Bahrain's Gulf Holding appoints new CEO

Majed Al Khan will also head up the delayed $650m Villamar project in Bahrain Financial Harbour

Villamar in Bahrain Financial Harbour has been dogged by delays.
Villamar in Bahrain Financial Harbour has been dogged by delays.

Gulf Holding Company (GHC) has appointed Majed Al Khan as CEO and head of the $650m Villamar development in Bahrain.

Al Khan joins GHC with more than 15 years of experience in real estate sector, project development and investments. Previously he was deputy CEO & head of investments in Al-Khaleej Development Company, a Bahraini real estate investment firm. 

He will be focused foremost on the swift delivery of Villamar, where work has restarted on the luxury, mixed-use, residential project based in the Bahrain Financial Harbour.

Al Khan said: "I’m pleased to join Gulf Holding Company and the Villamar development team, which is the most prominent commercial landmark in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I appreciate the commitment of the Board of Directors to supporting the completion of this project and re-establishing GHC as a key player in the Bahraini and regional real estate development market."

Hisham Alrayes, chairman of Gulf Holding Company, said: "Following the recent remobilization of construction at Villamar, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Majed Al Khan who has extensive experience and good connections in the real estate investment sector. One of the key responsibilities of Mr. Al Khan includes the reactivation of construction work on the Villamar project, which is one of the landmark real estate projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain. He will also oversee the reorganisation and restructuring of GHC so that it can realize its objectives of becoming one of the major real estate developers in the Kingdom of Bahrain and broader GCC region."

One of Bahrain’s most delayed projects, the Villamar development will be completed in 2017, 11 years after it was first launched.

Gulf Holding said in August that it had secured a restructuring agreement with the project’s original financier Al Rajhi Bank, the new financier GFH and project contractor Al Hamad Construction to restart work on Villamar, a three-tower project that has been hit by a series of delays as a result of the financial crisis.

The developer said that work on site had already restarted, and that the project will be completed in “approximately 24 months”.

Launched in 2006, Villamar was originally set to be completed in 2009, although the project was put on hold in October 2011 due to a combination of factors, including political unrest in the country and concerns over a liquidity crunch at the project’s parent company.

Work restarted on Villamar in 2012, with the project estimated to be about 50% complete, although it stalled shortly afterwards.

Earlier this year, the Bahraini government announced it had established a new committee to oversee the completion of stalled property projects.

According to a report from state news agency BNA in March, the Ministerial Committee for Construction and Infrastructure has considered four developments: Villamar, Amwaj Gateway, Marina West and Riffa Views.

“The stalled projects listed by the special committee, that have been earmarked to be pushed over the finish line, have been lying dormant, tantalisingly close to completion, for a number of years,” Faisal Durrani, Cluttons’ international research and business development manager, said in March.

"Not only have these served as a constant reminder of the recent challenges faced by the real estate market across Bahrain, but they have been a source of financial distress for both domestic and international investors.”

The Villamar project will feature three twisted towers and 800 residential units in total, including “lifestyle apartments with one to five bedrooms, floating sky villas, retail outlets and a quiet boardwalk”.

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