First Bahrain Appoints KEO to Master Plan and Design a USD 450 Million Seef District Development

Located on a 22,000 square meter plot in the heart of the Seef District, just opposite the new Bahrain City Centre Mall, the development will feature a hospitality complex including a Sharia-compliant four star hotel and serviced apartments along with office and residential towers. The development’s strategic location, size and scale will help meet the market’s increasing demand for Sharia-compliant commercial projects.

Award-winning architectural firm, KEO has designed many of the region’s most esteemed projects, including the master plans for Mohamed bin Zayed City and Emerald Gateway in Abu Dhabi, along with the design of Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi and The Pearl in Qatar. KEO also recently earned the prestigious ranking of being among the world’s top 200 International Design Firms.

Welcoming the agreement with KEO, Amin A. Al Arrayed, General Manager of First Bahrain said: “As a growing real estate development company, it is important for us to be aligned with a partner such as KEO, whose wealth of expertise and experience will enable us to realize our vision for our Seef development. We will be working closely with KEO to design a new and exciting community, combining residential, office and hospitality concepts that will meet the market’s increasing demand for innovative and pioneering new projects.”

“Especially as the City Centre Mall nears completion, our development reinforces the Seef District’s growing importance as the new center for living, working and shopping in the Kingdom. Our development will not only meet increased demand for workspace and residences due to the rapidly expanding economy, it also meets a demand for more Sharia-compliant commercial projects,” added Mr. Al Arrayed. “The initial phase of the venture, being the four star Sharia-compliant hotel and serviced apartments, will be built over a three-year period, beginning in the first quarter of 2008.”

Commenting on the project, Ali Dashti, Senior Vice President of KEO said, “We are very pleased to have been selected by First Bahrain to design this prestigious new mixed use development. We believe the development will add enormous value to the people of Bahrain, especially to those who will live and work in this new community.”

First Bahrain, whose principal shareholders are leading and regional institutions including Global Investment House of Kuwait, will be the primary developer for hospitality components of the prestigious project. First Bahrain is seeking partners and institutional investors to co-develop the remaining segments of the project along with them.