BTM sat down with Ahmed Alammadi, the new CEO of Diyar Al Muharraq, to learn more about the project.
How long have you been with Diyar?
I have been in Diyar Al Muharraq for about four years. Prior to the CEO position, I was Head of Investments and Asset Management for more than three years.
What is your professional background that has prepared you for this role?
My undergraduate was engineering, and my Master’s was in a governance. My past 15 years of work experience in the financial sector, working with investment relations, sales and marketing, asset management, and retail real estate development, has positively contributed to my skill set, earning me the position of Head of Investments and Asset Management at Diyar. During that time, I worked closely with the board and CEO, Dr Maher Al Shaer, as well as sharing many responsibilities such as Diyar’s overall portfolio strategy, all of which prepared me for the next step, becoming the CEO.
Diyar is a massive project. For the uninitiated, please can you tell us exactly what it comprises?
Diyar Al Muharraq is one of the largest, most visionary and progressive urban developments in the Kingdom. It is a fully integrated modern city that incorporates a strong lineup of residential and commercial projects, ideal for both personal and investment purposes.
The total area is 12sq/km, which is a massive master plan, comparable to any other major city [it’s equivalent to 2,242 football pitches]. It comprises seven reclaimed islands, with 40km of waterfront living and sandy beaches.
How long has the process taken so far? And how much is completed and handed over?
It has been 14 years so far, since reclamation began in 2006. Construction started in 2012. Construction in the city is ongoing, with the completion of six major projects in 2019, which are:
- Portable water distribution station, ground storage tanks and elevated storage reservoir.
- Completion of TSE storage reservoir and pumping station.
- Completion of main highway as well as Diyar Business Park, Hai Al Sherooq, Hai Al Noor and Souq Al Baraha internal primary infrastructure (South Island).
- Completion of landscaping (South Island).
- Completion of Hadiqat Al Diyar.
- Completion of Phase 1 of Al Bareh Project secondary infrastructure.
There are many other projects nearing completion in 2020 and others in 2021, which are:
- ThaiMart due in 2020.
- Al Naseem Gated Community marine works, secondary infrastructure and Al Naseem seafront villas (73 units) due in H2 2021.
- Al Bareh Villas Phase 1 (36 units) due in Q4 2020.
- Completion of Hadiqat Al Diyar park located near the main entrance of Diyar.
- Jeewan Phases 1 and 2 (292 units) due in Q4 2020.
- Souq Al Baraha (470 units) due in H1 2021.
- Jeewan Phase 3 (160 units) due in Q1 2021.
Further projects have already completed the planning stages and will commence in 2020. The majority of the project is due to be completed by 2030, in line with the Kingdom’s economic vision.
One subject often raised in Bahrain is the apparent lack of facilities for young people, apart from shopping malls. Will you be addressing this?
That is important for us because they are the future and entertainment and activities are important. We have a respectable-sized plot dedicated to education. So, Applied Science University will be coming in. There is also Hadiqat Al Diyar Park which contains a lot of activities like the jogging track, an outdoor gym, picnic areas and football, tennis, and basketball field and courts. There is also Marassi Beach, which is an amazing outdoor facility for the young generation, including water and beach activities
What are the biggest challenges the project has encountered and how are you dealing with these for the future?
We are the first private sector company to create a fully-integrated modern city in the Kingdom, and with new experiences come new challenges that require fresh and innovative solutions. With that, we have introduced energy-saving solutions such as solar panel provisions on villas.
There have been issues with geopolitical risks and sometimes with the supply of building materials and manpower but we have passed them all.
There are also sometimes challenges in creativity because we are always looking for the unique, to top the best. But that is a fun challenge!
As technology expands, we continue to face new changes daily. It is important to learn from the challenges and think outside the box.