The $20 billion plan is to develop 12,000 acres of land over a period of 10 years on Bundal & Buddo Islands about 3 kilometers from Karachi's Clifton district. The first residential units be completed as early as 2016. In addition to housing, the plans also include world’s tallest building, world’s largest shopping mall, mosques, cinemas, spas, golf courses, schools and hospitals, all with modern amenities and associated infrastructure. The two islands will be connected with each other and the mainland by a six-lane bridge. The entire city will be a “high security zone”, with its own desalination and power generation plants to enable it to be self sufficient for water and power.
|South Beach, Florida, USA|
Speaking to the media after signing the MOU, Thomas Kramer said, “I have full confidence in the people and economy of Pakistan. In 1970 when I started my project in Germany it was the worst era of their history. Likewise when Miami Beach project was started, the area was in full control of Cuban criminals, different mafias and gangsters. Dead bodies used to be scattered on the beaches. I completed my projects successfully. Today they are the world’s most secure and advanced regions. Current situation in Pakistan is much better than those areas. Further I am confident that this project along with boosting the economy will also eradicate terrorism from Pakistan. This is a once in a lifetime chance to bring Pakistan back on the map to the leading nations in the world.”
Sharing the podium with Kramer, Bahria Town's Malik Riaz said, “Our slogan is ‘Bahria Town Commits – Bahria Town Delivers’ and Alhamdulillah we have fulfilled all our promises made with Pakistan and Pakistanis. We know that the construction sector has played a key role in transforming the USA, Malaysia, Japan, Turkey and Germany into developed nations. In the same manner, Insha Allah, Pakistan will also become a developed nation, which is our vision. This project will not only provide 2.5 million jobs but will help revive 55 national industries and provide housing to 1 million Pakistanis. It will also help eliminate terrorism and crimes.”
Back in 2008, there was a lot of excitement in Pakistan when Dubai developer Emaar announced a massive real estate project valued at $43b to develop two island resorts near Karachi. That investment never materialized. More recently, the deal between Abu Dhabi Group and Bahria Town also fell through even before it got off the ground. This latest deal is an indication that Malik Riaz is now more determined than ever to realize this dream of his. Is third time the charm? Let's wait and see!
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Remember, in both prior cases, the Punjabis derailed the projects.
Today the Punjabis are also trying to derail the KCR project.
Interesting point thouh is the fact that Malik Riaz is also a Punjabi - I guess the money in Karachi does attract money-minded Punjabis.
Kramer is a Krook.
His speciality is duping people with colorful propaganda and then relieving them of their savings.
He has been in trouble with the law in Germany as well as in the US. He has, so far, managed to get away only with fines; but sooner or later he will go too far and then wind up in jail. Which is where Malik Riaz also belongs perhaps?
Are we being too gullible when we believe all this hype?
HWJ: "Kramer is a Krook."
All property developers are considered "krooks" by many. What differentiates Kramer is that he is a visionary.
Here's a excerpt of a recent NY Times story:
while on vacation in early 1992, Thomas Kramer, a German businessman, took a helicopter ride over South Beach and had a vision: to create a version of New York’s Battery Park City on the southern tip of Miami Beach.
Before German reunification, Mr. Kramer had started a fund to invest in East German real estate. The fund soon went bankrupt. But he had also married into a wealthy German family.
With a reputation for knowing how to get things done quickly, Mr. Kramer spent more than $100 million to buy real estate in Miami Beach, including 45 acres south of Fifth Street. The area was then called South Pointe; it still had a dog track, and the dilapidated buildings served as chic locations for fashion model shoots.
“Everyone thought he was crazy,” said Saul Gross, the president of Streamline Properties and then a city commissioner. “He wanted to buy whatever he could, and he was willing to pay whatever people were asking; he wasn’t even negotiating.”
Mr. Kramer invited 11 architectural firms to develop plans for the area. After six days of discussions, “Miami Beach’s original city center was ready for its most spectacular facelift,” he said..
Here's the latest from The News on DHA City Karachi (DCK) project:
The environmental impact public hearing of the much-ambitious residential-cum-commercial DHA City project will be conducted on April 2. The Defence Housing Authority had performed ground-breaking of this project on Super Highway and started physical activities for development works more than a year ago.
The DHA City project being described by the developers as the country’s first sustainable green city is situated around 56 kilometres away from the city on Karachi-Hyderabad Super Highway in Gadap Town at the eastern border of Karachi, bordering Thatta District in south and Jamshoro District in east. The site covers approximately 11,640 acres (47.10 sq kilometres), offering around 53,000 plots for accommodation to around 600,000 people.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Sindh, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the DHA City project, submitted by the Pakistan Defence Officers Housing Authority, indentifies potential environmental impacts and provides mitigation measures to minimize the impacts on flora, fauna, topography, and other environmental and physical features of the project site and surrounding areas that are mostly hilly and barren tracts of land.
The public hearing will be conducted by the EPA at 11 am on April 2 at Hotel Regent Plaza, Karachi, where the project’s proponents will provide complete details of the DHA City Karachi (DCK) project through presentation. The general public, concerned citizens, civil society organisations and all other stakeholders are likely to attend the public hearing in large numbers, where they will be presenting their points of view, concerns and reservations regarding the phenomenal environmental effects on the suburban areas concerned due to the construction of the massive housing-cum-commercial project.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the DHA City held at its site on 22 February, 2012; the then DHA Administrator, Brig Aamer Raza Qureshi, had said that work on 13 projects, including the construction of DCK boundary wall, entrance gate, security towers, arterial roads, composite offices/accommodation complex and DCK Information Centre had been started at a cost of Rs one billion and it would take 12 months to make DCK site fully operational.
He had also said that three to five million gallons daily water would be made available through the ongoing underground water exploration, which would be sufficient to meet the DHA City requirements up till 2020.
Chief Project Consultant, Engineer Arif Osmani, had said that the work on the development of five residential sectors, including roads network, parks, green spaces, schools, mosques and all basic amenities would be started under the short-term development plan and the same would be completed in three to four years to make DHA City Karachi a livable entity by the year 2015-16....
Here's Emirates 247 story on Malik-Kramer deal:
A Pakistani businessman is taking cue from Dubai to build a master development that will boast of an education, net and health clusters to even the world’s tallest tower and largest shopping mall.
Bahrain Town Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Ali Riaz Malik and US real estate tycoon Thomas Kramer have recently signed a $20 billion agreement to develop Bundal & Bodha Islands, Karachi - Pakistan’s first ever island city.
Sharing project details with Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the News International quoted Malik as saying the Bodha Island City project will comprise Net City, Education City, Health City, Port City and other infrastructure projects would have the world’s most modern shopping mall.
In a statement, the company said a joint consortium of international investors, including Middle East, will soon join hands to develop the project.
Covering 12,000 acres of land, this project will be developed in a span of five to 10 years with the residential communities being handed over to from 2016. The global attractions of the project include world’s tallest building, world’s largest shopping mall, sports city, educational and medical city, international city and a media city, all having the most modern facilities & amenities and the most advanced infrastructure.
Island City will be connected to Defense Housing Authority Karachi via a six-lane modern bridge. The entire city will be a “high security zone”, having its own drinking water (converting sea-water into drinking water) and power generation plants to enable it to be self sufficient for power.
The project will have mosques, cinemas, spas, golf clubs, school, hospital and other global standard amenities to furnish a modern lifestyle.
Dubai has already been successfully running purpose-build business clusters such as Internet City, Media City, Health City and Knowledge Village for years now. These clusters are free zones, which offer 100 per cent ownership, no tax on corporate gains or personal incomes, 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits and exemption from import and export duties.
Have you looked at the HDI index report? Pakistan and Bangladesh are neck in neck at 146 with Bangladesh listed above Pakistan !!
Ashraful: "Have you looked at the HDI index report? Pakistan and Bangladesh are neck in neck at 146 with Bangladesh listed above Pakistan !!"
Yes, it's not good. It does appear though that Pakistan's HDI is growing faster than average for South Asia region.
Here's an excerpt from the HDR blog:
South Asia: The average HDI value for the region of 0.558 is the second lowest in the world. Between 2000 and 2012, the region registered annual growth of 1.43% in HDI value, which is the highest of the regions. Afghanistan achieved the fastest growth (3.9%), followed by Pakistan (1.7%) and India (1.5%).
Another excerpt from the report summary mentioning Pakistan is as follows:
The figure below plots improvement in HDI value4 against the change in trade to output ratio, an indicator of the depth of participation in global markets. More than four-fifths of these developing countries increased their trade to output ratio between 1990 and 2012. Among the exceptions in the subgroup that also made substantial improvement in HDI value are Indonesia, Pakistan and Venezuela, three large countries that are considered global players in world markets, exporting or importing from at least 80 economies. Two smaller countries whose trade
to output ratio declined (Mauritius and Panama) continue to trade at levels much higher than would be expected for countries at comparable income levels. All countries that had substantial improvement in HDI value and increased their trade to output ratio between 1990 and 2012
are highlighted in the upper right quadrant of the figure. Countries in the lower right quadrant (including Kenya, the Philippines and South Africa) increased their trade to output ratio but made modest improvement in HDI value.
Here's a Business Standard report on HDI 2013 in South Asia:
Of 187 countries, India's Human Development Index (HDI), essentially a composite measure of health, education and income, rank stands at 136, on a par with Africa's Equatorial Guinea and just above Cambodia and Laos in Southeast Asia. Even over a longer period (between 2000 and 2012), it registered average annual HDI growth of 1.50 per cent, lower than Pakistan's (1.74 per cent).
Viewed in the context of the BRICs grouping (Brazil, Russia, India and China), India's standing is much below its peers - China is ranked 101st, Russia 55th and Brazil 85th. In fact, India remains squarely stuck at the bottom end of the second-lowest category in the report -Medium Human Development - even as neighbour Sri Lanka (99) moves a step higher towards becoming a "high human development" nation.
A closer look at India's performance reveals more inadequacies, especially in education. Though the country's life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling and per capita GNI are comparable to peers, India's "expected years of schooling" is significantly below others, including Vietnam, Bhutan and even Swaziland.
India is no easy country for women. The Human Development Report's Gender Inequality Index, which assesses gender-based inequalities based on reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity, ranks India 132nd out of 148 countries, below Bangladesh (111) and Pakistan (123).
"26.6 per cent of adult women have a secondary or higher level of education, compared to 50.4 per cent of their male counterparts (in India)," said an explanatory note. "Female participation in the labour market is 29 per cent, compared with 80.7 per cent for men."
Though the report recognises key initiatives undertaken in India in recent years - particularly reforms in the education system, the direct cash transfer programme, a rise in social sector spending, public-private-partnerships across sectors and growing connectivity -vital concerns remain.
"India has the most projected child deaths over 2010-2015, about 7.9 million, accounting for nearly half the deaths among children under five in Asia," the report said. "China has more people than India, but is projected to have less than a quarter (1.7 million) the number of child deaths over 2010-2015."
India also has to contend with a substantial, uneducated population, possibly partly counteracting the country's feted demographic dividend. "Despite the recent expansion in basic schooling and impressive growth in better educated Indians, the proportion of the adult population with no education will decline only slowly," the report predicted.
"Even under an optimistic fast-track scenario, which assumes education expansion similar to Korea's, India's education distribution in 2050 will still be highly unequal, with a sizeable group of uneducated (mostly elderly) adults."
^^RH: "Here's a Business Standard report on HDI 2013 in South Asia.."
Don't work blind. Use actual data.
"Even over a longer period (between 2000 and 2012), it registered average annual HDI growth of 1.50 per cent, lower than Pakistan's (1.74 per cent)."
This self-critical view mentioned in the Indian newspaper is necessary before politicians or a political party start taking any credit from the positive elements of the UN report.
However, in absolute terms India was at 0.345, 0.463, and 0.554 for 1980, 2000, and 2012 respectively. For the same years Pakistan figures are 0.337, 0.419, and 0.515.
From my perspective India cannot use any one country as a yardstick because the problems in India are numerous and unique ranging from sanitation, social and economic infrastructural inadequacies.
Iqbal Singh: "This self-critical view mentioned in the Indian newspaper is necessary before politicians or a political party start taking any credit from the positive elements of the UN report."
It's almost a direct quote from the UNDP blog which reads as follows:
South Asia: The average HDI value for the region of 0.558 is the second lowest in the world. Between 2000 and 2012, the region registered annual growth of 1.43% in HDI value, which is the highest of the regions. Afghanistan achieved the fastest growth (3.9%), followed by Pakistan (1.7%) and India (1.5%).
Here's some history and critique of the Bahria Town deal by former Karachi mayor as published in PakistanToday:
KARACHI - While the Bahria Town management has inked agreements to build an Island City on an island located in Sindh province, former Karachi city nazim Naimatullah Khan came on television screens saying that the same island was to be developed in to Karachi Technology Island City (KTIC) according to an agreement signed in October 2002.
Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, the former city nazim said that news about the development of Bundle Island had been going on for some time and the general public was informed that it was an ideal project for providing employment to the youth and economic development of the metropolitan in particular and Sindh in general.
Naimatullah said that he KTIC project was initiated by the presently defunct City District Government Karachi (CDGK), Army Welfare Trust (AWT), Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA), Access Capital and EDP services, adding that an MoU was signed on 7th October, 2002 between the parties and was the ceremony witnessed in Karachi by former federal minister for science and technology Prof Dr Attaur Rehman.
He further said that media reports of development of the island by Bahria Town and an American company was just a construction project which would only generate low level menial jobs and create housing/recreation facilities for the ultra-rich, whereas the IT City project would generate much greater number of high value jobs and economic activity on the pattern of Dubai Internet City and Banglore’s own ‘Silicon Valley’ in India.
Furthermore, Naimatullah said that a few years ago another government gave the island to Emaar, an Arabian construction company, without looking at the viability of the project. Thus the project had to be abandoned, he added. This new project was also similar to the previous projects which were initiated to grab prime land for personal purpose and a comparison of both projects could be made very easily, he said.
The project involved the conversion of an offshore island near Karachi into a high tech city where international technology companies could house their development/processing centres using huge technical human resource of Pakistan to market their products in the Middle East, Central Asia and Far Eastern countries. Over 1,200 acres just off the coast of DHA Golf Course have been allocated for the mentioned project.
KTIC would benefit the future generations by creating massive employment opportunities for engineers, IT specialists, business graduates, doctors and scientists while it would also generate mega economic activity, capable of establishing Pakistan as the technology hub of the entire region, Naimatullah opined.
“The federal and provincial governments are requested to please initiate KTIC project immediately and if someone is interested in the development including Bahria Town or Emaar, they should contact and join hands with Naimatullah Khan and his team to structure a more viable and beneficial project of Karachi Technology Island City. We also intend to file an application at the Sindh High Court to be a part of the said petition,” he demanded.
The chief executive officer, EDP Services and former chairman of Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA) Syed Hamza Matin was also present on the occasion.
Here's an excerpt of a Reuters' report on Karachi shares market:
The market's benchmark index continues to soar to record highs -- up 10.34 percent year to date -- fueled in part by expectations May elections will mark Pakistan's first transfer of power from one democratic government to another. Previous civilian governments were all dismissed by Pakistan's ultimate power: the military.
"Pakistan has a lot to offer investors and this is our chance to show it," said Nadeem Naqvi, the KSE chairman. He plans to embark on a series of roadshows for potential foreign partners that will take him to London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong in the coming months.
Many of the companies listed on the KSE offer double-digit returns, low stock prices and resilient business models in this frontier market with a population of 180 million. The index still has an attractive price/earnings ratio of $8.50 despite the soaring returns of the past few years.
Pakistan now has a 4 percent weighting in the MSCI Frontiers Market Index and has become somewhat of a discovery for foreign investors chasing new markets and yields.
THE SEAMIER SIDE
But the KSE's spectacular rise last year can at least be partly attributed to another factor entirely - the cleansing of "black money".
The market took off last year just as a government decree was finalized allowing people to buy stocks with no questions asked about the source of the cash. Average daily volume more than doubled last year to 173 million shares from 79 million in 2011.
Authorities say the measure will bring undocumented funds into the tax net in a country where few pay taxes. But some critics decried it as a gift to corrupt officials and criminals seeking to launder dirty cash.
"Politics and dirty money go hand in hand in Pakistan," said Dr. Ikramul Haq, a Supreme Court lawyer and a professor on tax law.
"People want to be outside the regulatory framework and outside the tax net."
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) said it found 23 violations of securities laws that merited fines in fiscal year 2011-12 (April/March). The market regulator sent warning letters in another 19 cases, it said in its annual report. (www.secp.gov.pk/)
That's a drop in the bucket, says Ashraf Tiwana, dismissed as head of SECP's legal department after years of clashes with his bosses over fraud in the market. He has petitioned the Supreme Court to replace the SECP chairman and commissioners.
"There's a lot of fraud, a lot of market manipulation ... but not enough action has been taken, especially not enough criminal action has been taken," Tiwana told Reuters. "They're just passing small fines and giving out warning letters."
Regulators are too close to the market, Tiwana said. The head of the stock exchange is a former broker and the two top members of the SECP are former employees of Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, founder of one of the country's biggest brokerage houses.
Nicknamed "Big Dhedhi" for his ability to move markets, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi heads one of Pakistan's largest domestic conglomerates, the AKD Group.
Lately, the well-known philanthropist and leading member of Pakistan's business establishment has been trying to fend off arrest over allegations of insider trading.
An SECP investigator accused traders, including Dhedhi's brokerage, of buying shares in a state-run Sui Southern Gas Co before an official announcement allowing the company to raise its prices. In the weeks before Sui Southern's announcement, the stock price jumped from 13.5 rupees to 20 rupees, its biggest hike in five years.
Here's a National Geographic piece on Thar coal development in Pakistan:
The current acute energy crisis in Pakistan, certainly the worst of all times is heating up an indigenous extractive resource scramble in a remote part of Pakistan with unusual demographics. The Tharparker District or simply the Thar Desert located in the southeastern province of Sindh is under spot light because of a 175 billion tons of estimated coal reserves lying beneath its surface. These reserves have been known for around two decades, but only recently has development gained momentum to generate power in order to propel the country’s ailing economy. The signs of a resource boom are already animating the dull landscape of the region – roads, airports, site offices, power lines, guest houses and rising real estate price are evident. Near the town of Islamkot, an underground coal gassification pilot project represents the scale of possible change where workers sourced from local communities rest their heads after long-hour shifts.
Understanding the quandary faced by the residents of the Thar Desert took me to several villages situated in the vicinity of the coal fields to gather some basic ethnographic data on community perceptions of the project. Tharparker is home to around 1.5 million people stretching its boundaries with Indian Rajasthan and the Great Ran of Kutch salt marsh. The indigenous communities of Menghwar, Kolhi and Bheel make up a large part of the rural human settlement. The land is famous for rippling sand dunes, distinct folklore, rain-starved shrubs, drying wells, bottomed indicators of health, poverty and education and the most food insecure district in the country. One of the villages Mauakharaj of Tharparker, just beside an airport being built to host coal companies, has abject poverty and deprivation. The whole village is culturally and socially crippled because of fluorosis; a disease caused by consumption of excessive fluoride in groundwater, with no remedy and still people compelled to use it.
The conversation did not lead to consensus on what approach should be dominant but there was a agreement that Thar coal development should not be a first resort but much further down the priority scale for addressing Pakistan’s energy crisis. As Pakistan’s election approaches, energy is a ballot issue and polemics are rife on panacea solutions. It is high time that Pakistanis consider their energy predicament with a multifaceted strategy that transcends petty nationalism so that communal harmony is not compromised for short-term and inefficient power solutions.
Here's a Daily Times story on KSE-100 closing over 19,000 points, record high:
KARACHI: The Karachi stock market closed at a historical high level of 19,000 points on Thursday as emerging clarity on timely elections compelled investors to take fresh positions.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) 100-share index gained 52.11 points or 0.27 percent to close at 19,034.53 points as compared to 18,982.42 points of the previous session. The KSE 30-share index was up by 23.55 points to close at 14,664.29 points as compared with 14,640.74 points.
“With the emerging clarity on timely elections, investors continued to take fresh positions,” said Topline Sec dealer Samar Iqbal. “Fauji Fertilizer continued to rally after its result announcement.”
Investors remained skeptical on Engro Corp on gas supply issues, she said and added that telecom sector remained under pressure after heavy penalty by Competition Commission of Pakistan. Fauji Cement remained the volume leader with 26 million shares while its share price rose by 3.0 percent.
The market turnover went down by 24.43 percent and traded 147.36 million shares as against 195 million shares of the previous session. The overall market capitalisation gained 0.51 percent and traded Rs 4.687 trillion as against Rs 4.663 trillion. Gainers beat losers 225 to 148, while 22 stocks were unchanged.
“Stocks closed at a record-high level post-major earnings announcements for the quarter-end session at KSE led by second-tier stocks on strong valuations,” said Arif Habib Corporation Director Ahsan Mehanti. “Bullish sentiments prevailed amid thin trade after Consumer Price Index inflation for April stood at 5.8 percent.”
Higher local cement prices, recovery in global commodities and easing political concerns played a catalyst role in the bullish activity at KSE amid concerns over dismal earnings outlook for the banking sector....
Supeb blog!!! Informative post,Thanks for sharing it.
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Here's UAE's National newspaper story on real estate sector in Pakistan:
The government spends more than US$5 billion on construction from its annual development budget. The housing sector, however, gets less than half of the amount allocated for construction each year. The burgeoning population and rapid urbanisation calls for more housing schemes in the country. Private real estate developers have a crucial role to meet housing.
In view of the security concerns, private developers have resorted to building gated communities in major cities. Pakistan’s Bahria Town is Asia’s largest real estate developer and private housing society, which has practically implemented the idea of foolproof safety. Bahria’s ongoing projects, such as the JV D&B Valley, Golf City, Garden City, Bahria Icon, cover more than 1 billion square feet that will accommodate more than 1 million residents. Bahria’s 25,000 employees are delivering US$5 billion of iconic developments.
Administered by the Pakistan army, Defence Housing Authority (DHA) is a real estate organisationthat mainly develops housing for current and retired military officers. DHA has establishments in all the major cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. DHA City, one of the largest state-of-the-art residential-cum-commercial projects, is under construction in Karachi. DHA has also built gated communities. And the prices of residential and commercial property in DHA housing schemes have been on the rise.
Launched in 2008, DHA Valley is a joint venture of DHA, Bahria Town and Habib Rafiq Private. The project aims at developing a secure community with essential amenities. DHA Valley offers 1,125 sq ft and 1,800 sq ft residential plots for 650,000 Pakistan rupees (Dh22,749) and 880,000 rupees respectively, with a quarterly instalment plan for Pakistani residents. It also offers1,800 sq ft residential plots for US$12,900 for overseas Pakistani residents.
The winner of five awards from the Asia Pacific International Property Awards, Bahria Town is actually fuelling the growth of real estate sector in the country.
Bahria’s projects in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and the development of a gated community worth $6 billion in the twin cities is the great property success story. The amenities offered by Bahria Town attracted residents and allured real estate investors. It ensures a 24-hour supply of electricity, fool-proof security and other amenities. The value of real estate in the Bahria towns in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi has increased manifold in the past five years. The price of a 1,800 sq ft residential plot at Bahria towns in Lahore and Rawalpindi has increased up to 5 million rupees from 1.5m rupees in just three to four years.
Karachi, the country commercial capital, has endured stagnancy or a fall in property prices because of deteriorating law and order over the past five years. Bahria Town has come forward as the answer to many of the problems confronting the real estate investors. Bahria town Karachi is currently the focus of speculative trade in real estate. Frenzied investors are ready to offer triple the price for plot files. What is really a commendable the properties are financially accessible to the middle class. For example in the newly launched Bahria Town scheme in Karachi, the price for a 1,125 sq ft residential plot is 2.6 million rupees, while the price of a 2,160 sq ft plot is more than 5m rupees. Similarly, the price a two bed apartment is 2.6m rupees, while the price of four-bed apartment is 8.2m rupees. These properties can be purchased through instalments under a five-year plan.
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > BUSINESS
Egyptian billionaire ventures into Pakistan's real estate with $2b project
By Bilal MemonPublished: December 22, 2017
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.
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.
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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