Top 50 GCC Developers 2016: 21-30
Welcome to Construction Week’s 2016 ranking of the most active developers in the GCC. The following list recognises the individuals who are driving construction in the Gulf, delivering projects and planning communities for generations to come
21. Faisal Jamil Sultan Al-Essa, Chairman, National Real Estate Co.,
Faisal Jamil Sultan Al-Essa serves as the chairman and managing director of the Kuwait-based National Real Estate Company (NREC), which boasts of subsidiaries and developments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya.
NREC’s portfolio of projects, whether completed or under development, includes offices, mixed-use centres, industrial parks, residential communities, and malls. The company is also developing Reem Mall, a 18.5ha major shopping destination in Abu Dhabi.
Reem Mall will house more than 450 stores, including 85 restaurants, a large hypermarket, and family entertainment zones that include the world’s largest indoor snow play-park. In the first six months of 2016, NREC recorded growth in top-line earnings of 52% and a net profit of $25m (KWD7.6m).
22. Kevin Ryan, MD and COO, Gulf Related
Kevin Ryan has been Gulf Related’s managing director of development since the company’s launch in 2009.
From 1997 to 2009, Ryan was the senior vice president and partner within the mixed-use division, where he worked on projects such as The Grand — a mixed-use development in downtown Los Angeles, California; CityPlace — a mixed-use development in West Palm Beach, Florida; and various projects involving joint venture partners, public-private partnerships, and successful RFP bids for urban mixed-use projects.
Started as a joint venture in 2009 between the Gulf Capital and US-based Related Companies, Gulf Related spearheads premium projects on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island and in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while pursuing a robust growth strategy across the Arabian Gulf region.
23. Zaal Mohamed Zaal, Chairman, Al Barari
During the past 12 months, Zaal Mohamed Zaal, chairman of Al Barari, has been focusing on three projects within his 138ha master-planned community: The Nest, Seventh Heaven, and Ashjar. All three projects will be handed over in 2017.
The Nest, which is scheduled to be handed over in Q1 of next year, is a collection of 55 rental villas. Seventh Heaven, which consists of 157 duplex, penthouse, and garden homes, will be handed over in Q2. Ashjar, a nine-building project that will consist of 203 spacious homes, will be handed over in Q4.
“Al Barari is a luxury and green community to make home,” Zaal tells Construction Week. “The majority of our buyers are end users. High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) want privacy and peace of mind, and we provide everything under one roof – from design, construction, and landscape, to interior design and maintenance.”
Turning his attention to the wider property market, Zaal continues: “In a very competitive real estate environment – and with new projects starting all the time – developers have to focus on key aspects, such as quality, sustainability, and deliverability. These are the factors that end users are [considering] when buying a property.”
Following the handover of The Nest, Seventh Heaven, and Ashjar, Zaal’s team will push on with the rest of Al Barari’s Phase 2, which will include a boutique hotel resort, assisted-living facilities, a school, medical amenities, retail outlets, and food and beverage venues.
24. Faris Saeed, CEO, Diamond Developers
Faris Saeed is the mastermind behind The Sustainable City (TSC), the flagship project of Dubai-based Diamond Developers, established in 2003.
Saeed tells Construction Week: “TSC is our flagship project in Dubai – an innovative, modern application of social, economic, and environmental sustainability in the built environment. Achieved through meticulous design, stakeholder engagement, and future monitoring to sustain itself.
“The first model of its kind in the region, and hopefully a successful model for more future sustainable developments.”
In the past year, the developer has completed 500 villas and landscaping of the farm within TSC, comprising 11 climate-controlled bio domes; a commercial outlet that contains offices, apartments, and food and beverage (F&B) outlets; a nursery; clinics; and an equestrian club with 32 stables.
A hotel has also been planned for the development, where 100% of its energy needs will be met by solar power. The hotel architecture will provide for a low-rise, unobtrusive design. All waste water produced by the hotel will be recycled, and all material waste will be sorted at the source and recycled in order to meet the highest environmental, social standards, and commercial sustainability.
The Diamond Innovation Centre, planned for TSC, will be the first negative-lifecycle footprint building in the region. This means that over an anticipated 50-year lifespan, the building itself will produce 140% of its energy requirement, thus offsetting emissions during construction, operation, and decommissioning.
Through research and development, as well as dedicated conferences and exhibitions, this institution will showcase the latest global advancements in sustainability. Training courses and advisory services will be offered to students and professionals who are looking to broaden their knowledge in this rapidly evolving industry.
Saeed says: “With this facility, Diamond Developers intends to inspire children and young people – the decision-makers and citizens of tomorrow – to become excited and motivated about living sustainably and to develop into problem-solvers.”
25. DR Ravi Pillai, Chairman, RP Global
Dr Ravi Pillai is an Indian entrepreneur and the head of RP Global. In May 2015, the developer unveiled two new projects in Dubai, worth over $1.5bn (AED5.5bn), including plans for the second tallest tower in the city.
RP Heights, its first project in Downtown Dubai, is a multi-storey residential tower within two minutes walking distance from The Dubai Mall. It will feature 268 luxury residences in a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.
The second project, RP One, a mixed-use development on Sheikh Zayed Road, includes plans for the second tallest tower in the city. This $1.08bn (AED4bn) development will be situated right behind the Business Bay Metro Station, and will feature a mixed-use tower, which the company claims “will define the Dubai city skyline”.
Pillai said in a company statement: “We are constructing RP Heights in Downtown Dubai on land owned by RP Global, and using our own internal financial resources. This demonstrates our commitment to delivery and to establishing our distinct identity in Dubai’s property development sector.”
The group has executed over 130 projects for clients including Saudi Aramco and its affiliate SATORP, SADARA Petrochemicals, YASREF, and SABIC and its affiliates, to name just a few.
26. Gurjit Singh, Senior VP, Dubai World Trade Centre
Gurjit Singh has more than 27 years of experience in the real estate industry, having worked for some well-known developers worldwide, including Aldar Properties in Abu Dhabi, Sime Darby Group in Malaysia, and the Sentosa Leisure Group in Singapore.
Singh joined Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as the senior vice president of real estate in early 2015. Under his leadership, DWTC completed the first phase of its 500,000m2 One Central destination, which comprises a Grade A LEED Gold office building and a 588-room Ibis three-star hotel. Both of these properties were completed and operational three months ahead of schedule, in January 2016, and were completed below their development budgets.
Singh tells Construction Week: “The hotel delivered an operating profit from its first month of operation and the office property, namely The Offices One, is currently 96% leased and provides a run rate property yield of 9% per annum. On 6 September, 2016, The Offices One development was [named] the winner of the Cityscape Global Commercial Property Award.”
Singh considers the UAE to be the firm’s largest market as it is “present only in the emirate”. By far, DWTC’s largest sectors are commercial, hospitality, and residential.
27. Mark Phoenix, Managing Director, Omniyat
Mark Phoenix is the managing director of Omniyat and leads the group’s operations in the UAE. He has driven the organisation’s strategic approach of collaborating with high-profile designers and sales consultants.
Phoenix ensures that the group is steadily growing. He leads Omniyat’s development strategy, which has made the brand one of the leading privately-held property developers, committed to Dubai’s vision of leading by design.
In August 2016, the company revealed that its flagship One Palm project, based on the left trunk of Palm Jumeirah, had reached level three of its cores, with first level slabs completed at 16m above ground level. Slabs are expected to be completed up to level 15 by the end of 2016, making One Palm taller than its neighboring developments.
The 8.4ha development claims to be a distinct architectural statement unlike anything else in the city. With just 90 residences set in the tallest private residence on the Palm, it promises to be one of the most sought-after addresses in Dubai. The luxurious surroundings of One Palm will be equipped with a range of high-end amenities and facilities to cater to its residents.
In addition, the developer formed a strategic alliance with Langham Hospitality Group to complete a new project in Downtown Dubai (Burj Khalifa District), Langham Place. Located in Business Bay, it will offer panoramic view of Dubai Water Canal. The cost of the project is $273m (AED1bn). The project will consist of serviced apartments and a five-star hotel. This project is aiming to add another 438 units to Dubai’s hospitality sector. Reports state that the estimated completion date for the project will be in 2018.
The hotel will also feature a Michelin-starred restaurant, a rooftop bar and lounge, four food and beverage outlets, and a salon.
28. Yousuf Kazim, CEO, Jumeirah Golf Estates
Yousuf Kazim is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Dubai-based Jumeirah Golf Estates. With nearly 30 years’ experience in the real estate sector, Kazim has enjoyed an extensive and diverse career with some of the region’s reputed developers, managing their ambitious projects.
Kazim has held a series of high profile management positions across the UAE, spending 14 years with Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, before being appointed as the senior general manager of Nakheel, to oversee key developments including Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Village, and Jumeirah Island. Kazim was rewarded with increased management opportunities through his tenure with Nakheel, and left in 2013 as the managing director, before taking the helm at Jumeirah Golf Estates, leading the business to exhibit impressive and sustained levels of growth, whilst creating a vibrant and thriving community for residents and visitors alike.
The developer has already sold 50% of its project Redwood Park — Phase 2 was sold out a month after its launch. The second phase includes three- and four-bedroom townhouse units. The company has also commenced construction of Phase 3, which will include a clubhouse —slated to open in time for the DP World Tour Championship — and a retail centre.
29. Dev Maitra, CEO, Indigo Properties
Dubai-based real estate developer Indigo Properties’ business and development philosophy has always been steady and stable, believes the chief executive officer of the company, Dev Maitra.
He says: “We do not extend our reach and portfolio beyond manageable proportion. In 2016, we have handed over several projects, namely, Indigo Spectrum (residential apartment), Indigo Optima (commercial and retail), Indigo Ville (a cluster of townhouses in JVC), and Orange Lake (a villa development in Jumeirah Golf Estates). Ongoing developments include a residential building in International City, commercial showrooms on Sheikh Zayed Road, and Indigo Zen.
“We are optimistic about the long-term prospects of the real estate industry because Dubai offers world-class infrastructure, stability, governance, and great vision of its ruling leaders.”
With the recent completion of its Orange Lake project within Jumeirah Golf Estates, the developer is offering the option of fully-furnished villas for sale. With the first phase of Indigo Zen sold out, sales are now open for Phase 2, which includes a new three-bedroom townhouse, with an introductory price of $762,288 (AED2.8m).
30. Ibrahim Al Soqabi, Group CEO, Al Mazaya
Ibrahim Al Soqabi, the group chief executive officer of Kuwait-based Al Mazaya Holding, holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from George Washington University, Washington DC, and a master of business administration (MBA) from Maastricht University.
Over all, he possesses 18 years of practical experience, diversified among the fields of civil engineering, project and construction management, risk analysis and management, enterprise and corporate governance, operational system management, and business and strategic planning.
Al Soqabi has also assumed multiple directorship positions in several real estate organisations at local and regional levels. Currently, he oversees the operations for Al Mazaya Holding, with numerous subsidiaries, not only focussing on the GCC market, but extending into other geographical regions.
The developer is currently gearing up to invest in its second residential project in Oman, Mazaya Residences. This residential and commercial development will boast 300 residential units in various sizes and designs, with prices starting from $98,000.
Al Mazaya also acquired a 50% stake of the Ritim Istanbul real estate project in Turkey, raising its share of the project to 90%. The deal is valued at $25m, the developer said in a statement. Ritim Istanbul is being built on 39,000m2 of land on the Asian side of Istanbul, and contains six towers with presidential and office units. There is also a retail complex spread across over 2.2ha of land, encompassing 1,113 residential units, 147 retail shops and 113 offices.
Al Soqabi said: “Mazaya entered the Turkish market two years ago and aimed to diversify its property investments and geographic reach in the region. This deal will have positive financial returns for us.”