STATE OF AFFAIRS

Abu Dhabi 2016 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to HE Ali Eid AlMheiri, Executive Director of Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure, on Mubadala's added value offerings, real estate in global volatility, and the Al Maryah Island project.

HE Ali Eid AlMheiri
BIOGRAPHY
HE Ali Eid AlMheiri is the Executive Director of Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure, where he manages the company’s interests in social and commercial infrastructure developments with a strategic focus on projects that support Abu Dhabi’s future growth and economic diversification. He currently serves as Chairman on a number of boards including Viceroy Hotel Group, Iskandar Holding Ltd, and Global Capital and Development Sdn Bhd. He is also a member of the board of Aldar Properties and is the Director of both Mubadala Capital and Real Estate as well as Vagaru Holdings Pvt. Ltd.

What unique value does Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure bring to developing Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi?

Mubadala is an active investor focused in areas that drive both financial and social benefits to Abu Dhabi in line with government priorities. Real estate and infrastructure projects are among those priorities, and Mubadala develops strategic commercial, residential, and leisure districts that are central to Abu Dhabi's long term development plans. Our major projects are part of the government's 2030 plan, a comprehensive strategy to develop the capital into an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable, world-class city. A true success story for us has been the development of Al Maryah Island as Abu Dhabi's business and lifestyle destination. The hub is now home to Abu Dhabi Global Market, the world's newest international financial center, as well as five-star hotels, luxury shopping, fine dining, and world-class healthcare. Another area would be our role in delivering pioneering education infrastructure projects including the UAE University, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, and Zayed University Abu Dhabi's new campus. Mubadala's investment philosophy is centered on world-class partnerships, and because we work to international standards of quality, functionality, and sustainability, we have been able to attract partners like Gulf Related and Paris-Sorbonne to be part of our vision for Abu Dhabi. Collectively, these investments remain true to the Mubadala mandate by generating long-term financial returns and providing strong social benefit for the community.

How do you view the impact of the global macroeconomic situation on real estate?

The real estate industry is cyclical in nature, and we are accustomed to the periodic fluctuations caused by macroeconomics. Mubadala takes a long-term view with our investments and we project a continued rise in Abu Dhabi's population. Therefore, our strategy remains rooted in our vision to be a catalyst for the development of Abu Dhabi's economy. While we monitor the current markets closely and remain watchful, we do not lose sight of the bigger picture. Having said that, we strategize in the same way as all real estate developers do: we evaluate our portfolio, analyze the performance of our yielding assets, and plan future investments.

What is the impact of Abu Dhabi Global Market on Al Maryah Island?

Abu Dhabi Global Market, which officially opened for business in October 2015, is a broad-based international financial center for local, regional, and international institutions. It is a cornerstone of Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision, as it acts as a catalyst for the growth of the capital's dynamic financial services sector. As an international financial center operating in Abu Dhabi's financial free zone, which offers 100% ownership and zero tax for 50 years, Abu Dhabi Global Market plays a central role in attracting financial services firms to Al Maryah Island. It has three independent authorities, namely the Registration Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, and ADGM Courts, which ensure its business-friendly environment operates in line with international best practices that are recognized by major financial centers across the world. Abu Dhabi Global Market complements Al Maryah Island's broader offer for businesses, which includes Grade-A office space, world-class residential, leisure, retail, and dining options, and exceptional connectivity to other parts of the capital. We are proud of Al Maryah Island's success—its growth has been nothing less than impressive. Six years ago, it was an empty plot of land. Today, it is a vibrant business and lifestyle destination that has some of the capital's most popular events, finest hotels and dining, luxury shopping, and world-class healthcare. Al Maryah Island is ever-evolving, and there are opportunities available for all kinds of third-party developers to invest in land-plots, which are ready for development, and be a part of the vision that we have for the island and Abu Dhabi.