Bahrain planning $175-million indoor ski development


A $175 million (BD66.15m) indoor ski resort will be built on its own island in Bahrain within five years, it was announced.

The Iceberg Tower will be built south of the old Shaikh Hamad causeway bridge linking Manama and Muharraq, near the Coastguard headquarters.

The project is currently in the planning stage and will include facilities for skiing, ice climbing, snow boarding, ski-jumping and sledging.

Plans also include an ice-sculpture park, arctic zoo, science park and convention hall.

Later plans include a hotel, shopping mall, medical centre, marina and seaside resort.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Bahrain's Riyada Consultants, to start the initial development phase of the project.

The project involves the construction of a 1.5-kilometre ski track in a multi-storey building. The total area is 150,000 square metres.

The entire project is expected to be completed in five years.

The Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry has approved a site for the development of the island.

Similar concepts have been used in Japan, Australia and Germany, said an EDB statement.

The project will reinforce the Formula One project and strengthen Bahrain's objectives to become the Gulf's sports entertainment centre, said EDB chief executive officer Jamal Al Hazeem.

"The tower is a great step towards the creation of a family, sports and leisure destination in Bahrain," he said.

The developer is Berlin-based BCB Bartels Consult, which described the project as an important step in the development of Bahrain and Germany's friendship.

"The Iceberg Tower, with a concept based on a painting by Casper David called the Ice Sea in 1824, will serve as a symbol of the friendship between the kingdom and Germany," said a company official.

The team assembled to create the project includes architect Zaha Hadid, whose projects include the Abu Dhabi bridge, the BMW Central Headquarters building, the Cardiff Bay Opera House and the Plaza De Lass Arts in Berlin.

Other team members include technical director of construction and engineering Heinrich Ostwald, who is responsible for the development of projects like the Jeddah International Airport and lighting and special effects expert Ulrike Brandi, who has won awards for her work in Egypt and Saudi, said the EDB statement.

BCB Bartels has been responsible for more than 200 projects worldwide, including the International Convention Centre in Berlin, among others.