Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, CEO, Arada: Interview

 Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, CEO, Arada

Interview: Ahmed Alkhoshaibi

In what ways are real estate developers pursuing differentiated residential projects or aligning their products with the needs of target markets?

AHMED ALKHOSHAIBI: Similar to the importance of diversification to Sharjah’s economy, a wide range of products for end users and investors is key for developers. For instance, Nest at the Aljada mega-project is a first-ofits-kind student accommodation in the Gulf. To meet investor demand, we have structured a product that allows them to invest in a unit at an accessible price and get a guaranteed return on investment after either five or 10 years. Other products Arada has recently introduced include Sharjah’s first branded residences in association with Emaar Hospitality. This caters to a different segment of the market and increases the investment opportunities in our portfolio. To successfully attract end users, developers need to be agile and listen to customers, and develop products accordingly. There are various floor plans and amenities within the community to ensure all the needs of end users are met.

What factors are driving the attractiveness of the Sharjah real estate market?

ALKHOSHAIBI: Sharjah has historically enjoyed a reputation for stability and growth. A lot of this recognition comes from the fact that the government has been consistently supportive of the real estate market, whether by delivering record state budgets or through legislative reforms. Sharjah opened the real estate market to foreign residents in 2014, and more recently allowed non-residents to buy property in 2018. All of these factors have increased the attractiveness of Sharjah’s market, as seen reflected in the 5.1% annual growth in real estate transactions witnessed in 2020, reaching Dh15.9bn ($4.3bn).

Location is critical for property development and demand growth has been concentrated in New Sharjah, where we have strategically identified the need for well-designed, all-encompassing communities. Sharjah’s value proposition is not limited to affordability, but also includes quality. Therefore, as a developer we seek to differentiate our offerings and amenities – whether through aesthetics, technology or material selection – by delivering value for money and identifying gaps we can fill. We have seen large growth for entertainment in Sharjah, particularly family entertainment that can address community needs. We are thus developing an entertainment district at Aljada – the first phase of which is already open – that will cater for not only our residents, but tourists and visitors from other emirates as well. This district will include several attractions aimed at generating footfall, from entertainment to food and beverage outlets. We will also include retail space, concentrating on attracting tenants that will add value to the entertainment strategy.

How can property development expand while ensuring compliance with environmental standards and sustainable practices?

ALKHOSHAIBI: Sustainability relies heavily on the emphasis we place on the master-planning process of a mixed-used community or building. Developers are often tempted to rush the master-planning because they want to launch projects quickly. However, this compromises the sustainability potential of the project. During the master-planning process, we ensure that green and open areas are sufficiently integrated, as these add value; property can depreciate over time but green spaces appreciate. This approach is at the heart of our most recently launched project, Masaar.

Key sustainability principles we employ include recycled water for irrigation, the use of smart technologies, pedestrian friendliness and mobility. We make sure residential spaces and amenities are connected in a way that encourages residents to walk. A new partnership we recently signed with the UAE Ministry of Environment and Climate Change will help us to follow sustainable building practices wherever possible.

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The Report: Sharjah 2021

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