(MENAFN - Arab News) Emaar Middle East said on Sunday that its program of providing quality homes and creating new jobs in Saudi Arabia continued without any hindrance.
"The global economic slowdown and the regional political unrest have had no impact on our projects and program across the Kingdom," Ahmed Ali Al Kulli, general manager of Emaar Middle East, said at the Cityscape Jeddah, on Sunday.
A subsidiary of global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC, Emaar Middle East underscores its commitment to the housing sector and the overall social and economic prosperity of the Kingdom, Ahmed Ali Al-Kulli, general manager of Emaar Middle East, said at the Cityscape Jeddah, on Sunday.
Emaar Middle East is highlighting the rapid progress it has achieved on its two master-planned communities, Jeddah Gate and Al Khobar Lakes, and the Emaar Residences at the Fairmont Makkah at the exhibition.
"Saudi Arabia is witnessing a new era in the property sector, following the recent announcement by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to further strengthen the Kingdom's housing infrastructure. Through focused investments, the property sector can contribute to meeting the growing requirements of quality housing in the Kingdom," Kulli added.
One of the other highlights at the exhibition is the Makkah Gate Project, a partnership project between Sumou Real-Estate Company and Al-Balad Al-Ameen, the development arm of Makkah Municipality.
Located 13 km from the Holy Mosque and occupying an area of 83 million square meters, the master plan includes a complex for various governmental departments, commercial, business and residential neighborhoods, a university, a conference and exhibition center, a medical complex, a 25 square kilometer national park, entertainment centers and a museum.
The event also represents an opportunity for consultants to showcase their services.
"Deloitte has maintained a permanent presence in the Middle East for 85 years with Saudi Arabia being one of its most important markets," said Robin Williamson, managing director-real estate FAS for Deloitte.
"Real estate project finance used to be a main obstacle to real estate expansion in the Saudi market. We should not only blame the banks for this since the track record of development companies over the last few years did not encourage banks to consider this sector despite the clear demand and boom. Moving forward, we feel that banks are now more interested in financing real estate, Wael Jundi, general manager of Radic SinoGulf Holding, said.
"However, a bankable project instead of name lending is required from both developers and financers prospective. A bankable project should be a project focusing on the real demand segment in the market, with no or limited infrastructure risk, reasonable leverage, where land is already secured and the project is fully funded through equity and debt from the first day without relying on pre-sale as a source of funding. This will open the door to major players in the local market and the region to respond to the real estate boom in the market and start developing finished products that suit the requirements of Saudi families," he added.
Commenting on the potential of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in real estate in Saudi Arabia during the Real Estate Summit, John Davie, chairman, Altra Capital, said: "The best model for PPP in Saudi Arabia may be adapted from the annuity-based DBFO model typified by the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the UK, Japan and Malaysia. Saudi Arabia should, perhaps, embrace partnerships between the public and private sectors to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing population. PPP can lead to new ideas and resources that can be focused on developing the social infrastructure necessary to evolve from a hydrocarbon based economy to a wider knowledge-based economy. PPP offers such huge potential."
He added: "The private sector can create high quality knowledge-based jobs for the growing population within a framework that is supported by the public sector, which in turn would develop the ability to ensure the quality of its increasing social infrastructure. PPP represents improved opportunities to administer and develop the economy alongside a job-rich, flourishing and industrious private sector. Private sector involvement in the provision of public services is not new but the PPP model enables and encourages a greater depth of such involvement. If done properly, it epitomizes a win-win scenario."
Competing for the Cityscape Awards, on Saturday night Emaar Middle East LLC took the award for best Commercial & Retail Project Award for its project Jeddah Gate while the best Residential Project Award (Future) went to Rayadah Investment Company and Skidmore for their project Vertical Medina. Sumou Real Estate Development Company won the Best Urban Design & Master Planning Award for Bawabat Makkah and Injaz Development Company for Best Waterfront Development.