MANAMA: One of Bahrain’s oldest shopping complexes is in for a makeover to make it financially viable and people-friendly.

This comes as an agreement was signed to restore the landmark Lulu Shopping Centre in Manama to its former glory.

The deal was signed by Capital Municipality general manager Mohammad Saad Al Sahli and Edamah Property Management Company chief executive officer Amin Al Arrayed.

The GDN reported last month that Edamah, the government’s real estate arm, had presented to the Capital Trustess Authority a three-stage plan, likely to cost millions of dinars and focused on better housekeeping, infrastructure development and promotion to attract visitors.

The mall, in the heart of Manama, opened in 1997 and is under the Capital Municipality.

However, the complex, which houses a huge supermarket, a variety of retail stores, kiosks and offices, in addition to a car park that can accommodate about 300 cars, has been accumulating debts with declining sales and footfall over recent years.

“Renovating the existing infrastructure facilities and optimising them is important to achieving the objectives of the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030,” said Mr Al Sahli in a statement yesterday.

“Lulu centre has always been one of the preferred destinations for shopping for large segments of the people.

“The current renovation works will undoubtedly contribute to stimulating the growth of the local economy on several levels, by supporting local businesses and adding a more diversified range of retail activities to the area and surrounding neighbourhoods.”

The 12,721sqm mall, which is centrally-located and within close proximity to Bab Al Bahrain and the Central Market, has a tenancy mix consisting of a supermarket, retail shops, kiosks and offices occupying 85 per cent of the space.

It has 99 occupied units while 29 remain vacant.

“Our goal comes in light of keeping pace with the ongoing changes in commercial complexes in the region,” said Mr Al Sahli.

“We also aim at using modern technology to operate it to make it an integrated building that promotes the use of sustainable energy.”

Edamah general manager Waleed Adel Ali also expressed optimism at the renovation which is expected to increase the mall occupancy level to 97 per cent.

“We are pleased to breathe new life into one of the oldest commercial complexes in Bahrain, which has been serving the local community for more than two decades,” he said.

“As always, our goal is not only to improve the profitability of the complex, but also to add more facilities that would benefit the visitors of the complex which will also be of benefit to the surrounding community.

“We aim to facilitate access to basic services and recreational activities, as well as various and attractive options for shopping and dining.”

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