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ROSHN

SAUDI ARABIA - Real Estate & Construction

David Grover

Group CEO, ROSHN

Bio

David Grover has almost 35 years of experience working across master-planned projects. Prior to joining ROSHN, he served as a group board director at Mace Group in the UK. Grover also held the position of CEO of Mace Developments. He has extensive experience in the delivery of complex, large-scale, high-profile development programs in Europe and Asia, including the London 2012 Olympic Games, Canary Wharf, the Shard, and Paddington Basin, in addition to multiple infrastructure and mixed-use
projects. Grover received a bachelor of science degree in quantity surveying from the University of Birmingham and a master of science specializing in construction law from King’s College London.

"Our projects are designed to bring a new way of living to the communities they nurture, but our commitment to boosting quality of life extends well beyond our projects and across the whole Kingdom."
ROSHN develops projects that are iconic, sustainable, and people focused and also look to the future while remaining in touch with Saudi Arabia’s history.
How are ROSHN initiatives positively impacting local communities and their wellbeing?

Our projects are designed to bring a new way of living to the communities they nurture, but our commitment to boost quality of life extends well beyond our projects and across the whole Kingdom. This is part both of our internal corporate values around empowerment, opportunity, and sustainability, and also reflects our work to enable Saudi Vision 2030’s goals, in this case its Quality of Life in particular. Within our projects, the way we integrate vital and lifestyle amenities – from healthcare to sports facilities, education to entertainment – makes them readily accessible to both residents and visitors on walkable, ‘living streets’ supported by robust and sustainable public and micro-transport options. The goal for us in designing our projects is to enable all users to live healthy and fulfilling lives while fostering a sense of community that is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Saudi Arabia. We also know that it’s not enough to build these spaces, we need to make people want to use them too. That’s why we ensure that all these public areas are attractive and put people-first in their design. This is in both the buildings themselves, which draw inspiration from local architectural heritage offering a very human link to each area’s history and archeological heritage, and in supporting Saudi Arabia’s Green Initiative, which makes these spaces both naturally colourful and naturally shaded. As I said, this commitment to quality of life goes beyond our projects. Our CSR program, YUHYEEK (which means ‘revitalising you’), uses our size and scale as a PIF-owned giga-project to extend that boost to quality of life, community wellbeing, and sustainability beyond our core business. One of YUHYEEK’s central pillars of activity is community. By working alongside leading organisations and NGOs active in the Kingdom we’re contributing to community wellbeing with healthcare support, humanitarian assistance, Ramadan food donations and more. One YUHYEEK initiative that’s been particularly successful recently has been a home renovations initiative in partnership with Tarmeem in seven major regions across the Kingdom. Alongside YUHYEEK’s other pillars – arts and culture; environment and sustainability; health and wellness; and education and innovation – we’re proud to say we’re committed to positively impacting not just the physical reality of communities, their buildings and people, but also nurturing a deep sense of community spirit that is a part of the nation’s tradition. Finally, we’re contributing to something that people across the Kingdom, and indeed the world, can enjoy–sponsoring sports, entertainment, and cultural events. This might seem like an indulgence, but there’s little doubt that playing or watching your favorite sport, reading a book, or joining in a global cultural celebration is a good way to a healthy and fulfilling life and support the Kingdom’s vision to create a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. It’s that impetus to boost quality of life for all that informs our sponsorship of the ROSHN Saudi League, LIV Golf, Saudi F1, the Riyadh and Jeddah book fairs, Riyadh Seasons and more. That they boost local economies and further position the Kingdom as a centre for global excellence in-line with Saudi Vision 2030 is further motivation.

ROSHN’s new project, MARAFY, is a mixed-use development in Jeddah that will accommodate over 130,000 residents with a 11-km long man-made canal at its centre. What unique features of the project set it apart from other developments in the area?

Jeddah has a long history and deep culture – It’s been part of the ancient Red Sea trade routes, it’s the gateway to Mecca, and it’s known as the ‘bride of the sea.’ I think for us and MARAFY our overarching goal was not to compete with this history and culture, ignore it, or replace it, but to embrace, expand and elevate it. Starting with the canal, this forms a central spine for the project and brings the sea right into the city, making that moniker even more appropriate. And at 11km long, it offers both residents and visitors a potential two hours of of uninterrupted recreational walking and exploring end-to-end, further enlivened by an engaging variety of waterside attractions, promenades, jetties, sea pools, water activities, new neighbourhoods to discover, and an unrivalled array of retail, hospitality, entertainment, cultural, and leisure options​. In keeping with all our developments, this is a people-first project so it’s incredibly accessible – whether on foot, by public transport, or by using our various sustainable micro-mobility options. In-keeping with all our projects’ overall design aesthetics, MARAFY’s design further compliments Jeddah’s history and culture with architecture that draws on the traditional vernacular of the region while also utilising new materials, cutting-edge smart city functionality, and a deeply engrained commitment to sustainability. Couple with its mixed-use layout – with an eventual 52,000 residential units integrated with all those vital and lifestyle amenities I mentioned – this is a project designed for the transformed Saudi Arabia of Vision 2030. One with an ambitious, open-minded, and dynamic younger generation coming increasingly to the fore, looking to the future but in-touch with its past. Ultimately, we’re building MARAFY as an iconic and unique global destination in an iconic and unique Saudi city, contributing to the Saudi Vision 2030 goal to have three Saudi cities ranked in the top 100 places to live worldwide.

What challenges has ROSHN faced in achieving its targets and how have you overcome them?

Like everyone in this industry and many others, one of our key challenges is maintaining supply chain stability and resilience. Many are still feeling the aftershocks of the pandemic coupled with ongoing economic uncertainty and the impact of conflict. Fortunately for us at ROSHN, we were ahead of the curve in seeking to make our own supply chain more robust well before bottlenecks emerged. We have already begun bringing some elements in-house and our longstanding commitment to building strong partnerships with a diverse range of suppliers, primarily domestic but also international, has further allowed us to strengthen our supply chains. There’s also the added benefit that this approach boosts local economies and brings new expertise into the Kingdom. Thanks to our embrace of new technologies, we’ve also become adept at planning well ahead with our projects. We’ve brought in Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology for all our development projects, allowing us to build complete digital twins before construction even begins. This enables comprehensive planning of the construction process, allowing us to ready material and labour supply chains well ahead of time while also maximising efficiency and sustainability by cutting down on waste. Indeed, we were the first Saudi real-estate developer to be accredited with a BIM Kitemark from the British Standards Institute. Talent is sometimes mentioned by others in our industry as a challenge and there’s no doubt that identifying, recruiting, and retaining talent is a vital to the success of any company of any scale, but particularly one as large as ours. However, for us, we see this as an opportunity to contribute to Vision 2030 Saudization goals (at ROSHN we already have 72% Saudization) through a well-supported graduate program, HIMAM, and a ground-breaking program to aid women in returning to the workforce through our ReTurn program. Supported by some international hires who bring particular expertise, we’re confident that the Saudi talent pool is deep and sustainable, both now and into the future.

What are your main targets for 2024?

For 2024 we intend to build on our successes of the past few years with the overarching goals of boosting quality of life, growing the Saudi economy, contributing to home ownership, and creating jobs – all in-line with our commitment to Saudi Vision 2030. With these goals go our own KPIs: growth and business longevity. Real estate in Saudi Arabia is witnessing incredible growth with estimates that it will reach a value of SAR241 billion by the end of this year and SAR353.21 billion by 2028. Our plans for 2024 and beyond are to both help drive this growth and also benefit from it. To do this, we have a pipeline of exciting, transformative, mixed-use developments still to be announced, as well as ongoing work on next phases of the projects we have already launched. In 2023 we had incredibly positive responses to our sales launches for SEDRA Phase 3 and WAREFA, both in Riyadh, and we look forward to delivering more and more units to our customers as we complete launched phases and prepare to announce new ones. With these successes in mind, we’ll also be expanding into new markets, new regions of Saudi Arabia, and new real-estate verticals. Driven by strong market interest, we are making our first forays into the premium real estate sector with our SEDRA Garden Collection and this is a sector we’ll continue to explore. To support this growth, we’re expanding our sales office in Riyadh and looking to setup new offices in Jeddah and Dammam to serve the Kingdom’s east and west, creating jobs and helping contribute to our support for Vision 2030’s goals. With how desirable our developments have been in Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Eastern Province, we’ll also be bringing our new way of living to new regions of the Kingdom – I’m not allowed to name any names yet, but we’re looking forward to announcing these projects in the not-too-distant future and we’re sure they will interest a wide-range of home buyers as we aim to build over 400,000 homes by 2030. As a mixed-use developer, we’re also continuing our expansion into nine real estate verticals: community and lifestyle retail, commercial, education, leisure and entertainment, hospitality, regeneration programs, healthcare, and mosque building. As we use these verticals to offer more and more opportunities for healthy and fulfilling lives to Saudi residents, we’re creating jobs and boosting local economies as we aim to make significant contributions to the Saudi labour market and GDP by 2030 too. All this will further strengthen our position as Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate developer, ensuring returns for the Saudi people through our PIF backing and through the new way of living we’re bringing to the Kingdom. With Vision 2030 guiding us, it’s an exciting time for all of us in Kingdom, and for us in ROSHN we’re proud to be part of it.

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