The Business Year

Cyrus Engineer

Managing Director, Shapoorji Pallonji International Property Developers

Mahdi KMJ Amjad

Executive Chairman & CEO, Omniyat

Dubai has long been a hub for luxurious properties, and some companies are now banking on innovation and uniqueness to stay ahead of the rising competition.

Can you elaborate on the group’s history and its activities in Dubai today?

CYRUS ENGINEER Shapoorji Pallonji is a 153-year-old reputed organization founded in 1865 in India. Today, 45% of our turnover comes from India while 55% comes from across the world; therefore, we have transitioned into a transnational organization. Having begun as a construction and development company, today we operate across seven sectors where we aspire to gain leadership positions. For example, through our solar contracting arm Sterling and Wilson, we are constructing the largest solar facility in Abu Dhabi. We have been prolific contractors and have been in the GCC for over 45 years, having worked with every single developer.

What is Omniyat’s approach to property development and management?

MAHDI KMJ AMJAD Since Omniyat’s inception in 2005, it has predominantly focused on creating a superior product in real estate segments. Whether in the commercial, hospitality, residential, mid-segment, or luxury business units, we have always positioned the company as a product differentiator in the marketplace. We create this differentiation firstly by choosing strategic locations for our projects. Moreover, we use exceptional designs and work with some of the most renowned architects from around the world, such as Zaha Hadid and Foster & Partners. We also work with interior designers such as Super Potato from Japan. At Omniyat, we do not aim to be the tallest or the biggest; we try to be the most bespoke, innovative, advanced, and forward-thinking developer. We push innovation as a key agenda and constantly try to reinvent and improve ourselves.

What is the philosophy behind the Imperial Avenue project?

CE We created the Imperial brand out of India, and today we have the tallest twin luxury towers in India—the Imperial Towers in south Mumbai, the first and tallest premium luxury residential real estate development in India. Having created this benchmark, we were keen to take this brand across the world and begin our international journey from Dubai. Apart from the iconic location overlooking the Burj Khalifa on one side and Dubai Canal on the other side, we have a 45-story luxury apartment tower under construction with over 400 apartments. There are five levels of podium parking, and the tower is feature-rich in terms of amenities. We have two infinity pools, a 3,000sqft clubhouse, a gymnasium, a 150-person party hall, a private auditorium that can seat up to 15 people, squash courts, and a 40,000sqft landscaped area for recreation on the podium level itself. On the technology front we are also ahead, as it is the first tower in downtown Dubai to use piped gas and recycled grey water for landscaping. By default, we attract the connoisseurs of real estate seeking to enjoy the downtown way of life with modern amenities and the convenience to easily reach all the main business hubs of Dubai.

How is The Opus project progressing and what sets the project apart from other developments?

MKA The Opus is one of our largest projects at Omniyat. The late Dame Zaha Hadid was fully involved in and passionate about the project. The project evolved to become a full-fledged mixed-use development that now consists of a hotel, offices, and serviced residences. Hadid and her firm designed the project, as well as all the interior and furniture. This is the only building in the world where all the pieces came from Hadid. It has been quite a challenge, but the hotel will be opened in 2019. We have a memorial area within the building for Hadid. It is designed by her office and will recognize her work and contribution to the region.

What other projects do you have in the pipeline for Dubai?

CE This is just the start of a long journey, and we are fully committed to the vision of the leadership of Dubai. Dubai will be a focal point of our growth, though we will also look at other areas of the GCC. In Dubai we are exploring opportunities with a focus on residential as a starting point, though we are open to considering other avenues of development. The second half of 2018 will see the launch of our next project that is slightly smaller than Imperial Avenue, though it will be strategic in terms of its location and product offering.

What types of partnerships does Omniyat establish with international companies?

MKA It is an ongoing process. We seek internationally successful and cutting-edge architectural firms to work with. We work with construction companies and financial institutions that look to invest in Dubai. Omniyat has an investment department that encourages co-investment real estate opportunities in Dubai with international financial institutions and high net-worth individuals. We have a development department that does the entire development cycle, from design to construction management and delivery. Then, we have the property management side of our business for when buildings are finished, and to handle leasing and property management. Our asset management arm acquires and creates our portfolio of leasing assets under our management and then we co-invest in these and create funds. Omniyat has a complete real estate ecosystem.



You may also be interested in...

Georg Schroeckenfuchs

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Health & Education

Georg Schroeckenfuchs


President & Head MEA Cluster, Novartis

Fady Richmany

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Telecoms & IT

Fady Richmany


Senior Director and General Manager for United Arab Emirates, DELL Technologies

Ayman Al Wadi

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Economy

Ayman Al Wadi


Group Executive Chairman, AW Holding

View All interviews