BAHRAIN’S pioneering $1.6-billion Dilmunia Health Island has taken a step closer to becoming a reality with a call for tenders for the project’s initial infrastructure phase.

For the first of four infrastructure development phases, the tender encompasses work relating to the ambitious 125-hectare island’s highways, bridges, landscaping and its power, potable water, sewerage and drainage and telecommunications networks.

Development manager Ithmaar Development Company (IDC) has invited a selection of pre-qualified local, regional and international contractors to tender for the contract. The successful contractor will be appointed shortly, and will be expected to fully launch its operations during the second quarter of the year.

Phase One infrastructure works will take approximately 24 months to complete, but will enable the completion of various sub-developments within the same time frame, meaning that end-users can be handed the keys to their units by mid-2014.

The contractor will be working closely with infrastructure designer Mott MacDonald and cost consultant DG Jones and Partners to deliver this landmark project, which is expected to turn Bahrain into a world-class health tourism destination, attracting millions of dollars in investment.

“Dilmunia is more than just a high-quality real estate development because it will also be adding value through the health and wellness infrastructure,” said IDC chief executive Mohammed Khalil Alsayed.

Preliminary development including dredging, reclamation and rock protection works, have already been completed. The artificial island, the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, is located off the northeast coast of Muharraq.

It will comprise a mix of residential, leisure and commercial sub-developments, surrounding core health and wellness facilities.

“This first phase will include most of the work related to the island’s highways, bridges, landscaping, as well as its power, potable water, sewerage and drainage, and telecommunications networks, which together add up to approximately 50 per cent of the services of Dilmunia,” Alsayed said.

“It will be followed by a second package of works, expected to begin later in 2012, which will include the installation of the Grand Canal. Phases Two, Three and Four will see the completion of the 2.2-km Grand Canal and other infrastructure work for the remainder of the development,” he added.