Property Weekly Q&A: No cause for alarm

PWCayan Tower in Dubai Marina is the tallest twisted tower in the world at 307m (Inset: Ahmad Alhatti) l Image Credit: Supplied

Headquartered in Saudi Arabia, Cayan Grou Holding is one of the region’s most visible real estate investment, development and brokerage companies. With offices in Dubai and Riyadh, it is involved in a number of prestigious residential and commercial property developments and investments, including The Cayan Tower, Siverene, The Jewels and Dorrabay in Dubai Marina, Cayan Business Centre in Tecom and the upcoming Cayan Cantara on Umm Suqueim Road. In an interview with PW, Ahmad Alhatti, Chariman and President of Cayan Group, talks about the company’s projects and the state of the regional real estate sector.

What is your view on the residential and office space market for the rest of the year?

While the market has slowed, there is no cause for alarm. Demand for residential space remains at the rate it was [last year] and it has not dropped. We do not have any projects that have been put on hold and we are currently continuing with and completing our planned projects, including three major projects in Saudi Arabia, according to schedule targets.

Have you finalized an operating partner for the branded residences and hotel apartments at Cayan Cantara in Dubai?

While we have finalised a partner for the project, we will announce the details of the partnership in summer.

Which revenue model will you use for hotel apartment projects — rental pool agreement or revenue share with the operator?

It will be based on the rental pool agreement, however, the details will be announced along with the name of the operator.

Can you tell us about the triangular-shaped Samaya project in Riyadh? What opportunities does it present to regional investors? 

The Samaya project is in the prime area of Erga in north-western Riyadh, which is a one of the most luxurious areas in Saudi Arabia, featuring breathtaking mountains, plains and amazing parks. It will be built on 1 million sq m of land and shaped like a triangle.

The project will offer integrated services in Wadi Hanifah, one of the longest open parks spread over 80km. Cayan Group has obtained all official permits required to proceed with the project, including the off-plan permit from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Furthermore, off-plan residential land plots have been reserved for Cayan’s VIP clients.

For those interested in high-end residential land, Samaya will offer opportunities to buy land and houses within an area featuring the highest engineering and urban planning standards, with mosques, parks, a small retail area and walking tracks around the community.

This also offers opportunities to invest in an upcoming hub, bordering lavish residential compounds such as the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, giving investors a good return on investment. This world-class property development project is expected to enhance the quality of life for the residents, while setting an example for environmental sustainability.

Many developers in the region are foraying into hospitality operations and management. Is that something the Cayan Group would be considering in the future?

We have ventured into hospitality operations and management through our subsidiary Cayan Hospitality. Through this operation, we carry out direct investments and conceptualise, design and operate hospitality products, services and solutions that include, but are not limited to, health and wellness spas, hotel, retail and serviced apartments.

The upcoming Cayan Cantara towers will have a hospitality segment to it in the form of serviced apartments. Lat month we also officially opened the LivNordic Spa at the Cayan Tower, centered on the proven principles of Nordic health traditions for Dubai residents.

Which type of real estate products do you feel investors today are most interested in?

The investment climate in the GCC is strong, primarily driven by various governments’ diversification plans. We have noticed a healthy appetite for unique and iconic projects and mixed-use developments, as they offer a higher return on investment.

What trends do you expect in the regional real estate sector in the future?

Along with a move towards a resort-style living, away from the hustle-bustle of city life, there will be a trend towards high-end residential projects in thriving localities. In the commercial real estate sector, we will see heightened interest in mixed-use projects.

A generic trend that will influence the market is the demand for good location, providing easy access to daily requirements, such as groceries, health and fitness amenities and transport. Given that health and fitness have now emerged as a lifestyle requirements, investors will be looking for real estate projects that offer either free or affordable access to running tracks, parks, swimming pools and gyms.

Finally, there is also a move towards green and sustainable buildings. Projects with solar power and smart power systems will be very attractive for investments in the future.

Ahmad Alhatti
Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of Cayan Group, a leading real estate developer in the Middle East. The Saudi businessman has over 20 years of experience in investment and financial services and more than 10 years of experience in real estate, handling numerous prestigious projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Source: Manika Dhama, Special to Property WeeklyPW


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