Barwa Real Estate building on high-potential assets

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Al Subaie_BarwaGroup
Abdulla Bin Abdulaziz Turki Al Subaie, Group CEO of Barwa Real Estate Group

Beyond taking advantage of the infrastructure boom in Qatar, Barwa Real Estate Group has also announced an experiment that will revolutionise the sustainable building industry by launching a green project that will measure energy consumption and the cost of living.

Inside Investor met up with Abdulla Bin Abdulaziz Turki Al Subaie, Group CEO of Barwa Real Estate Group, to ask what the company has in store for 2013 and beyond.

Q: At Cityscape 2012 Barwa launched some key initiatives into the market. What do you have in the pipeline for Cityscape 2013?

A: Over the last few years, Barwa has grown substantially from being a purely real estate-focused company into an international diversified business conglomerate with a multitude of investments in real estate, infrastructure, business and financial services. This fast growth is reflected through the company’s growth in its asset portfolio from 2.6 billion to 63 billion Qatari riyals. After reviewing our strategy for the next few years, we are going to offer opportunities to access our portfolio of residential, commercial and other properties, which will include new units and towers including Barwa Commercial Avenue, an iconic development that runs along an 8.5 kilometer road in Doha’s Industrial area, Barwa City the mega residential development that comprises around 6,000 apartments, retail spaces and schools. We have more than 4.6 million square meters of land at Barwa City, accounting for half of the land bank there, and because of such large demand from Cityscape 2012 we hope to meet more partners and investors this year. We shall announce plans to sell some of our properties and portfolio – rather than just leasing as we have done in the past.

Q: Who are the main investors you are looking to meet at Cityscape?

A: We have seen interests from lots of individuals and organisations from GCC countries who would like to invest in these assets to peg to their own long-term visions. Cityscape is an important forum for us to showcase our expertise and huge portfolio of new exciting developments and being a leading player in Qatar’s impressive infrastructure development and growth, we will be interested to meet with the full spectrum of real estate stakeholders – from Individuals and Institutional Investors including Banks and Financial Institutions, REITs, Private Equity Investors, Consultants etc. The regulatory environment in Qatar is distinct from that of other parts of the GCC but Lusail is offering a number of high-potential assets in certain areas. For sure if you buy assets now, off of a plan for example, they would double in value over the next three to five years.

barwaalsadd
The Barwa Al Sadd project in Doha

Q: It seems like you are envisioning quite high growth for the real estate sector over the coming years. What are the main drivers of this growth?

A: Investor confidence is at an all time high now due to Qatar’s strong economic growth and the market outlook remains very positive. Strong economic performance will drive population growth and demand across all the real estate asset classes will increase. Execution of specific projects in respect of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will also drive demand. Spending on World Cup related projects and infrastructure is expected to reach $ 64 billion between now and 2022. The massive infrastructure development activities will bring lots of contractors, developers and workers that will drive demand in the residential, hospitality and tourism sectors. The retail market outlook remains fundamentally sound with demand continuing to outstrip supply. As a result, vacancy rates are expected to remain low even as retail stock increases.

Q: Sustainability is one of Barwa’s key tenets. What environmentally friendly projects do you have coming up?

A: We have launched a passivhaus project called “BAYTNA” that is being sponsored by some of our stakeholders and partners. It is a model project for green homes, which are particularly popular with those from the European markets. We hope to have two identical villas launched soon: one is built up to conventional building standards and the other is built to match passivhaus standards. The experiment is currently under construction and, interestingly enough, we will select two similar families to live in one of these homes as a pilot run. This will provide us the statistics to measure energy and water consumption. The hope is for the projects to be self-sufficient, but we cannot determine that now. We are the first in Qatar to conduct such an initiative to our knowledge.

Q: I know that Barwa has a remit to further economic growth through the real estate sector here in Qatar, but what is your expansion plans in Qatar and abroad?

A: Barwa’s corporate strategy is to develop a balanced portfolio of Real Estate developments and synergistic businesses. We seek to capitalise on the local Qatari market opportunities but it doesn’t mean that this has to be achieved at the expense of our international growth. We will continue to make investments internationally as well as increased investment in our home country, that can demonstrate to the world the overall ambitions and capacity of the state of Qatar. Barwa’s investment strategy considers selective diversification internationally to leverage opportunities in the Middle East, Turkey, the UK, North America and Southeast Asia. This geographic and sector diversification reflects a commitment both to supporting Qatar’s National Development Strategy and to delivering solid returns to shareholders. We aspire to be one of the most successful real estate development and investment holding companies in the world, with a home in Qatar but a business operating around the globe. In Qatar, we are taking advantage of the infrastructure boom. We have a lot of land banks, including almost half of Barwa City. We are working on a local land bank strategy and the feasibility and market studies are in process. We have the second phase of “Barwa Al Baraha”. Located in the industrial area, the project is expected to develop into a city that will accommodate 53,000 workers and employees and is therefore considered the largest workers accommodation in Qatar and the GCC. The project also reflects Barwa’s strategy towards developing innovative solutions and supporting the Qatar National Vision 2030 by contributing towards the country’s urban development. We also have Baraya, which is a mixed-use development offering quality retail components that will attract key brands as well as serviced apartments targeting middle income families.

 

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Abdulla Bin Abdulaziz Turki Al Subaie, Group CEO of Barwa Real Estate Group

Beyond taking advantage of the infrastructure boom in Qatar, Barwa Real Estate Group has also announced an experiment that will revolutionise the sustainable building industry by launching a green project that will measure energy consumption and the cost of living.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Al Subaie_BarwaGroup
Abdulla Bin Abdulaziz Turki Al Subaie, Group CEO of Barwa Real Estate Group

Beyond taking advantage of the infrastructure boom in Qatar, Barwa Real Estate Group has also announced an experiment that will revolutionise the sustainable building industry by launching a green project that will measure energy consumption and the cost of living.

Inside Investor met up with Abdulla Bin Abdulaziz Turki Al Subaie, Group CEO of Barwa Real Estate Group, to ask what the company has in store for 2013 and beyond.

Q: At Cityscape 2012 Barwa launched some key initiatives into the market. What do you have in the pipeline for Cityscape 2013?

A: Over the last few years, Barwa has grown substantially from being a purely real estate-focused company into an international diversified business conglomerate with a multitude of investments in real estate, infrastructure, business and financial services. This fast growth is reflected through the company’s growth in its asset portfolio from 2.6 billion to 63 billion Qatari riyals. After reviewing our strategy for the next few years, we are going to offer opportunities to access our portfolio of residential, commercial and other properties, which will include new units and towers including Barwa Commercial Avenue, an iconic development that runs along an 8.5 kilometer road in Doha’s Industrial area, Barwa City the mega residential development that comprises around 6,000 apartments, retail spaces and schools. We have more than 4.6 million square meters of land at Barwa City, accounting for half of the land bank there, and because of such large demand from Cityscape 2012 we hope to meet more partners and investors this year. We shall announce plans to sell some of our properties and portfolio – rather than just leasing as we have done in the past.

Q: Who are the main investors you are looking to meet at Cityscape?

A: We have seen interests from lots of individuals and organisations from GCC countries who would like to invest in these assets to peg to their own long-term visions. Cityscape is an important forum for us to showcase our expertise and huge portfolio of new exciting developments and being a leading player in Qatar’s impressive infrastructure development and growth, we will be interested to meet with the full spectrum of real estate stakeholders – from Individuals and Institutional Investors including Banks and Financial Institutions, REITs, Private Equity Investors, Consultants etc. The regulatory environment in Qatar is distinct from that of other parts of the GCC but Lusail is offering a number of high-potential assets in certain areas. For sure if you buy assets now, off of a plan for example, they would double in value over the next three to five years.

barwaalsadd
The Barwa Al Sadd project in Doha

Q: It seems like you are envisioning quite high growth for the real estate sector over the coming years. What are the main drivers of this growth?

A: Investor confidence is at an all time high now due to Qatar’s strong economic growth and the market outlook remains very positive. Strong economic performance will drive population growth and demand across all the real estate asset classes will increase. Execution of specific projects in respect of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will also drive demand. Spending on World Cup related projects and infrastructure is expected to reach $ 64 billion between now and 2022. The massive infrastructure development activities will bring lots of contractors, developers and workers that will drive demand in the residential, hospitality and tourism sectors. The retail market outlook remains fundamentally sound with demand continuing to outstrip supply. As a result, vacancy rates are expected to remain low even as retail stock increases.

Q: Sustainability is one of Barwa’s key tenets. What environmentally friendly projects do you have coming up?

A: We have launched a passivhaus project called “BAYTNA” that is being sponsored by some of our stakeholders and partners. It is a model project for green homes, which are particularly popular with those from the European markets. We hope to have two identical villas launched soon: one is built up to conventional building standards and the other is built to match passivhaus standards. The experiment is currently under construction and, interestingly enough, we will select two similar families to live in one of these homes as a pilot run. This will provide us the statistics to measure energy and water consumption. The hope is for the projects to be self-sufficient, but we cannot determine that now. We are the first in Qatar to conduct such an initiative to our knowledge.

Q: I know that Barwa has a remit to further economic growth through the real estate sector here in Qatar, but what is your expansion plans in Qatar and abroad?

A: Barwa’s corporate strategy is to develop a balanced portfolio of Real Estate developments and synergistic businesses. We seek to capitalise on the local Qatari market opportunities but it doesn’t mean that this has to be achieved at the expense of our international growth. We will continue to make investments internationally as well as increased investment in our home country, that can demonstrate to the world the overall ambitions and capacity of the state of Qatar. Barwa’s investment strategy considers selective diversification internationally to leverage opportunities in the Middle East, Turkey, the UK, North America and Southeast Asia. This geographic and sector diversification reflects a commitment both to supporting Qatar’s National Development Strategy and to delivering solid returns to shareholders. We aspire to be one of the most successful real estate development and investment holding companies in the world, with a home in Qatar but a business operating around the globe. In Qatar, we are taking advantage of the infrastructure boom. We have a lot of land banks, including almost half of Barwa City. We are working on a local land bank strategy and the feasibility and market studies are in process. We have the second phase of “Barwa Al Baraha”. Located in the industrial area, the project is expected to develop into a city that will accommodate 53,000 workers and employees and is therefore considered the largest workers accommodation in Qatar and the GCC. The project also reflects Barwa’s strategy towards developing innovative solutions and supporting the Qatar National Vision 2030 by contributing towards the country’s urban development. We also have Baraya, which is a mixed-use development offering quality retail components that will attract key brands as well as serviced apartments targeting middle income families.

 

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