REAL ESTATE CEOS MAKING THEIR MARK

HOW IBRAHIM EL MISSIRI & AMR SULTAN TRANSFORMED THEIR DEVELOPMENTS

AMR SULTAN
CO-FOUNDER & CEO OF LMD
How did you get into the real estate development business?
Since I was young, I had a simple but persistent dream. I wanted to become a game changer, in some way. I wanted to be creative and to be a successful transformer in my field. I eventually found that real estate development was my calling and that is where I could make my dream come true! Before founding LMD, I was deputy CEO at “Al Ahly Sabbour” where I was managing one of Egypt’s leading real estate development companies, “Al Ahly for Real Estate Development.” I helped bring more than 57 iconic projects to life across 12 million m 2 in Egypt. I found my calling and I feel that I am on the right track to achieve my dream.

Since founding LMD in 2007, the company has evolved strategically. We have expanded internationally, today we have projects in four countries in a variety of sectors, namely construction, real estate development, tourism, retail and entertainment. We were among the first Egyptian developers to penetrate international markets, with the founding of the Continental Investment Company, which has successfully engraved the LMD name on the Continental Tower in Dubai, and is behind the Rukan Compound in Dubai Land. Moreover, we successfully ventured into Europe with Muntaner 91 in the heart of Barcelona and in Athens, Greece.

What was your vision for LMD at its founding in 2007?
Since I founded LMD, I have been dedicated to creating transformative residential and commercial experiences.
My vision for the company is to bring exceptional innovation to our projects. We are determined to create larger than life integrated destinations where we set the benchmark for progressive design and quality. It is an ever evolving journey. Sustainability, consistency and value creation are deeply woven into every aspect of our business. Accordingly, LMD has successfully managed to secure the best locations in Egypt that maximise returns on first and second homes and commercial developments, while earning a credible strong reputation in the market as a transformer, celebrated for its benchmark quality, contemporary taste and one-of-a-kind lifestyle experiences.

How does LMD stand out among other real estate development companies?
Our communities are expertly designed with people and the future in mind. They are places designed, not just to live, but to thrive. We have cemented our status as the provider of visionary projects; our prime portfolio of high-quality projects is valued at EGP 37Bn. Beside our important residential, hospitality, administrative and commercial ventures in Cairo, LMD has penetrated markets in Dubai and Barcelona with 5,000 units covering three million m 2 .

We’ve heard a lot about the upcoming W Residences Cairo. Can you tell us more about them and how they fit your vision?
As you know we are undertaking a huge project, One Ninety, that is strategically located in a prime location on 90 St.; the intersection between the Ring Road and New Cairo. LMD takes pride in being the first to bring the W Residences experience not only to Cairo, but to the African continent, designed by Gensler, the world renowned urban design company, in collaboration with Bowler James Brindly, who are leaders in design-led interiors. W Residences Cairo will be powered by Marriott International, marking its 18th such destination worldwide. W Residences Cairo is hotel-inspired living, with limitless luxury and an unmistakable style. The Residences benefit from their close proximity to the first W hotel in Egypt ,“W Cairo Hotel,” with its plush amenities and its world class hospitality services. W Residences Cairo boasts innovative stunning designs with floor-to-ceiling windows and vast terraces with inspirational views. At the touch of a button, W Residences Cairo will have access to the hotel’s 24/7 whatever/whenever service, personal concierge, full housekeeping and in-residence dining. Furthermore, the ownership perks at W Residences Cairo are second to none, unlocking access to the refreshing WET DECK® pool, signature treatments at AWAY SPA®, energising work-outs at FIT® FITNESS CENTER and collaborative productivity at WIRED® BUSINESS CENTER.

Can you tell us more about the landmark One Ninety project in general?
LMD’s flagship project contains residential and commercial components to create one-of-a-kind experiences that go beyond all what traditional development stands for. The project is located between the ring road and the 90th street in New Cairo, boasting a fully-integrated vision of seamless outdoor walkability. The mixed-use development radiates a cosmopolitan flair, bringing all the corners of the world into a one thriving community. Besides Africa’s first W Residences Cairo, it will include The Residences at St. Regis New Cairo, the W Cairo hotel, and the Aloft hotel, in addition to a multitude of enchanting experiences, master-planned by world renowned SOM, from shopping sprees to artisanal dining, and world-class entertainment at The Design District and The Boulevard, not to mention, a cutting-edge Business Quarter. All these facilities will be framing the One Ninety’s Urban Park, with
native flora lying at its beating heart.

What can we expect from LMD in the next five years and beyond?
LMD now is targeting a new challenge, Residential Spaces. Stei8ht is the new singular villas community in New Cairo, Located in one of the most prime areas in East Cairo, LMD introduces the new definition of low density high end residence across a 550 acres development. This new residential project will flip the concept of residential living. We are proceeding with an aggressive and promising expansion plan in Egypt and abroad that will soon be revealed.

IBRAHIM EL MISSIRI
CEO OF SOMABAY

Tell us a bit about your background and how you started your career…
I am a civil engineer, a graduate of the American University in Cairo in 1994. I started working on The Four Seasons project in Giza for four years, and then went to England, where I earned a Master’s Degree in Built Environment. Upon my return to Egypt, I joined the American project management company, Bechtel, to work on the Marina project in Port Ghaleb, north of Marsa Allam. Next, Bechtel transferred me to England, where I worked on high speed train projects, and on airports and ports. I worked for about 15 years in that business, until I transferred to real estate development, with Limitless, a company that is part of Dubai World. Unfortunately, that was in 2008 when the world financial crisis hit and the business did not last. From there, I went to work with Madinet Nasr for Housing, a company that owned 22% of Cairo. My work was both challenging and interesting, as it involved making changes to achieve the turnaround the company needed for its privatisation. I spent four years there before I joined Somabay as the manager of development, in charge of planning the chart of a new Somabay. Somabay started in the early 90’s and I got there around the beginning of 2012. After that, I worked on EXPO 2020 in Dubai for a year. In 2014, I was offered to come back to manage Somabay. It has been nine years.

Tell us about your experience at Somabay. When I got back into the company, tourism was in a bad condition as a result of the consecutive crises after 2011. The main challenge was how to transform this very beautiful resort with five-star, good quality, but old, hotels, into a thriving top of the line vacation destination as well as a city with a thriving residential community, and accordingly, to actively create demand for real estate in Somabay. We developed a plan, whereby we worked on developing the existing hotels, and started to rebuild the infrastructure of all of Somabay. It’s been nine years and we are very pleased that people have started to see the change we achieved in the last three or
four years.

What do you think makes Somabay so special?
The location, definitely! It’s so rare to have a development on the Red Sea, that’s facing the sea from all sides, with such a large beachfront. It’s remarkable what Somabay has managed to achieve with its location. We’ve been able to cultivate our own little city where people can come to unwind, work, live, etc. It has really become a prime place for clients to invest in as well. There’s something for everyone at Somabay, and that has been our target since day one.

What’s your proudest achievement with Somabay so far?
We’re way ahead of the trends with the projects we launch each year. Last year we introduced Cabanas to Somabay, and this was one of the major successes in our history. It’s incredible. They sold out almost immediately. The demand was way higher than the supply and we had to find a way to offer more, while still being able to keep them at a good price. It was phenomenal. This is one of my proudest moments at Somabay because it was just unmatched. I loved how things snowballed into this huge success. It was all thanks to the team and their commitment to delivering creative ideas and keeping Somabay so fresh. Just last year we launched two other projects which we’re really proud of, Blanca, which is a great beachside residential project, and The Coves, another residential project with breathtaking landscape and design.

Can you tell us about the events that take place at Somabay, such as the Endurance Festival?
When there are activities for people to engage in, that’s when a place comes to life. With the Endurance Festival, we wanted to bring sports into Somabay in a special and new way. We wanted to make spending time at Somabay different than anywhere else. We noticed that more and more clients are caring about sports, especially for their children. So we decided to offer that at Somabay. And that’s just one of the events and activities that you can find at Somabay. Other special events taking place at Somabay include art galleries, music festivals and more. We like to have a variety of events so that there really is something for anyone. Just because you’re not in Cairo during the summer, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on incredible events!

What are the factors that played a role in your success?
That is a tough question. For Somabay, the number one thing was the clarity of our vision and what we wanted to do. Somabay was always a beautiful place, but it lacked the residency. I think what helped me was the team working with me. It is critical to have people who share your vision and are willing to push you towards the same goal. We all focused on making the clients and the partners working with us adopt our vision and appreciate the potential of Somabay. The other most important thing is persistence. What I learned and benefited from my experience at Somabay, is to remain consistently persistent. We faced a lot of difficulties over the past nine years, but we persisted and did not give up.

I recall how one of the prominent members of our team would always remind us to just keep working and keep envisioning how it will all look like when we are done. To be surrounded by people who keep giving you the support you need to remain persistent, was very unique. The other companies that I have worked with did not start from scratch, in the way we did here. Having the vision and being persistent in achieving that vision, are the biggest factors behind our success. Moreover, you also have to be productive and to initiate your achievements. Once you achieve the first step, people will believe in you and push you to achieve more.