GFH Financial Group confirmed on Tuesday that it is planning to launch a specialist real estate division to develop a number of its projects in Dubai and its home base of Bahrain.
The Bahrain-listed investment group said that the division, GFH Real Estate, would have initial assets of US$40 million and would manage projects in Bahrain and Dubai that the company had previously invested in with a combined value of $300m.
Projects being brought forward include the Harbour Row and Harbour North schemes in Bahrain and one in Dubai, Dubai California Village.
The company started work on the $150m Harbour Row project in December and said that it intends to launch the remaining phases of the residential-led project in Bahrain Financial Harbour before the end of this year. These are a series of low-rise apartment blocks with commercial units around a promenade at the ground-floor level.
The Dubai-listed company also announced in April this year that it would restart work at its $650m Villamar project in Bahrain Financial Harbour, which includes three twisting towers, each between 52 and 54 storeys. This project was launched in 2007 before the global financial crisis.
Earlier this month, it also bought a portfolio of industrial property buildings in the United States for $65m. The portfolio included 30 buildings spread across seven Midwest states.
Conditions in Bahrain’s property market have shown signs of improving in recent months, with rents remaining stable and development cautiously increasing after several years of inactivity.
A report earlier this month by property consultants CBRE said that development activity had been taking place across Bahrain in recent months, as the kingdom looked to the non-oil sector to drive growth.
New schemes have included UAE-based Eagle Hills’ Marassi Al Bahrain project at Diyar Al Muharraq and Bin Faqeeh Group’s Layan project, which is a residential scheme with its own water park at Durrat Marina.
“Growth has been dominated by construction, private education, health care and tourism, and while real estate transactions have dropped by 6 per cent quarter-on-quarter, development activity and project planning has gained pace, particularly in the residential, retail and hospitality sub-sectors,” said James Lynn, a research director at CBRE Bahrain.
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