FORWARD-THINKING APPROACH

Sharjah 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

As a new company working in a fast-moving industry under tough market conditions, Arada is implementing smart initiatives, embracing latest technologies, and staying on top of new trends.

Ahmed Alkhoshaibi
BIOGRAPHY
Ahmed Alkhoshaibi is the CEO of Arada. Based in Sharjah, Arada was founded in December 2016 under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi. Alkhoshaibi has leveraged his previous experiences in the real estate sector in Australia to help establish Arada as one of the UAE’s most active developers. Alkhoshaibi is also Group CEO of KBW Investments, founded by Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed Bin Talal, and was responsible for conceptualizing the formation and inter-group synergy of the holding company after leading the acquisition of heavy machinery manufacturer Raimondi Cranes.

Can you elaborate on the establishment of Arada and Sharjah's real estate market?

Arada was established with the vision to create communities that inspire, excite, and engage their residents. These are communities that are well designed, contain every amenity you need, and are available at an accessible price point. We are not targeting the high-end luxury space, though we may do so in the future. Instead, we want to create communities that people can afford. With that in mind, we decided Sharjah was the ideal place to start because we saw a gap in the market for quality communities. The thinking of Arada's leadership was to create a community where one could live, work, and play. As a result, we launched our first project, Nasma Residences, in March 2017. Its success convinced us to open our second project, Aljada—the Emirate's largest ever lifestyle megaproject—which was launched by the Ruler of Sharjah in September 2017. If Nasma Residences is a well-designed community, Aljada is a well-designed city; it is a completely inclusive space, spread over 24 million sqft. Included within the master plan is a commercial business park, which will incorporate a free zone; two retail boulevards that stretch the length of the development; three international schools; several specialized hospitals and clinics; and four hotels, one of which will be The Address, which is a result of our partnership with Emaar. There is also the Central Hub, an entertainment district designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which includes entertainment, sports, retail, and F&B options overlooking a showpiece fountain.

Are you implementing a smart city system in either of your developments?

We want all of our units to be smart, and that includes lighting, air conditioning, voice control, and security. We started this process by adding this technology to apartments in Aljada as part of our value proposition. Before we announced that, we had already sold more than 1,000 units and did not increase the price after adding that feature, as we wanted to maximize value for our customers. We are also making Aljada a completely smart city because that is the future, and we need to embrace it. We have a blueprint for what we want to include, though we are also flexible. We are including areas such as traffic management to make people's lives easier and are incorporating smart waste management and smart metering to reduce the cost of electricity and water. We have partnerships with big brands and are in talks with Siemens, Alibaba, and many other partners. Sustainability is also our core value; our irrigation system runs on recycled water and the Central Hub is powered by solar energy. We have allowed for 5G cabling provisions and are in talks with Etisalat for that. This is a game changer for wireless connectivity, and will also benefit AI, providing a backbone for the smart city. Based on our studies and planning, we expect about 70,000 residents and 30,000 visitors and workers in the business park.

What are your goals and priorities for 2019?

Our priority for 2019 is to deliver on our commitments. We have sold well over 3,500 units in a little over two years; no developer in Sharjah has achieved this level of sales in such a short time. We owe everything to our customers for having placed their faith in us. We also want people to experience our amazing facilities before they move in. That is why we are opening an experiential center in our Central Hub in Aljada in 3Q2019. We will hold weekly indoor and outdoor events there, most of which will be free. We are a new company and working in tough market conditions, but we're doing things differently and exceeding expectations.