Planning will bring results
Mounir Haidar, CEO, Sorouh, talks about how planning and teamwork will bring success.
Mounir Haidar, CEO, Sorouh, talks to Monika Grzesik about how planning and teamwork will bring success in today's market.
The Abu Dhabi government recently announced the launch of a new urban planning initiative. How will this affect developers?
We at Sorouh feel that this is a very positive step for the long-term interests of Abu Dhabi. The government is overseeing what the developers are working on, and it wants to ensure that from the planning point of view the developers are following best international practice. We believe this is in the best interests of Abu Dhabi and will bring added value to the development of the emirate in the long run.
Will the plan impact on your projects currently under construction?
No. We are working in parallel with the executive affairs authority to make sure that our plans are moving ahead with no impact at all and that the government's vision is implemented.
Do you think this initiative shows a commitment by Abu Dhabi to take a more considered approach to development and avoid some of the challenges that have occurred in Dubai?
Each city and each development has its own driving forces. What Dubai is doing is a successful business model, and people should appreciate it. Abu Dhabi has its own particular economic reasons to develop, and plans the way that the government sees fit. Both cities have their own reasons to develop the way they see fit with consideration for their long-term interests.
What challenges are you facing as a developer in this region?
Over the next 10 to 15 years the challenge will be finding the right human resources and material resources. Other than these, I feel that the opportunities are open to us. There is a demand on real estate property in Abu Dhabi. The emirate needs a few more mega projects and the market can and will sustain it.
How will you deal with material and labour shortages? Could these lead to project delays when you face such tight deadlines?
We at Sorouh are not interested in delays. I think the key is proper planning. When we plan well we don't face delays.
We face challenges but proper planning helps you to overcome those challenges.
How are your developments unique compared to others in Abu Dhabi?
All the developers in Abu Dhabi are working to fill a shortage in housing units. How they are different depends on the location, the type of product, the mixed-use element, and whether it's a waterfront development or not. What distinguishes Sorouh from the others is that when we develop a project we very much look into the planning stages.
As a developer, how committed are you to the environment?
Sorouh is very interested in the environment. Our first project that we are working on is Sky Tower, which is designed according to the LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] guidelines. Recently, Sorouh participated with an influential group of experts and consultants in Boston to promote sustainable design in the region. Whenever we can technically include green design in our developments we try to.
Do you think developers in the region are doing enough to be environmentally friendly?
I believe the awareness is there, and it will help if the government sets up a body to take responsibility to promote it officially among all developers. But yes, I believe developers are equally interested in sustainable design.
Sorouh recently entered into the Moroccan market with a number of other developers - what was the thinking behind this?
The world now is a global village. The more joint ventures that you put together the stronger you are, and we believe that when Sorouh works together with other companies, which fit our vision and business model, it makes sense. You cannot do it on your own, and the one-man show mentality is over.