The Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan for urban development - along with the seven percent renewables target for 2020 - are very good news for the industry. They act as road maps that can bind Abu Dhabi and they require the efforts of all.
At Aldar, we have been a pioneer of Estidama, helping to create and launch the programme while implementing LEED protocol. At the Cleveland Clinic, for example, water consumption was reduced by 40% with solar issues dealt with through a double shell that dramatically reduces heat emissions.
Our developments are entirely mixed-use and encompass offices, commercial, hotels, schools and healthcare, as well as residential. The important thing is to serve the community.
The key, we find, is to not think solely about the initial investment stage but, instead, to consider long-term sustainability with particular attention to the lifecycle and span of the building and community. I can't speak for other Abu Dhabi-based developers but our strong belief is in building today's project for tomorrow's market; reducing waste, efficiently managing materials, ensuring cost effectiveness and creating confidence. The project we're currently developing with Masdar is a fine example of that.
Aldar is different from other developers as we don't work solely on towers and villas but, instead, on sustainable communities with green spaces and services. At Yas Island, for example, there is the real feeling of a full development - a race track that will be ready by November, seven hotels, a theme park...all staged and staggered to create an attraction that has an edge. Our developments are entirely mixed-use and encompass offices, commercial, hotels, schools and healthcare, as well as residential. The important thing is to serve the community.
In Abu Dhabi, by and large, we're doing quite well and are perhaps the least affected by the current situation in comparison to other countries, due to a real actual demand which isn't based on speculation. We see this as a good time for corrections and filtrations; only genuine, robust and capable developers will remain, while others will disappear.
Another advantage of the current situation is that you can now pick up good contractors at reasonable prices. Last year, contractors could make huge demands whereas they now need to be competitive and developers can pick and choose the best or most reasonable. In many ways, the industry has come to its senses and we're seeing greater logic.
Of course, the financial crisis has had an effect and our approach is to continually revisit a project and ascertain whether the development serves the market; of late, we've seen a very clear shift in focus from high-end homes to a wider mix of properties. We're not afraid to take courageous steps and stop or suspend a project if it doesn't best serve the market. We'll go back to our sales and R&D departments and redefine exactly what is needed, whether that means a change to the type of unit, the number of rooms it has or the price range.
Significantly, not all our projects are for sale; we retain a large percentage for lease, which involves diverse obligations and challenges. It's a whole different ball game. Branding has also played an important role in our continued success, as the partnership with Ferrari demonstrates. On the Yas Island theme park, we liaise with Ferrari who bring their expertise, knowledge, values and professionalism with them, not to mention the global awareness and appeal that the Ferrari name has.
We're a well-structured company, which is crucial. For years, it's been go-go-go for real estate and, because of that, many developers were approaching both the market and construction at the same time - you can't control risks or losses by doing this. Now, there has to be a different strategy. Projects are first designed, and then we address the market with fixed costs and risks. In that way, the risks are also shared between the developer and the contractor.
In-house flexibility to address real estate market regulations and conduct research work has been a major asset, resulting in us being on the ball to address any necessary changes. We have built in a series of DCPs - development control processes - so that we review and sign-off projects at every stage of their build-cycles. As I said, this is a time for corrections and filtrations and only the most robust models will survive.
The speed of growth in the region has attracted attention from foreign shores for many years, but a regional business investing in regional talent has yet to come make it big – until now. James Bennett meets Dr Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital, and uncovers how the Middle East has at last produced a homegrown champion
ArabianBusiness.com staff writer , Thursday, 31 August 2006, ArabianBusiness/Interviews
With over US$100bn of projects in hand, UAE capital Abu Dhabi is launching its own assault on the Middle East property market — and Aldar Properties is at the forefront of the emirate’s burgeoning reputation as a leading real estate hub.
Melissa Hancock., Sunday, 07 January 2007, ArabianBusiness/Features
Aldar Properties, the real estate company developing the Al Raha Beach, Al Yas Island, and the central market in Abu Dhabi, has announced a US $340 million (AED 1.25 billion) net profit for the fiscal year ending 31 December 2006
ArabianBusiness.com staff writer , Saturday, 27 January 2007, ArabianBusiness/News