Marakez, one of Fawaz AlHokair Group companies, plans to operate a commercial centre ‘Mall of Tanta’ which will be located in Tanta in Gharbeya in August, with a total investments of about EGP 1bn, according to Ahmed Badrawi, the CEO of Marakez.
Badrawi said that the company plans to expand its business in several governorates especially in Delta and Upper Egypt.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Badrawi to learn of the company’s expansion plans and the updates regarding its current commercial projects, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
When will the company operate the Mall of Tanta?
We plan to operate our commercial centre ‘Mall of Tanta’ in August with a total investment of about EGP 1bn in Tanta, Gharbeya. The project has been developed within only 18 months.
The mall spans over a built-up area of 45,000 sqm, and a rental area of 37,000 sqm. The company is approaching completing the mall’s marketing, which includes many brands.
Why is the company interested in launching businesses in governorates?
Launching businesses in governorates came after several market studies conducted by our company, which confirmed the existence of purchasing power in the Delta region, especially Tanta city, and the size of demand is strong, which experience has already confirmed.
Additionally, the company plans to expand in the governorates namely in the Delta and Upper Egypt during the coming period and to attract distinct investment opportunities into those cities, which have a strong demand and purchasing power without the necessary services to meet this demand. The volume of development that is currently being implemented in Egypt in various governorates includes great investment opportunities in diverse areas in the Egyptian real estate market.
What are the current projects that the company is implementing in Cairo?
The company is implementing the District 5 project in Katameya, a residential-administrative-commercial centre located on an area of 100 feddan, with investments exceeding EGP 6bn. The mall has a rental area of 80,000 sqm, and a residential part which includes 3,000 housing units.
We plan to deliver the residential part of the project within two years. Additionally, we are negotiating to attract multiple brands in the project’s commercial part, with the estimated completion of the entire project within six years.
What is the construction situation of Aeon Towers?
The foundation works were carried out in the company’s residential Aeon Towers project in the Sixth of October City. The project comprises of three residential towers with 400 apartments of various sizes, in addition to Aeon Courtyard buildings, which is scheduled to be delivered in the current year, six months ahead of schedule.
Aeon Towers are the first of its kind in Sixth of October City and the new cities at 72 metres high. The launch of these projects comes within the framework of the company’s strategy, which is specialised in commercial centres, to build a commercial mall, along with each residential project to maximise the benefit for residents and unit purchasers.
What are the updates regarding the Mall of Arabia project?
Mall of Arabia was launched in 2010 in over an area of 150,000 sqm of gross leasable area (GLA), with over 500 shops and 16 anchors. I believe in the distinction of the second phase of the project, and the high level of implementation and services, as well as trademarks and brands which exist in it, in order to meet the continued requirements and customer needs, and to achieve integration within the Mall of Arabia.
How do you see the competition in the real estate market?
The customer has a strong awareness of his needs and financial capabilities, which helps him to choose from the various projects offered in the market, so the client is the final judge to choose between all real estate products on offer.
Furthermore, I see that the government is implementing a diverse package of new urban communities throughout the republic with the primary objective of doubling the urban area, absorbing new technological developments, and integrating employment opportunities and housing into one city. This means a great deal of investment opportunities for local and foreign developers.
How do you see the state’s strategy in exporting property?
The government pays great interest to exporting Egyptian real estate, which began with the enactment of a law to grant residence in return for the purchase of a property. In addition, the government participates and cooperates with developers in a number of important real estate and investment exhibitions, the most recent of which was the MIPIM exhibition in France, an important international investment gathering.
I expect that these crucial steps are being taken currently by the ministry of housing and will lead to achieving a distinguished sales volume abroad during the coming period.
Moreover, the presence of the government with real estate companies represents a confidence factor and a guarantee for the companies, which contributed to the success of the experiment. The purpose of participation is marketing the laws and facilities offered by Egypt for foreigners who want to buy property in Egypt and not just individual sales by companies.
In your opinion, how can deceleration be avoided if it occurs in Egypt’s real estate sales?
Diversity is a strong opportunity for developers to reach a larger base of customers, both locally and internationally. This diversity may be in the units’ sizes, prices, payment systems, and project areas, which are determined according to the market studies that are carried out to implement a project commensurate with the customer’s needs and purchasing powers.
The stability of customers’ purchasing powers drives companies to be more innovative in the implementation of units as well as in offering different payment plans. For example, our company provides different payment methods commensurate with our customers.
The hard competition between developers enriches the real estate market and benefits developers themselves as each developer has to come up with innovative new products inside their projects, either in implementation or in marketing, which ultimately serves the client’s interests.