QATAR - Real Estate & Construction
Founder, Al Misned Trading & Joinery
Muhammed Al Misned had held a number of high profile and diverse positions prior to his current role. From 2002 to 2007 he served as CEO of Qatar Real Estate Company, managing several mega construction projects worth $5 billion for key local clients. Previously he had served as Deputy Manager for First Finance Company, Foreign Projects Manager for Qatar Islamic Bank, and Project Engineer for the Qatar Armed Forces.
In Qatar, we are heavily experienced across a variety of fields, including engineering, finance, and real estate, as well as representing international companies. Since 2000 the focus has been on real estate, and in 2007 engagement in government work was discontinued, whereby the focus exclusively shifted to our own real estate developments. Our every business decision reflects potential and demand. When I construct a compound, the user is the primary consideration, and the same applies to the construction of commercial space; it is fundamentally important to imagine oneself in the occupier’s position. This approach allows for the creation of memorable and successful projects of long-term occupancy because they have been built for a clearly defined purpose.
Back in 2000, prices in Qatar were in the range of QAR60-70 per square foot. In 2003, I mentioned in an interview that I could imagine a rapid appreciation to QAR300. Within two years they were at QAR300-400 per square foot, in 2006-2007 jumping to QAR800, and are currently at QAR1,400. Therefore, had you invested QAR70 million in 2000, you would have QAR1.4 billion today. Of course with major projects on the horizon, demand was very high, as were the payments made. This allowed for a higher rental volume, and caused land prices to rise. Today, sellers calculate how much you will buy, construct, and rent before naming a price. Many things have happened in Qatar, and it has become much less unpredictable over time.
We prefer to construct smaller buildings rather than towers, and today we are engaged in developing a set area of two-bedroom apartments. The plan is to provide a lobby, or communal living space on each floor, and a small studio to serve as a shared reception area. In this space, residents can watch TV and mingle as an alternative to being exclusively in their homes. We are therefore developing our own type of building based not on what is always done, but on what can be created with a fresh approach.
It is largely a question of how you build, and not just what you build. We acknowledge the fact that many are constructing large towers and specifying high-quality materials, but what about the end user? Do these schemes have a well-studied layout? Ultimately, choices will be made because this is in the nature of real estate. In our humble opinion, we see ourselves building for tomorrow, and not for today.
We have been building a women’s gym. And while there are hundreds of such gyms in Qatar, we approached the concept from another angle, by bringing senior professionals into the business. Ours is not for everyone, but available to just 100 women, and so we’re essentially talking about an exclusive club of limited membership. We will fully meet their needs right down to the last detail. The project has two floors and a fully equipped sauna, and offers massage and self-defense classes.
The need to turn a profit is a business given, but should be part of wider targets. Profitability should provide the scope to invest in enhancement of service and quality. It is a question of knowing how you approach people, grasp their requirements and respond to that as fully as possible.
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