourism Company which owns the project.
"We have renamed the project Reef Island in order to differentiate it from several other projects which also go by the name Lulu. We believe that the new brand emphasizes both the development's uniqueness and beauty," he continued. "Reef Island will have a central location, 15 minutes from the airport, 5 minutes from the business district, and just a few minutes from Financial Harbor and central Manama. Yet due to its unique spacious designs it provides an environment as if you are living outside the city. We plan to provide a financing scheme shortly to facilitate the purchase of apartments."
Land reclamation for the project was completed in 2005 with the marine set for completion by May 2007, and infrastructure works, including roads, electricity, water, sewerage and telecommunications, by the end of 2007. The building construction will commence middle of this year and is broken down into phases. Building construction will begin in the middle of the year, with the first phase scheduled to be completed in early 2009 and the second by the end of 2010.
"We have world-class companies working on the project to ensure that we meet these deadlines. As developers, we have also gone to great lengths to ensure that impact on water flow and the marine environment is minimized," added Mouawad. The main contractor for the marine and infrastructure works is Bahrain-based AMA, which is being supported by many other Bahraini subcontractors. The Mouawad Group has been involved in many luxury projects in Lebanon and France, including Grand Hills Hotel and Spa in Broumana, residential buildings in Solidere and Beirut, Hotel de Vendome 1 Place Vendome, Paris and Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in French Riviera.
Mr. Fleihan added, “With Reef Island, we are working on introducing premium lifestyle concepts by incorporating several features like a serene environment which boasts of 20% green spaces out of the total 6.23 million square feet area. The intricate fusion of Far Eastern design with a contemporary spirit creates a magical exterior where each building is a work of art with unmatched craftsmanship. The Master Planner has shaped the island as an icon for residential developments in Bahrain. It preserves individuality and is a true reflection of inner beauty.”
The Island is strategically located because of its close proximity to the airport, the Bahrain Financial Harbor, and central Manama. Reef Island is a 50/50 joint venture between Bahrain Government and Mouawad Property Development Group represented by Lulu Tourism which owns and manages the overall project.
The island will have two phases as completion dates where the first will wrap up early 2009 & the second will be concluded at the end of 2010.
We saw Reef Island in Intlisting’s excellent article, Top 10 Man-Made Island Paradises.