Bahrain starts work on Middle East’s biggest healthcare project

February 25th, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, Feb 25 (IANS) Bahrain’s Ithmaar Development Co (IDC) has awarded a $69-million contract to Boskalis Westminster Middle East to start reclamation work in the country’s northeast coast for what is to be the Middle East’s largest healthcare, leisure and real estate project. The $1.6-billion project, called Dilmunia, is aimed at revolutionising the healthcare industry in the region and turn Bahrain into a regional health tourism centre.

“Dilmunia will become an integral part of Bahrain’s infrastructure, providing benefits well beyond the $1.6 billion that will be directly injected into the economy,” IDC chief executive and Health Island Co chairman Mohammed Khalil Alsayed said in a statement.

Apart from specialist clinics, hospitals, spas and other wellness facilities, the project will also include hotels, residential areas and leisure and shopping centres, providing residents and visitors with state-of-the-art healthcare services in a resort-type environment, according to a company statement.

“While largely self-contained, the health island is expected to generate other value-added economic activities, centred around the healthcare industry, and will complement Bahrain’s strong public and private medical facilities,” Alsayed said.

IDC is the wholly owned development arm of Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank, and is part of the Ithmaar banking group.

Boskalis Westminster is the Middle East subsidiary of Dutch multinational Boskalis Westminster and has executed major reclamation projects in Bahrain, including for the Industrial Area in Hidd and the new Northern Town.

Ithmaar Bank raised $185 million for the Dilmunia Development Fund through a successful private placement.

According to the company, the funds raised would be deployed in purchasing the land and investing in the initial infrastructure work for the island, paving the way for the project to enter its next phase, when some of the plots will be sold to investors for development.

Site mobilization for the reclamation work on the island will start on March 1, 2008 and the work will be completed in approximately 15 months.

Alsayed said reclamation and construction work would be carried out according to strict international standards to ensure that the environmental impact is as minimal as possible.

The first phase of an environmental impact assessment has already been carried out, with positive initial results, he said.

The master planners for the health island are Singapore-based architecture firm DP Architects.

Healthcare facilities will include a 358-bed hospital, a 216-bed hospital for women and children and specialist clinics offering medical, aesthetics, nutrition, diagnostics and sports medicine treatments.

The new development will have three five-star boutique hotels, with French, Chinese and Thai-inspired themes, as well as a four-star luxury hotel with a Middle Eastern design.

The hotels will be equipped to take care of patients who are still undergoing treatments at the island’s medical and wellness facilities.

Residential units will comprise 118 villas, 1,050 condominiums and residential units, 312 quayside residences and several serviced apartments, the company said.

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