Efforts to remove obstacles facing Sawaber renovation plans
The Al-Sawaber residential complex has become a part of the urban plan of Kuwait’s 2030 vision after the expropriation of its housing units. The move comes after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh’s decision to support the expropriation in October last year.
The 38-hectre complex in central Kuwait City features 470 residential units divided into 33 blocks. Surrounded by popular streets such as Ahmad Al-Jaber and Mubarak Al-Kabeer, the land’s estimated value stands at hundreds of millions of dinars. Chairman of the urban plan commit- tee at the Municipal Council Ali Al-Mousa expressed the commission’s desire to remove obstacles delaying the implementation of the project.
Efforts to seek compromise to avoid legal solution for forced eviction
Seventeen residents, spread over half the housing blocks, are refusing to leave, rejecting the estimated amount offered - a maximum of KD 233,000. “We cannot evict them. After all, that is not in our ethos. There was a short time when their water and electricity supply was cut, but it was reinstated,” Mousa said. “These families are looking for an increased valuation, so we brought up the issue with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) to reach a compromise or find a legal solution requiring forced eviction. We do not want things to reach that stage, though.”
Mousa said that although the Cabinet commissioned the finance ministry to assess the value of Sawaber and manage the process, the number of residential units was “too large,” and the finance ministry could not resolve the impasse caused by the 17 tenants’ refusal to leave.
“The subject was referred to the committee of the Municipal Council and we are awaiting a response from PAHW,” he said. “The development of this area will not commence until we find a way to resolve this problem. The Sawaber project will be a constituent of the fourth urban plan of Kuwait due for completion in 2030.”
The new Sawaber project will consist of high-rise resi- dential and commercial buildings, as well as a new road to revitalize the area and attract investors. Mousa hopes the private sector under the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) scheme will collaborate with government, given it is known for innovation and speedy execution.
- Photos by Athoob Al-Shuaibi