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KW23_RC_Alargan_Khaled Al-Mashaan_PORTRAIT

KUWAIT - Real Estate & Construction

Khaled Al-Mashaan

CEO, Al Argan International Real Estate Company (ALARGAN)

Bio

Khaled Al-Mashaan has over three decades of substantial experience in civil engineering and real estate development. He is the founder of ALARGAN. Al-Mashaan completed his bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from California State University. In addition, he attained the financial management program and the advanced management development program in real estate at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is the chairman of the Kuwait Green Building Council (KGBC), a director on the board of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the Advisory Board to the College of Business Administration at Kuwait University.

"Currently, there are many megaprojects on paper, but not that many in the making."
ALARGAN has grown from a family-owned business established in 1994 to a publicly listed company on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
What is your perspective on the current developments in the construction and real estate sector of Kuwait?

Currently, there are many megaprojects on paper, but not that many in the making. One example is the Jaber Al Ahmad Causeway, which is extremely risky to be handled by one developer, and we had previously suggested that the government should divide it into smaller, more digestible projects to be handled by multiple developers each covering a specific area. Spreading the project into smaller parts will not only help it be built quicker but will also allow it to be less risky by distributing the implementation/costs risk factor. Instead of one company bearing the entire costs, they can be split into four or five for a more sustainable approach. Diversification is the way with such developments. There are many other projects that are in the pipeline but there is no clarity as of yet from the government regarding the same. We would be able to participate in the construction of the new projects that we have heard about such as the Silk City, the new airport, and the uplift of Failaka Island; however, with no clear direction, we are not able to participate. The government should lead the way with a clear roadmap in order for the construction sector to support with their capabilities.

What have been the recent developments and changes for Alargan?

The typical classes of real estate include, retail, logistics, housing, and so on, and we have decided to look beyond and include health and education in our portfolio to address our society needs. We have created two major projects: the ARGAN Riaya Medical Rehabilitation Center and the ARGAN Bedaya Center. ARGAN Riaya is one of the largest rehabilitation centers in the GCC and has already been recognized as the center of excellence in Kuwait for all the different types of rehabilitation. We have partnered with VAMED to ensure the standards remain of the highest; VAMED is a world-class operator for rehabilitation centers all around Europe and the world. In terms of ARGAN Bedaya, we aim to provide an all-in-one education and sports center aiming to provide complementary services for families and schools where children and adults are able to learn and explore their passions through extracurricular activities. This provides individuals and their children with activities to enrich our lives and provide a sustainable life beyond school and work. ARGAN Bedaya features a wide range of activities that facilitate the potential of children and their parents; we offer music, art, culinary, sports programs, and STEM learning. We have partnered with multiple international organizations to provide the excellence needed for our programs such as our collaboration with the PSG Academy for football, and we are working on similar collaborations for tennis, paddle, squash, and basketball. This truly reflects our motto “Life As You Love It,” and we will continue to implement the same in all that we do.

In terms of infrastructure development, what can be done to improve the situation in Kuwait?

Housing is a major issue that needs to be handled and recognized. We were pre-qualified for a project with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare a few years ago but unfortunately the project has yet to see the light. There are about 90,000 people on the Public Authority for Housing’s waiting list, and the Public Authority for Housing Welfare could accelerate the process of delivering these houses through PPPs. ALARGAN has specialized in affordable housing since it launched in Kuwait and is at the frontier of the local affordable housing developments; however, once land costs started to rise, the affordability factor was not applicable anymore. Thereafter, we started with the same initiative in Saudi Arabia and at one point, we were building around 2,000 units per year. We know the housing market well and are keen for ALARGAN can support the initiative with the appropriate direction and initiative from the government.

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