KARACHI: Egypt’s Ora Developers and its Pakistani partners plan to launch a multibillion-dollar luxury housing project on the outskirts of Islamabad next month, Senator Usman Saifullah Khan, vice chairman of the Saifullah Group, confirmed to Arab News on Wednesday.
Khan said that the same project would be replicated in Lahore and Karachi by the beginning of next year.
Owned by an Egyptian billionaire, Naguib Sawiris, Ora Developers is a major investor that holds up to 60 percent shares in the multibillion-dollar housing scheme that will soon become visible in the southwest of Islamabad. Success of the project is expected to attract more investment in Pakistan's housing sector.
“Project Eighteen,” a mixed-use development project that will cover 600 acres of land, is a joint venture between Naguib Sawiris, the Saif Group and Kohistan Builders. Commercial activity began earlier this year and the project will be delivered in phases, with delivery against the first phase expected in the next three years.
“Mr. Sawiris is one of the world’s leading investors who always took a very positive view of Pakistan’s investment potential," Khan said. "His first investment was in Mobilink, the country’s largest cellular operator. Mr. Sawiris’ firms have successfully delivered similar real estate projects in Egypt and around the Middle East, though this is his first venture in Pakistan’s real estate sector.”
According to data shared by the developers with Arab News, the project entails the construction of a five-star hotel of 150 rooms, 1,068 housing units, 921 residential apartments, business parks, hospitals, schools and other educational facilities and 13 office buildings. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $2 billion.
“Pakistan’s real estate sector presents a huge economic opportunity. Housing is a basic human need and there is a very large demand at all ends of the market,” Khan maintained.
“It is, however, important that this sector moves away from unproductive speculative activities towards more focused activity that actually meets customer needs and solves our housing problems. It is also important that banking policy is aligned with this so as to ensure that affordable mortgage financing is available to all income groups.”
The builders plan to hand over the constructed housing units and other facilities to local and foreign buyers in the next two to three years. “The management team, a mix of Egyptian and Pakistani experts, is here and they are working on the project to make it a success,” he said.
Khan added that Ora Developers and the Saif Group planned to introduce modern international ways of living to the people of Pakistan, claiming that this dream was gradually turning into reality.
Talking to Arab News, Chairman of the Association of Builders and Developers Arif Yousuf Jeewa said Pakistan faced a shortage of nearly 12 million housing units that may require a massive investment of $180 billion.
“Local and overseas Pakistanis are interested in investing in their country,” he said, “but what we need is infrastructure development.”