Ahmed Mansour

The Engineer & CEO on Castle Development’s Latest Wins

It seems like here at eniGma we have watched Castle Development’s CEO, Engineer Ahmed Mansour, grow in stature right in front of our eyes. The last time we sat down with the young real estate mogul earlier in the year, the spread of the Covid pandemic was at its height. Since then, Mansour and his company have weathered the storm and have come out on top. Castle Development, known for its high-end developments in Egypt, is continuing to thrive on Mansour’s hands. Mansour, is also the youngest real estate developer to venture into the New Administrative Capital, and he’s still got many tricks up his sleeve. eniGma takes a close look at Mansour’s latest achievements and finds out what the prominent real estate developer is up to next.

As the developer of one of the largest projects in the new Administrative Capital of Egypt, Castle Development earned a significant position in the Egyptian real estate market, and has become one of the major companies in the field.

Building on its extensive experience through its KSA-based sister company, ABC, with a portfolio of 400 projects in Egypt and the Gulf region, Castle Development sought to develop and introduce high-end real estate projects in Egypt. Today, its flagship project, Castle Landmark, is located on a total area of 43 acres in the New Administrative Capital and promises a remarkable living experience, as well as unique insurance options, flexible payment plans and state-of-the-art designs. Castle Development is also working on a commercial project in the New Administrative Capital and has plans for other ambitious projects for the future.

Led by Eng. Ahmed Mansour, Castle Development has a vision of making Egypt the center for premium-quality real estate solutions. It is merging the expertise of every Castle Development employee to introduce a new line of results that have a profound and valuable impact on the industry. Mansour, one of the youngest players in the market, holds a number of distinguished positions in real estate in both Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is Vice President of ABC for Construction, a sister establishment to Castle Landmark, founded in Saudi Arabia in 1982. The KSA-based company developed a total of 400 projects in Egypt and the Gulf region in a period of four decades, and currently has 2000 employees on board. Mansour also serves as VP of MIG for construction, another sister company to Castle Landmark; both companies share a total of 800 employees. Established in 1998, MIG is mainly focused on real estate investment and the development of administrative, multi-use, entertainment, residential, touristic, and industrial real estate. MIG also provides an impressive lineup of services that include contracting work for integrated buildings, bridges and road works, water and wastewater plants, and gas and fuel networks. With a goal of always maintaining ultimate levels of customer satisfaction, MIG also provides its developments with comprehensive facility management solutions. Its portfolio so far includes a total of 1048 apartment buildings in new and budding areas across Egypt. Its projects include Jannat Masr, Dar Masr, Sakan Masr, among others.

From day one, Castle Development was determined to partner with leading names in relevant fields to ensure high-quality products. The company’s flagship project, Castle Landmark, introduced the concept of an integrated smart residential compound, with solar energy feeding 70% of its overall area. Castle Landmark’s convenient design incorporates barrier-free, fully equipped solutions installed in its infrastructure, allowing for trouble-free and practical movement. Adding to its unique value proposition, Castle Development contracted its sister company, MIG, to carry out the construction work for the project, while Egyptian-German Okoplan Consulting Engineers, were chosen to do the project’s landscaping. The project’s master plan introduces cutting-edge, ultra-modern design concepts that involve elements of nature in every aspect and 81% of its land area is allocated to greenery and open spaces. A lineup of premium amenities and facilities, including a clubhouse, gym, comprehensive parking space, as well as commercial and recreational areas, all adjacent to the city’s Green River, will be available to all unit owners. Moreover, a partnership with international insurance company, MetLife Alico was established to provide a two-year coverage for all units in case of fire, theft, and accidents. Another project by Castle Development in the New Administrative Capital is East Side, a comprehensive mixed-use facility. located in the MU2-3 zone. It is bordered by residential compounds in the area’s R2 and R3 zones as well as El Amal Axis, Bin Zayed North Road and the Suez Road. East Side is made up of three complexes offering medical, retail and administrative spaces spread over an area of 7,600m2 , with 20,000m2 of built-up area. Renowned Egyptian architect Hany Saad, of Hany Saad Innovations, was charged with the landscape for East Side. The mixed-use development exhibits minimalistic, clean and modern concepts in planning.

Mansour states that his vision for Castle Development, “is to provide customers with a ‘super destination’, a place that offers top-notch facilities, infrastructure, and smart-home solutions.” With only two years in the Egyptian market, Castle Development has already had a tremendous impact on the way real estate in the New Administrative Capital is perceived. The company was successful at using its partnerships to offer its clients unique insurance options, flexible payment plans, and state-of-the-art designs across both residential and commercial projects.

For Mansour and Castle Development, the New Administrative Capital was the ideal location to launch their flagship project. “It is where customers envision life in the future, where sustainable and comfortable solutions are all around. It is a promising city and one of the region’s most significant investments,” Mansour explains.

After thorough and extensive research on global modern trends in the establishment of fourth generation cities, and after identifying the needs of all its potential customers, Castle Development found that the New Administrative Capital possessed all the elements needed to implement its vision, especially since the location contained the necessary elements that are conducive to creating a smart environment that meets the needs of the company’s target customers. Starting with its impressive infrastructure, vast network of main roads, business districts, the capacity to host 6.5 million residents, all the way to its ability to generate two million job opportunities, the New Administrative Capital is a new gem that promises a steady flow of local and foreign investments into the country.

Castle Development always strives to keep up with the latest technologies and smart solutions across its products. Its goal is to create an integrated model that combines innovative design, comprehensive services and a distinguished management of infrastructure; which is why the company seeks partners who excel in their respective fields and are able to help it develop the most valuable real estate products. Among Castle Development’s main partners is Schneider Electric, which employs its innovative solutions to manage energy consumption, while also providing safe, efficient and environmentally friendly products. Schneider Electric Egypt’s services include electricity, HVAC, water, gas, data networks, data centers, traffic, as well as the security and command operation/control centre at Castle Landmark in the New Administrative Capital. Another significant partnership that adds tremendous value to Castle Development’s infrastructure is with Orange Egypt. Orange will supply Castle Landmark units with the operator’s comprehensive Triple Play services, including the provision of landline, television, and internet services through highly sophisticated technologies that allow residents to remotely control devices, lighting, and door locks, as well as the installation of security systems that respond to break-ins and fire.

Castle Development believes that trust is what makes a winning real estate product and it is what makes for true success in real estate. In line with its commitment and sense of responsibility towards its customers, the company believes it is necessary to provide different solutions that deliver value and security, ultimately enabling customers to trust its product. Determined to always evolve and to continuously improve its products, Castle
Development also signed an agreement with Allianz Insurance-Egypt, which is part of Allianz, the world’s top insurance company and global financial services provider. Thanks to its outstanding performance, unique expertise, and a deep understanding of the needs of customers over the years, in Egypt and other different countries, Allianz Egypt is providing insurance coverage that provides for the payment of all remaining purchase installments if the owner of a property from Castle Development passes away. This means that the owner’s family members would become the legitimate heirs of that property without having to pay off any remaining dues. This protocol makes Castle Development the first real estate developer in Egypt to introduce insurance systems benefitting its customers.

Castle Development’s focus on customer satisfaction extends to other aspects as well. With the launch of Springfield, the third phase in their flagship project Castle Landmark, the company is offering 238 unfinished units of different sizes, ranging between 120m2 and 285m2. This variety of offerings are in response to a careful study of of customers’ needs and the market’s, which found that buyers like to have a variety of options available, and they also appreciate the ability to purchase customisable units. With affordability remaining a priority for homebuyers, the variety of offerings also fits with the COVID-19 situation which is increasing the demand for flexible units that accommodate a 24/7 presence in the home environment. To that end, Castle Development is keen on offering products that facilitate remote working, e-learning, and in-house entertainment in the hope that a robust infrastructure will translate into a climb up the charts in terms of future sales. “These elements are no longer regarded as luxuries, but integral parts of a functioning household, like bathrooms and kitchens,” says Mansour. He notes that, in their future plans, they will be incorporating designs that make living inside more enjoyable and efficient by including customisable unit designs which invite the outside in.

Recalling the manner in which Castle Development dealt with recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, Mansour says, “At first there was this initial shock that took place on the construction front. But we managed to recover from it by implementing a clear place that allowed us to assess the situation and implement all the necessary precautionary measures to secure a healthy and safe environment for all employees. Then we put construction work across all sites on hold and gave workers a fully paid two-week break so that we could secure a safe environment for them to resume work. Now, we are back at full capacity and our construction progress currently stands ahead of schedule.”

As a developer of mixed-use real estate projects, Castle Development’s CEO believes that now is an excellent time to focus more on Medical Office Buildings,( MOB) which he believes add tremendous value to any residential project. For example, in the New Administrative Capital and New Alamein, well-located MOBs with the proper modern medical infrastructure will be in great demand sooner than many people think. A connected infrastructure that delivers high-quality and efficient outcomes must include medical devices, software applications, and health systems that bring together people (patients, caregivers, and clinicians), data (patient or performance data), processes (care delivery and patient support), and enablers (sensors and connected medical devices). Built on its understanding of the market, Castle Development finds that the demand for office, retail, and medical real estate has been seeing immense growth, even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Population growth and the need for medical spaces offering open-plan layouts while maintaining the 1-meter distance between patients, will result in higher health spending. The sector is projected to experience a steady growth even after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

This year is seeing Castle Development invest a total of EGP 450 million in construction work. Construction at the New Administrative Capital site, which is to be delivered over five phases, is making headway with the completion of 35% of phase I and over 10% of phase II. Meanwhile, drilling work for phase III is now fully complete, and concrete works as well as the construction of bearing walls for apartment buildings are currently in progress. Castle Landmark’s master plan also includes an underground parking space that covers the entire area of the project, the first of its kind in Egypt, allowing for a smoother flow. A total of 478 units are currently under construction for phase I, while phase II is making progress across 239 units. Castle Landmark is projected to start delivering in 2022.

Expanding its line of services in commercial real estate at the New Administrative Capital, Castle Development is also developing another venture, Castle Gate. With an investment of EGP 750 million, Castle Gate is located in the R7 zone, 10 minutes away from the Central Business District, and five minutes away from the regional ring road. Attached to the company’s flagship Castle Landmark, Castle Gate has a built-up area of 24,000m2, containing 196 units that offer administrative, medical and retail options, with delivery expected in 2022. Moreover, the company has recently acquired a 12,000m2 plot of land to develop another commercial area in 6th of October City, which is set for construction towards the beginning of 2021.

The company also plans to further diversify the options offered to its clients by introducing second homes in the North Coast, that will offer premium locations and unique designs that add value to the entire area’s coastal landscape.