CAIRO: With Cairo real estate in a slump, Dubai-based firm Emaar thinks it has the key to success. In grand style Tuesday night, the real estate giant rolled out the welcome mat to hundreds of potential buyers, introducing them to the firm’s latest residential development, Mivida.
The 3.8 million square meter development was designed atop a Kattameya hilltop. Construction has already begun on some of the houses, and the firm reported that it had sold seven lots before the start of the launch party.
Emaar executives are confident that their latest venture will succeed despite poor economic conditions in the country and around the world. Their strategy is affordability.
“It’s definitely a bold step, Emaar Misr CEO Sameh Muhtadi told Daily News Egypt, acknowledging the economic headwinds a project of this magnitude faces.
“But we’re the first to offer housing units at adjusted rates, he said. “We are offering the opportunity to buy at today’s rates.
Despite the substantial decline in the prices of oil, steel, and other raw materials, many housing developments around Cairo have been unable to substantially reduce rates. This is largely because many firms made early investments in raw materials, back when prices were still high.
But Muhtadi promised that housing unit prices would reflect the new raw material prices.
The company has already begun construction on a number of units and expects to begin delivering its first houses in June, 2010.
The development is expected to accommodate a business part in addition to about 5,000 units.
Despite the breadth of Mivida, this latest project is not among Emaar’s largest in Egypt. At LE 5.75 billion, Mivida comes in smaller than another of Emaar’s investments Uptown Cairo, LE 12 billion, and Marassi, LE 9.92 billion.
Emaar is also building a mixed-use development on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road called Cairo Gate, worth LE 4 billion.
Emaar has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years and it has made its mark as one of the most aggressive developers in the international community.
The firm has become most well known for its construction of the Burj Dubai which, though yet unopened, is the world’s tallest building at 818 meters. Construction began in 2004 and is expected to wrap up later this year.
In addition to its broad activities in the Emirate and in Egypt, Emaar maintains a presence in 36 markets internationally.
Despite projects like the Burj Dubai and its dealings in Egypt, Emaar has not been immune to the troubled economic climate.
The firm reported last week that it lost $481.9 million in the fourth quarter of last year and that it would freeze many pending projects in Dubai, Reuters reported.
The earnings report stunned many in the financial world who had expected Emaar to report significant positive earnings.
Shares of the firm fell about 17 percent in January of this year and Reuters reported that Moody’s, earlier this month, publicly considered downgrading the firm’s A3 rating.
Despite the woes of the parent company, Emaar Misr is forging ahead with Mivida in the hopes that it will offer a bright spot in a real estate market adrift over fears of the deepening economic crisis.
If it succeeds in selling its lots at cheaper rates, it may just reset the country’s real estate trends.