ONWARD, UPWARD, AND OUTWARD

Oman 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hisham Moussa, CEO of Alargan Towell Investment, about long-term strategy, maximizing beachfront assets, and remaining attractive to expatriates.

Hisham Moussa
BIOGRAPHY
Hisham Moussa is an architect by profession and has over 29 years of professional experience in real estate development and management and construction and project management. Before joining ATI, he was the Development Director of Emaar Misr, the Egyptian subsidiary of the UAE based Emaar PJSC. He is a graduate holds a BSC in architecture from Ain Shams University in Cairo and completed a Real Estate Executive Development Program from the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and an associate of the American Institute of Architects.

What was the idea behind the creation of Alargan Towell Investment (ATI) as an alliance between the Kuwait-based Alargan international group and WJ Towell in Oman?

Before the merger in 2003, both entities were enjoying outstanding achievements in their respective markets. ATI has combined the vision, goals, and values of both companies and has brought together the extensive real estate experience of Alargan International, as well as the strong reputation and business diversity of WJ Towell. We have witnessed a lot of success in the field of real estate as a developer mainly for the middle income and affordable housing segments and, for the past 13 years, this has been the main market segment that we have addressed. Our partnership has been strong and long lasting and has resulted in many successful developments and projects consisting of hundreds of residential projects, some of which have received regional recognition and awards. One example of the company's projects is Beyout Al Faye, which is an area consisting of 126 semi-detached residential villas. Another significant ongoing project is in Waha, which is in Barka, stretches over 680,000sqm and consists of hundreds of residential units and community and commercial components.

What are the project details for the integrated tourism complex (ITC) project in Barka, and what are some of the attractions in place that are designed to draw in potential residents?

We want to contribute to positioning Oman as one of the world's most desirable destinations by not only providing creative middle-income housing solutions, but also through tapping into the ITC real estate market, by providing a tourism oriented mixed-use and commercial development drawing on modern interpretations of authentic Omani and Islamic architecture. Our upcoming Nakheel project will be a unique, mixed-use ITC to be developed in the Rumais area on the coast near Barka. The project is around 20 minutes from Muscat international airport, has direct access to the regional road network, and covers around 500,000sqm of land and over 800m of waterfront overlooking the Gulf of Oman.

What is the impetus behind ATI's focus on the middle-income population in Oman for real estate developments?

New trends are occurring across all the housing segments, especially in the middle income segment, driven by the relatively young population, which has led to increased competition in product design, price, and amenities. By developing the right properties at the right time, ATI maintains its strong position as a market leader in this industry. We are conscious of customer needs and we always strive to provide innovative and streamlined units with sleek designs, combining practicality with affordable quality at competitive prices.

Is ATI thinking about expanding its developments into different parts of Oman?

At the moment, we have the Waha and Nakheel projects and a couple of large plots to consider developing, so we are mainly considering concentrating on Muscat and the immediate surrounding area. This includes Barka, because it is a natural expansion of Muscat; things are all moving to the west.

What changes made at the government level in the real estate sector would increase the attractiveness of the real estate market in Oman?

His Majesty is committed to the policy of having an open market economy based on free competition in the private sector. He has provided world-class facilities and infrastructure, attractive tax incentive packages, corporate tax holidays as procedures for doing business, and encouraged transparent corporate governance. The new foreign investment law will provide a more conducive environment for investment and make the Sultanate more attractive for both local and foreign investment, including opening up more of the housing market to expatriates.