Chairman Naguib Sawiris & Haitham Abdelazim Unveil their plans

ORA, the top-notch real estate development company that prioritises changing lives and providing high-end projects across the globe, continues to make waves and amaze Cairo residents as it expands its projects. With the upcoming launch of ZED East and the first sports university in Egypt, there is still so much to look forward to from this enigmatic company. eniGma got together with the mastermind behind ORA, legendary business mogul Naguib Sawiris and ORA Egypt’s brilliant CEO, Haitham Abdelazim, to find out more about ORA’s exciting upcoming projects.

What was the vision behind ORA’s ZED Park project?
Naguib Sawiris (N.S.): To begin with, it is worth noting that Egypt was in need of a large outdoor area filled with vast spaces of greenery for people to enjoy all year round. The idea behind the ZED project was to introduce the concept of park-side-living in Egypt; meaning that you get to overlook the 65-feddan park from your home. However, we did not want to restrict the park only to those who purchased a space in the development. We wanted to make the park accessible to everyone, especially to the El Sheikh Zayed community. Our aim is to introduce Egyptians to ‘park culture’. We want everyone to have the opportunity to get a simple feel of fresh air whenever they want to; to enjoy green spaces with loved ones, and to have access to all the world-class sports facilities available in the park. They will also be able to enjoy fine dining as well as a variety of F&B outlets.

Is ORA planning to expand on the concept of the ZED Park project?
Haitham Abdelazim (H.A.): At ORA, we always look for market gaps we can fill. There is still an unfilled demand for real estate developments like ours, which are lifestyle destinations with a real sense of community. Our developments bring opportunity for all and offer a wide range of enjoyable lifestyle experiences.

Following the success of ZED El Sheikh Zayed, we acquired land in East Cairo, where we will be creating a new destination for people seeking the ZED kind of lifestyle. The idea is to provide a safe, self-sustainable community that provides all the basics of living, for all ages, and for all tastes. It will become a landmark that stands out in the area. In this project, ORA will work on blending low and high-density zones with a contemporary feel, giving residents and visitors a sense of comfort. People will be able to walk safely in a multi-use destination that combines all necessary components of a comfortable and healthy life.

Can you tell us more about ZED East and when you are planning to relaunch it?
N.S: We acquired the 400-feddan plot of land in East New Cairo earlier this year. The new development is strategically situated on the extension of New Cairo’s main street, 90 St, serving as the go-to destination for adjacent communities.

With the success of ORA’s ZED project in El Sheikh Zayed, this mixed-use development is envisioned as a self-sustainable community, integrating residential, commercial and administrative uses into one space, and accommodating all living needs and essential activities in one destination. It will also have a sports club and vast green spaces that will be available to the community. The project will incorporate units ranging from villas and apartments to penthouse units.

The 400-feddan project which interweaves mixed-use facilities into its master plan, will also incorporate a world class club that will include five 11-a-side football pitches, swimming pools, squash, tennis and paddle courts. Besides the sports facilities, the club will also offer wide green spaces for the community to enjoy as well as a kids area, a clubhouse and a range of restaurants and cafes.

Launch date is set for September 2020

What can we expect from Winter Wonderland this year?
H.A: While we cannot disclose details, I can guarantee you that this year’s edition of Winter Wonderland will be bigger, brighter, and much more magical. This year we’re parterning up with Amr Mansy for Winter Wonderland. We are looking forward to introducing new and exciting attractions and making the overall experience one to remember. We are also taking all the safety precautionary measures due to the pandemic.

Following the success of last year’s Winter Wonderland experience, the first in Egypt, we are looking forward to creating this year’s ultimate Christmas destination offering an array of attractions, activities, and entertainment for all ages. Visitors will find their favourite attractions including the iconic outdoor ice-skating rink, the swing ride and carousel, all in the typical festive atmosphere. Moreover, the famous 45-meter observation Ferris wheel will also be available for everyone to enjoy.

What were the challenges you faced with the ZED Park project and how did you overcome them?
H.A: Our biggest challenge was to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic which meant we had to postpone the massive entertainment and sports calendar we had planned for 2020.

When launching our entertainment platform ‘ZED Park Presents’ back in January, we had promised a list of world-class acts and events throughout the year for the community to enjoy. When the pandemic broke, however, we had to think of ways to support our people and help them out during these difficult times – which was when we launched our, ‘It’s Time To’, virtual campaign. We teamed up with some of Egypt’s top public figures to provide the community with content to keep them entertained while staying safe at home. From health and wellness to fashion and humorous videos, ‘It’s Time To’ kicked off on our social channels and triggered great engagement by our people.

Can we expect more projects like Winter Wonderland from ORA and ZED in the future?
H.A: At ORA, we are always looking to bring new experiences to our people and leaving them astonished and wanting more. We had a comprehensive list of world-class entertainment acts for 2020, which had to be postponed in order to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of the community.

That being said, we have not stopped planning and preparing for upcoming events. Last January, we hosted the first edition of the Middle East Music Event (MEME), which brought together the best collection of sounds that Egypt and the Middle East have to offer and showcased a series of alternative music gigs by renowned and underground bands.

It is worth noting that sports is also one of our main pillars at ZED, and last year we proudly witnessed the launch of multiple sports tournaments, including the first edition of the ZED’s Club Cup, which witnessed a fierce competition between the U13 teams of some of the world’s biggest football clubs, in addition to a number of Egyptian teams. We also participated in the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai.

Can you tell us a little bit about ZED’s Sports University? Why was a project like this important to undertake?
H.A: The Sports University will be a new concept for the region. It will give students the proper tools to expand their skillset within the sports field. Graduates of the program will not only become future players in their chosen field, but students will also be able to specialise in marketing, journalism, communication as well as physical therapy and physical education. These skillsets will be additional assets that will help our students excel and stand out in the sports world. The university will generate well educated and well equipped figures in the fields of sport and exercise science.

The sports scene has grown to become an extremely influential enterprise. The university aims to generate academics that did not exist previously in the sports sector. Globally, sports have widely influenced the health scene beyond sports activities. The university will give students an opportunity to specialise in the program of their choice.