With tourism and industry at the heart of its economic diversification plans, Oman continues to grow as one of the Gulf’s steadiest markets for real estate development. Ahead of Construction Week’s Top 50 GCC Developers 2018 list, which will be published in print on 29 September, 2018, CW rounds up the top five Omani real estate builders that have made the cut this year.
5. Hazza al-Saadi
Wujha Real Estate
As one of Oman’s more prominent property development firms, Wujha Real Estate has been busy these past few months. This April, the company signed a cooperation agreement with Muscat Bank to facilitate home financing for its customers, it said on its social media page. Sheikh Hazza al-Saadi, chief executive officer of Wujha Real Estate, was involved in a similar, two-year agreement with the bank for its Danat Alerfan and Zaha projects. Last November, it was revealed that construction sites owned by Wujha would be fitted with high-speed fibre optic networks. Oman Broadband will provide the network infrastructure for all of Wujha's construction sites in Muscat. At the time, al-Saadi said the agreement covered up to nine projects of the company, including residential, commercial, and community projects. These construction sites were located in the wilayat of Al A’mirat, as well as wilayat A’Seeb’s Al Maabila city, both in Muscat. The programme with Oman Broadband would provide “an added value and basic service for residential and commercial units”, al-Saadi said, adding that ‘smart’ properties would be “very necessary in the coming period”.
4. Mohamed Abdullah Al Kindi
Majan Development Company
Led by chief executive officer, Mohamed Abullah Al Kindi, Oman’s Majan Development Company has seen steady growth in the last 12 months. Work commenced on Phase 3 of its mixed-use project, Al Muzn, located opposite Al Mouj, Muscat, this August. Founded in 2006, the developer is best known for the Al Muzn Hotel in Seeb, which is due to complete in Q1 2019, according to ProTenders. The $18.1m (OMR7m) three-star hotel will include 132 guest rooms, in addition to 83 parking spots and conference facilities. The developer’s Al Muzn Residence will also complete in Q1 2019. The 127-unit high-rise complex features one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, plus 13 showrooms. Phase 3 of the Majan project will be preceded by the Al Muzn Mall, ProTenders said.
3. Sheikh Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Araimi
Al Raid Group
Thanks in part to the rapid progress being made on the Al Araimi Boulevard mall, Al Raid Group has been at the centre of real estate activity in Oman this year. Led by chief executive officer, Sheikh Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Araimi, the developer is on track to open its flagship mall later this year. Since its establishment in 1974, the company has delivered more than 20 projects across Oman, covering a built-up area of 46.4ha. The firm currently has 139.4ha of projects under development, and 18.6ha under construction. Al Raid Group’s portfolio includes the Mumtaz residential community, the Al Raid House commercial complex, the 6,000m2 Al Manuma Plaza, and the 15,000m2 al Araimi Complex. The latter, launched in 1994, was the first shopping complex in Oman’s Al Qurum area. The two-storey Al Araimi Boulevard will feature a glass atrium, as well as a skylight spanning 5,190m2 when it opens later this year. A press statement by Al Raid Group this June stated that the mall would feature “the biggest food court” in the sultanate, and that its glass atrium and skylight would each be the “largest” of their kind.
2. Nasser Al Sheibani
Al Mouj, Muscat
Few developments have put Oman on the map in the way that Al Mouj, Muscat – an integrated tourism complex – has since its establishment in 2006. A public-private venture of the Government of Oman and the UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Al Mouj, Muscat led by chief executive officer, Nasser Al Sheibani, has seen significant construction progress this year. In June, it was revealed that the Muscat-headquartered development firm had awarded a construction contract to Shaksy Engineering Services for the construction of its Community Hub. Located between Al Mouj, Muscat’s main entrance and Ghadeer District, the hub will feature a mosque, a kindergarten school, and a sales centre. It is due to open in 2019, the developer said in a statement. The news came weeks after it was revealed that it had recorded 70 million man-hours without a lost-time incident (LTI). The LTI record was achieved over a decade and through work with 70 sub-contractors, with an average of three first-aid and medical treatments required each year.
1. Peter Walichnowski
Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) has had yet another successful year with Peter Walichnowski at its helm as chief executive officer. The company functions as the executive arm of the Government of Oman for the development of the sultanate’s tourism sector. This January, a contract was signed between Omran and Oman’s Ministry of Tourism to separate the legislative and executive aspects of the industry. The contract's first stage included the transfer of five projects from the ministry to Omran. Abdullah bin Salim al-Hajri, assistant director-general for administrative affairs at the ministry, said this included Al Hoota Cave and Al Uwaifiyah Rest Area in A'Dakhiliyah, Scientific Center in Ras Al Jinz, Al Ashkharah Rest Area in South A'Sharqiyah, and Salalah Rest Area in Dhofar.
Omran’s Walichnowski, who has previously worked with Al Ghurair Properties and Majid Al Futtaim Properties, took over Omran’s management in May 2017. In the almost-18 months since his tenure started, Walichnowski has overseen key developments at Omran, including the partnership it entered with the UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim to develop the western area of Madinat Al Irfan. Touted as the sultanate’s largest urban development, Madinat Al Irfan is expected to contribute to Oman Vision 2040. Its eastern area sits minutes from the newly opened Muscat International Airport, and adjoins the Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre. The new mixed-use community planned for Madinat al Irfan’s western area spans 450ha, and is estimated to cost $13bn (OMR5bn) over a 20-year period, creating 30,000 jobs in Oman. Madinat Al Irfan will contribute approximately $1.04bn (OMR400m) to the local economy, it was stated at the time. Commenting on the project at the time, Walichnowski said: “This is another important step forward in the transformation of Muscat’s real estate and tourism offering towards setting a new international benchmark for urban development living. When you look at what is being achieved here, I truly believe this is the most exciting urban development in the Gulf region today – and [the] partnership with Majid Al Futtaim is key to this.”