El Balcon ... a $21.5-million project by First Bahrain.

El Balcon ... a $21.5-million project by First Bahrain.

El Balcón takes shape in Seef

January 2020

El Balcón, First Bahrain Real Estate Development Company’s new retail project, is set for completion by the third quarter of this year, with lease inquiries pouring in and the anchor tenant already signed up.

Contracted to one of Bahrain’s largest construction firms, Alghanah Group, the project builds on the success of El Mercado, First Bahrain’s mixed-use retail and residential project in Janabiya. Work on the $21.5-million project, which was designed by Design Studio – Architects, started in February 2019, writes ABDULAZIZ KHATTAK for Gulf Construction.

The project is being financed by Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), one of Bahrain’s leading Islamic banks.

El Balcon is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

El Balcon is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

Situated across the City Centre Bahrain in Seef, El Balcón – which translates to ‘The Balcony’ – will develop into an outdoor space with balconies and terraces; a place which will facilitate both community and commerce.

“With its landscaped courtyards, outdoor seating, soothing water features, and a variety of restaurants, cafes and services, El Balcón aims to be the perfect spot for families and friends to relax, shop, and dine. Ample parking adjacent to unit entrances will also support quick entry and exit,” says Omar Al Temiemy, the CEO of First Bahrain.

The mall, built on 114,000 sq ft of land, will feature over 79,000 sq ft of premium retail space offering 38 units ranging from 300 to 2,300 sq ft in size. The retail complex will feature a mix of cafes, restaurants, entertainment, and retail shops that will offer a unique experience through a mix of drive-up and drive-thru outlets featuring terraced views and outdoor seating.

Lease discussions are under way with tenants as the developer aims to deliver a quality mix of goods and services to the needs of the local community.

And while the focus has been on securing the anchor tenants first, the leasing process is now being expanded to include individual shops, says Khalid Shaheen, First Bahrain’s head of business development, adding El Balcón has already received many letters of interest from well-known brands.

Meanwhile, the managing director of AlGhanah Group, Mohamed Alghanah, says: “We are very happy to be partnering with First Bahrain on their new project in Seef. Our team has already started construction on site and we are quite pleased with the progress. Our approach will deliver a unique project with services that will hopefully complement the area.”

Al Temiemy says Alghanah Group was chosen because of its enduring reputation for excellence and its diverse project portfolio. “This signature project in a high-traffic location is key to our reputation, so we needed a contractor whom we could rely upon to implement our vision. We are certain they are the perfect partners to bring this project to life,” he comments.

Meanwhile, early last year, Saudi-based Jarir Bookstore, one the largest retail stores in the GCC, announced that it would open its first branch in Bahrain in a First Bahrain development in Seef District. The bookstore is expected to be integrated into the El Balcón commercial development.

Calling Seef District as the best location for its new branch, Jarir COO Nassir Al Ageel had indicated $10 million of investment in the Bahrain showroom. The new showroom is set to be a prime destination for lovers of latest technology gadgets and books.

First Bahrain Real Estate Development Company is a well-established real estate developer founded in Kuwait in 2004 and operating in Bahrain since 2007.

The company owns or holds rights to over 1 million sq ft of strategically located plots in Bahrain. Its signature project is the mixed-use El Mercado Village, featuring an integrated neighbourhood market and residential development comprising 42 stand-alone and semi-detached homes.

First Bahrain is also the parent company of Majaal Warehouse Company, the leading developer and operator of industrial facilities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Majaal’s properties at the Bahrain Investment Wharf in Hidd consist of seven buildings offering over 400,000 sq ft of leasable space.  

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