Fresh plans for market revamp

NEW bids will be invited for a revamp of a landmark market in Isa Town, as part of a re-tender following delays.

It will cover remaining work on the development of the Isa Town Traditional Market, which houses 570 shops selling antiques, furniture, electronics and household items.

There are 1,200 registered shops in the market’s complex, with traditional cafés offering Bahraini cuisine.

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf told the GDN that the market will be revamped in two phases.

The development plan was put on hold in July last year after the contractor selected for the project significantly ramped up the cost.

The upgrade plan was originally expected to cost BD490,000, but the company said it needed an additional BD150,000 after further assessment of the site.

However, three months of negotiations between government representatives and the company have not resulted in any agreement.

“The market revamp is going ahead and we will tender the thermal insulation and air-conditioning,” said Mr Khalaf.

“We will start with thermal insulation as the first phase and it will be shortly followed by new gates and doors and then with air-conditioning.

“It is vital that we give the popular market the necessary appeal and development to attract more customers and get more attention from a wider audience.”

Meanwhile, Municipalities Affairs Under-Secretary Shaikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Khalifa revealed that a number of smaller tasks will be conducted within the market premises before and during the revamp.

“We have a futuristic vision for the market, which has a distinctive traditional view such as its exterior and the way the shops were built,” he said.

“When the market was rebuilt and reopened (after the fire) the idea was that we progress things accordingly, and with huge appeal from customers there was a need to speed up implementation of new ideas.

“Thermal insulation will ensure that the market is not hot during the humid weather and it will be followed by installing air-conditioning as a seating area will be introduced for traditional cafes and restaurants.


“For now we will have smaller projects that involve new toilets, facilities for people with disabilities, pregnant women and the elderly, besides other renovations.”

Southern Municipal Council chairman Bader Al Tamimi said the planned revamp might not start until the end of the year.

“The re-tendering process and now with the current crisis related to Covid-19 it could mean that work won’t start until the end of the year at the earliest,” he added.

“Hopefully, the tender will get the nod before June so work could go ahead now due to less traffic related to the current circumstances, and when things pick-up customers won’t be bothered with ongoing work.”

The market was designated as a tourist destination in 2016, but delays in improving its condition have hindered efforts to promote it.

New vehicle entrances will also be created to cope with the large number of customers visiting the complex, which also houses two supermarkets, an electronics department store, furniture shops and a weekend flea market.

The current traditional market sprang up around 100 metres from its original location in 2014 following a massive blaze.

Hundreds of shop owners were affected and the market suffered extensive damage.

An earlier blaze in July 2012 similarly wreaked havoc at the suq.




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