QATAR - Real Estate & Construction
COO, Qetaifan Projects
Hesham Sharaf was appointed COO of Qetaifan Projects in 2017, where he oversees the company’s daily operations and the development management of Qetaifan Island. For over than 10 years, he had worked for several prestigious government institutions in Qatar as a real estate development and investment advisor/director, namely Amiri Diwan, Aspire Foundation, Katara Projects, Aspire Katara Investment, Barwa, and Qatari Diar. He brings over 20 years of a wide spectrum of experience from investment banking, management consultancy, and real estate development. Sharaf has degrees in political economy and economics from the American University in Cairo/University of California LA and has several professional certificates.
Hesham Sharaf, COO of Qetaifan Projects, talks to TBY about Qetaifan Island North and its state-of-the-art water park, luxury hotel, and entertainment options.
Qetaifan Projects’ main objective is to build cities of sustainable and intelligent infrastructure. How has the company supported Qatar’s economic vision?
Hesham Sharaf: Qetaifan Projects officially launched in 2018, although the preparations began in 2013. Qetaifan Projects’ first and main development is Qetaifan Island North. Every meter was designed and studied economically and architecturally to meet Qatar’s National Vision 2030. The core of the island is family entertainment and creating an attraction for families, whether they are residents, nationals, or tourists. The main attractions in the island are the water park and the canal. The rest of the island was based on what we call in real estate, highest and best use analysis. Every element within the master plan is based on market demand and the right absorption model. It is a full city with all the amenities required by the end user. For example, we have entertainment, hotels, hospitality, as well as a medical center and a school. This vision not only aligns with Vision 2030 but the World Cup as well. We are creating the ultimate tourist destination, and a full urban wild plant city that meets all the requirements of every single tenant of all ages. This includes the smallest community criteria.
How has this project redefined the real estate development in the country?
Hesham Sharaf: Our main target is the end user: the tenant. Unfortunately, the target for many real estate developers in the Middle East is the investor; however, if we focus on the small tenant, the investor that built the tower will earn profit. Our approach is to properly study the economy, based on the urban and master plan. This includes what the market needs and requires. Then, we design the architecture and choose the theme we want. There is something called the Hedonic model that outlines the value of a property based on its proximity to the right amenities. However, real estate has not been done this way in the majority of the Middle East. This is how we differ from other real estate developers.
What can tourists expect from Qetaifan Island North?
Hesham Sharaf: We are the developers of the main attractions on the island, which includes a hotel operated by Rixos. There is also a 207,015 sqm waterpark “Meryal”, built on the theme of oil and gas discovery in Qatar. There is also a canal that will have many family-friendly activities in addition to a daily live entertainment show. There will also be a beach club operated by Azure Rixos with all the facilities that you could find in a hotel. We aim to be operational by including all assets and the canal, in time for the World Cup. This means 75% of the infrastructure will be ready, including all the main roads, landscape, and hardscape, so people can start to visit the island. We will also have a Fan Camp, a temporary solution during the World Cup in collaboration with the Supreme Committee.
Qetaifan Projects recently unveiled Les Vagues residences by Elie Saab. How will it define the new standards for modern luxury living in Qatar?
Hesham Sharaf: This project is done in conjunction with Dar Al-Arkan, a publicly listed Saudi real estate development company, and we are the partners in this development. There are five low-rise buildings located on the marina promenade with an expected number of 350 units. The whole interior design and architecture is done by Elie Saab. This is his first real estate project in Qatar. Elie Saab is a world-renowned designer and has redefined designs that matches the Arab culture and has a feminine touch. Qetaifan projects always strives to create something unique and not just for commercial value. Real estate is not just a product; it is an ongoing relationship, and we are selling a lifestyle. Owning a property is one thing, but the quality of life there is more important. We want to make sure the end-users are happy and comfortable where they live.
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