Majid Al Futtaim expands into Egyptian mixed-use projects

Majid Al Futtaim plans to start mixed-use real estate development in Egypt next year as it expands from its core retail activities.

It is waiting to acquire land in the country, said Hawazen Esber, the chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim Communities, on the sidelines of Citiscape Global in Dubai.

He declined to elaborate further, however the project is expected be built alongside other Majid Al Futtaim facilities. The Dubai company will open Mall of Egypt in Cairo towards the end of the year.

Despite a number of terror attacks in the country last year, parts of the real estate sector continue to draw investment.

Egypt’s current and increasing population is one of the key demand drivers, according to Ian Albert, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at consultancy Colliers International.

“The market from an internal investor standpoint is also strong as it provides a hedge against the previous and anticipated currency devaluations,” he said. “The market shows continual price growth, but this needs to be looked at in terms of real inflation.”

Foreign investment in real estate in Egypt comes mainly from the Arabian Gulf.

“While the capital repatriation restrictions are off-putting to other investors [those from the Gulf] take this into account and often reinvest, partially mitigating the affect,” Mr Albert said.

Gulf investors have traditionally favoured large mixed-use real estate projects in Cairo, Greater Cairo and the North Coast.

Dubai developer Emaar Properties is developing three mixed-use communities in and around Cairo and the North Coast.

“More recently we are seeing investors looking at the education and healthcare sectors both as real estate investment and as business opportunities,” Mr Albert said.

Outside the UAE where it is developing Al Zahia project in Sharjah, Majid Al Futtaim Communities is present in Oman and Lebanon.

In Oman, it is developing Al Mouj Muscat, or The Wave, featuring residential properties, 120 shops and food and beverage facilities, a 400-berth mar­ina and a golf course.

It plans to deliver five hotels with 1,000 rooms, including a 309-room Kempinski and 68 hotel apartments that is expected to open at the end of the year.

Al Mouj Muscat has sold more than 2,200 homes and handed over more than 1,600 units, according to Majid Al Futtaim. About 31 per cent of the residential part of the master plan is complete, which would eventually have 6,000 homes, and the entire project is expected to be complete by 2024.

In June, Majid Al Futtaim announced projects worth Dh30 billion in the UAE, that would include a 740,000 square metre community in Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed City, close to the Global Village complex in Dubai.

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