Riyadh Front is reaching its final stage. Could you tell us more about the latest developments?
We consider the current stage to be the soft opening of phase one, and already some of our tenants have moved in. In 2019 we expect the whole project to be opened officially. When we look for tenants, we are truly focusing on the quality, both for shopping and for office space. On the shopping front, we have signed to open the largest cinema in Saudi Arabia and the largest Virgin Megastore in the Middle East. Aside from flagship stores, we are looking at the customer experience, especially in terms of entertainment as well as food and beverage offerings (mention there's also a variety of fashion and luxury brands). We are planning to provide a 360-degree environment in terms of structure, architect design, landscape, and surface. The facility has been built to host different types of activities and events. We have a dedicated area for art exhibitions and we aim to become a cultural hub and meeting point for artists in Riyadh. One of these plans is to have competitions among artists to temporarily design this space, based on the current events in the Kingdom in that period, like New Year's, Eid, or Ramadan. We have built an arcade along one whole side of the project. The technique we use here to open and close the whole area is modeled after Zorlu Center in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkish winters are too cold while our summers are too hot. The climate control systems we use here is unique to Saudi Arabia. To develop our office spaces, we have signed with the global accounting firm KPMG, Jolly Chic, and Saudi Arabia's Noon, which are one of the largest and most successful e-commerce companies in the Kingdom.
What are the unique characteristics of the logistics park?
Logistics today can offer complete solutions. Our logistics park is the first project in Saudi Arabia that will provide the infrastructure and a complete solution for our clients, not to mention being a one-stop-shop, as the fact that we are licensed by MODON makes obtaining a license much easier. Most of the warehouses that have been developed in Saudi Arabia are small-scale. We are changing this and are starting with 1 million sqm. It is an integrated solution: a gated community with security, property management, facility management, and warehousing. As part of Kaden, we have a third-party logistics (3PL) company that offers their services to our tenants, which makes it easier for them to quickly hire extra capacity in terms of trucks, manpower etc., while we have clients in the sphere of e-commerce that require world-class logistics services. We have the unique advantage of being the only lessors of large spaces without partitions. Traffic moves easily in and out of the project as we have a great location with great connections and accessibility. We are now working on a similar park in Jeddah.
How do you approach environmental sustainability in the Riyadh Front?
For all our projects, we rely heavily on green and open areas. This is a significant challenge in a country like Saudi Arabia, but it gives great added value to the projects. For example, the coverage area for both projects, which is how much we build on a plot, is less than 20%. This is a low rate, with 80% open and green. This is an environment that requires a great deal of investment and operation costs, which is a key part of our master planning.
How do you intend to implement smart city elements in your projects?
We provide many services to our tenants, which makes it more comfortable for the companies that decide to work with us. We will offer shared smart services, with an application letting companies book conference rooms as well as parking spots for their visitors. Secondly, we will take care of all government-related services such as licensing. We have great access to all the relevant agencies. These concierge services will be attractive, especially to international companies.