Daily News Egypt interviewed Ashraf Dowidar, the managing director of ARDIC for Real Estate Development, to talk about the company’s projects and expansion plans.
What is the target of Qeema Company that was established by ARDIC?
Qeema is a facility management company that started its work in April with managing two ARDIC projects: Zizinia Gardens in New Cairo and Zizinia Flowers in El Shorouk. Besides, Qeema will manage the mall we are establishing in Haram Street.
Furthermore, we started communicating with some companies and developers about managing their compounds and administrative offices.
We think that the company is important, as we see that the real estate wealth is either wasted or collapsing as residents or tenants (many of whom have no experience in the sector) have become their own facility managers to their units. With time, problems surface.
The developers see that there is a problem because there are no competencies in this field, and we have agreed with the American University in Cairo to develop a diploma in facility management.
We held a press conference and gathered real estate developers and tenants unions, and the attendance was great, which was proof that there is a need for facility management. We conducted a course for 30 people. In less than two months, about 24 individuals have received an experience certificate from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).
We selected 10 of the members for a course that will train them to teach the diploma, which will be held by the American University in Cairo on behalf of ARDIC.
Thus, we have contracted with a facility management company in Lebanon that is specialised in green area cultivation, security, cleanness and maintenance, pest control, carwash, and Activation organization.
By the end of the year, we are also targeting the management of two commercial buildings and another mall.
What is the number of phases of Zizinia El Mostakbal and the size of its investments?
The project consists of three residential phases and a fourth commercial one with a total investment value of EGP 2.5bn. We started implementing the first phase in El Mostakbal City, close to the New Administrative Capital, and it is supposed to be delivered by mid-2020. The first phase will end in 2018, the second in 2019, and the third in 2020.
The contract for the first phase was worth EGP 1bn, and EGP 400m have already been paid.
What is the total value of the company’s contracts ?
About EGP 1.7bn is the volume of contracts of ARDIC’s projects.
What is the company’s expansion plan?
We are negotiating with the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) for 300 acres in New Minya to carry out a project with a full range of projects, which includes residential, commercial, and administrative buildings, as well as a hospital, hotel, and school.
As for housing units, they will be divided into apartments and villas with a special nature to suit the Upper Egyptian citizen.
Will the company carry out a small-scale residential project in Minya?
Small units in a distant place, such as New Minya or New Assiut, do not fit well with the mentality and culture of the Upper Egypt citizen, because those spaces are available in the city, and they do not have to live far away to get an apartment of that size. Besides, rich people will neither prefer small or large units; therefore, the design of our project’s units will be different.
When are you expecting to implement the project?
NUCA is supposed to offer the plot of land in a tender. There was a problem with the height of buildings, so NUCA got a verbal approval from the army on the allowed height of buildings in that area. A written approval is pending. The land will then be offered in the tender at the price that will be determined by NUCA. The initial value of the project is estimated at EGP 7bn.
Are there other places where the company is negotiating for lands?
Yes, we are seeking a plot of land in the Suez Canal axis of about 2,000 acres, and we are currently negotiating with the Suez Canal Economic Authority. We seek to establish an industrial project, where it will include both a residential and commercial industrial complex, as well as a school. Some questions and points will be agreed upon, because obtaining lands in the axis is conducted through an usufruct system and therefore an agreement must be reached with the authority regarding the residential part of the project.
Does the company worry about increasing the investment tax in the economic zone estimated at 22%?
We don’t worry as much as we do about the whole investment opportunity, such as the value of the land and the new usufruct system and its application under the construction of a residential project. We expect them to reach an agreement before the end of the current year.
Are there loans or agreements with banks to finance the company’s projects?
For the implementation of El Mostakbal project, an investment of EGP 2.5bn will be put to place—we contracted with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) for a loan of only EGP 220m to finance the project, which proves that the financial situation of the company is good.
What is your opinion on the proposed real estate developer law?
We have attended the first dialogue on a draft law to organise the real estate development sector in the parliament’s Housing Committee, but there is a long debate between developers, members of the parliament, and the Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities. One of the points of dispute is regarding determining the developers through determining the size of lands to be developed. Thus, the parliament specified 250 sqm, but a small area like this will allow a lot of people to be part of the law and named as developers, and the operation will be very wide, which maybe needs to be reconsidered and modified to reach a more effective regulation.
It is important to develop a federation of real estate developers like the Egyptian Federation Construction and Building Contractors in order to open a link between developers and the Ministry of Housing to organize the work of the real estate developers.
We will send the proposals to the parliament, the ministry will comment on these proposals and suggestions, and the discussions will be conducted by the parliament.
After the success of the Cityscape Exhibition held in March, what is the expected percent of the sales?
We sold 40% of the project. We plan to reach 60% of the project by the end of this year.