Bahrain’s Housing Ministry has signed project agreements for the first phase of Bahrain’s affordable housing public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, the first PPP social housing scheme in the GCC.

The Housing Ministry signed agreements with local developer Naseej Properties on 2 January for 4,100 PPP housing units, of which 3,110 are social housing units. The total cost of the project will be in excess of $550m.

The local Ithmaar Development Company is the development manager for the project and Chase Manara, a joint venture between a local firm and a Malaysian contractor, has been appointed as the main contractor.

US-based Aecom is masterplanning the development and URS/Scott Wilson and Ansari Engineering Services have been appointed as infrastructure designers. UK-based Davis Langdon has been selected as cost consultant for the scheme.

Speaking on the signing of the agreement, Mohammed Khalil Al-Sayed, chief executive officer of Ithmaar Development Company said that the agreement “… represents the government’s solid support to the private sector and reflects the leadership’s consistent policy of involving the private sector in various economic fields”.

The signing of the contracts for the first phase of Bahrain’s PPP housing plans comes after slow progress in 2011. Work on the scheme slowed after anti-government protests erupted in Bahrain in mid-February. Lack of adequate housing was one of the key complaints of the country’s majority Shia population.

In September, MEED reported that the Bahrain government had started planning for the second phase of its PPP housing scheme (MEED 13:9:11).