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Egyptian billionaire ventures into Pakistan's real estate with $2b project

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Egyptian billionaire ventures into Pakistan's real estate with $2b project
By Bilal Memon
Published: December 22, 2017
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The project brings Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris back to Pakistan after Orascom Telecom, in which he has a majority stake, had acquired Mobilink before the company sold its stake to VimpelCom. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to see a new real estate venture – this time in the federal capital – as demand for housing keeps motivating projects across different parts of the country.

The $2-billion project, named Eighteen Islamabad based on its location, was formally launched in Islamabad on Friday and is a partnership between Egypt-based Ora Developers and Saif Group, the Pakistani conglomerate with business interests largely in textile, energy and real estate sectors. Additionally, Kohistan Builders and Developers is also partaking in the project.

Spread across 2.77 million square yards that will also feature a 18-hole golf course, the project will look to sell over 2,000 residential units – 1,068 villas of different sizes and over 900 apartments – along with commercial properties, meant to serve the upper-middle income groups.

The project also brings Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris back to Pakistan after Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding, in which he has a majority stake and is also the chairman, had acquired Mobilink before the company sold its stake to VimpelCom.

Pakistan attracting global real estate investors

Sawiris, however, is now on a different mission to Pakistan.

“I was here around 20 years ago when we started Mobilink,” said Sawiris, the chairman of Ora Developers, as he addressed a gathering of journalists at Serena Hotel.

“We wanted to continue our business in Pakistan and as we ventured out of telecom we thought of real estate development because I was horrified at the prices people were paying for villas and apartments in Islamabad,” he continued, referring to the phenomenally high prices of real estate in Pakistan that have continued to shoot in the last few years.

According to a World Bank estimate, there is a shortage of 10 million housing units in Pakistan, a deficit that continues to grow in urban areas. With population growth at 2%, the shortage will keep piling.

Heavy taxation: ‘Real estate sector of Pakistan suffering’

Sawiris said his aim would be to expand to other cities including Karachi and Lahore, but the challenge would be to find land in the provincial capitals.

“Land availability is the biggest issue facing the real estate sector in the country. Until the issue is resolved, challenges will remain.”

The $2-billion project features a 30% component of equity, to be injected by the investors, along with a 30% stake to be financed with major banks in Pakistan. Talks of these modalities are ongoing, said Eighteen Islamabad Chief Executive Officer Tarek Hamdy.

He also said no-objection certificates have been obtained from the Capital Development Authority in Islamabad and transfer deeds will be given to buyers since Eighteen Islamabad owns the land already.


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somebozo

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Egypt has some very good real estate and resorts creating long term value for the economy..and after Bahria town this appears to be another major player in the market..
 

Awan68

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Egypt has some very good real estate and resorts creating long term value for the economy..and after Bahria town this appears to be another major player in the market..
Straight up investment of 2b dollars indeed points towards a major player.
 

Ahmet Pasha

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Cities shouldnt expand horizontally anymore.
They should expand vertically. And aim to provide affordable quality housing in form of apartment complexes.
 

N.Siddiqui

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Joint venture of Egyptian, local firm to invest $2bn in housing project in Islamabad
‘Eighteen’, luxury living project, to attract investments from local and overseas Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD: A major development in real estate sector in Pakistan, a joint venture of an Egyptian and a Pakistani firm, has announced an investment of approximately $ 2 billion in a modern luxurious housing project, Eighteen at the H18 sector, in Islamabad.

Eighteen Islamabad is being developed by the highly regarded and innovative entrepreneurs from Egypt and Pakistan, Naguib Sawiris of Ora Developers and the Saif Group. They are launching “Eighteen, Islamabad” a 2.7 million square yards landscaped lifestyle destination minutes away from New Islamabad Airport with easy access to downtown Islamabad as well as the M1 and M2 motorways leading to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Sharing details about the multi-million-dollar housing project, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Eighteen Tarek Hamdy told Pakistan Today, during an exclusive interview in Islamabad, Eighteen would redefine luxury living in Islamabad. The project is set in the beautiful landscape to the south-west of the city and offers a mixed residential lifestyle complex surrounded by a championship standard golf course. Eighteen includes a 5-star hotel, a modern retail and business park, medical facilities, education villages, and recreational facilities but more than this it offers residents a secure, relaxing and luxurious lifestyle which they can enjoy with their family.

Tarek Hamdy said that there would be 1068 villas of different sizes, 921 residential apartments, a five-star hotel of 150 rooms and 13 office buildings catering for multinational, national corporations and local business. Additional amenities include fire brigade, community centre and a Mosque.

Talking about the major component of the mega project which would attract a range of buyers he said, the heartbeat of Eighteen Islamabad is the Club, a modernist masterpiece with a central location overlooking the 18 hole championship golf course. The Club is the home of golf at Eighteen and will also be the social and entertainment hub of the development. Beautifully situated to be both convenient and to take advantage of the very best views of the lakes and fairways at Eighteen, it will be a favorite spot for gourmet dining, drinks at sunset on the rooftop terrace, a range of leisure activities, or simply as a place to relax, unwind, and connect with friends. Exceptional sporting facilities include a cricket pitch, squash courts, a sports hall, swimming pool, pro shop, yoga studio and a cigar lounge.

In reply to a query about the comparison of the new housing project with existing societies, he said, the local housing societies largely focus on urban and densely populated areas. There is also no restriction of design in other societies whereas all our properties at Eighteen will follow the design guidelines set by the international architects,” he said adding that the major speciality of Eighteen would be the large portion of world-class amenities, and facilities.

“Eighteen Islamabad presents an array of luxurious living options suitable for families of all sizes. For couples, there are chic, city-style apartments, dramatically designed with wide-angle, uninterrupted views of the golf course. For larger families or those who desire more space, Eighteen offers lavish private villas. These four- and eight-Kanal villas are designed in an intriguing and exclusive crescent shape. They are truly extraordinary homes,” he added.


 

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