Belgian group “conditionally awarded” Hulhumale’ second phase reclamation contract

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) said it has “conditionally awarded” a contract to Belgium-based company Dredging International to undertake the second phase of reclamation work on the island of Hulhumale’.

HDC Deputy Managing Director Mohamed Shahid today told Minivan News that financing on the contract was still in the process of being finalised at present on the project, with the bid price “more or less” anticipated to be about US$59 million.

Shahid added that a total cost of the project could not be given until certain technical requirements related to the expansion project were finalised.

Local media has previously reported that the HDC project to reclaim 230 hectares of land on Hulhumale’ suitable for residential use would cost an estimated US$60 million, with six foreign parties reportedly expressing interest earlier this year. The development is anticipated to be the largest project of its kind in the Maldives.

Shahid said that with most of the housing planned for the first stage of the development on Hulhumale’ now complete, a second stage would begin soon to reclaim land for the further development of residential and commercial properties that would be managed by the HDC.

A source with knowledge of the project today confirmed that representatives for Dredging International were expected to arrive in the country in the next two to three weeks to begin inspections of the project area before work could commence.

Local newspaper Haveeru meanwhile reported that the second reclamation phase was expected to take about one and a half years to complete.  The work will include reclaiming land presently used for the Club Faru resort, an island property sharing the Hulhumale lagoon closed earlier this year in anticipation of the project.

The Maldives government earlier this month announced it was nearing an agreement to move ahead with the second phase of reclamation work, despite claiming weeks earlier that the project could face continued delays due to limited financing.

The claims were made as the government also this month entered into discussions with Saudi Arabia over securing a US$300 million credit facility for several purposes including “budget support”.

Despite the state’s financial concerns, President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad said the agreement would see work commence on a second phase of land reclamation in Hulhumale’ “as soon as possible”.

The development of Hulhumale’ near Male as a residential area was originally intended to reduce congestion in Male – one of the most crowded cities in the world, with an estimated 55,000-60,000 people per square kilometre.