In efforts to meet the demand of today’s Egyptian communities, the Egyptian government is taking the lead in launching projects to redistribute over-populated communities through achieving urban development.
The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), an affiliate of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and new Urban Communities, is currently moving forward with several projects nationwide to meet today’s urban development plans. Head of the Planning and Projects Sector Ragaa Fouad and Deputy Head of Development of New Cities at NUCA Alaa Abdel Aziz spoke to Invest-Gate about NUCA’s development strategy, its current projects, and future potential for development during 2017.
What does NUCA have in store for 2017, and what goals are expected to be achieved?
Ragaa: We are working and renovating our projects. We are trying to showcase diverse projects in the upcoming period, such as the middle-income housing projects, as well as land offerings for individuals and investors.
What are the projects that NUCA is currently implementing?
Alaa: NUCA is currently constructing facilities in all lands in new cities, as well as working on several projects such as the special housing project. These are units that we offered in several new cities and expected to be more special and different than Dar Misr. Construction tenders for this project are currently being offered in New Cairo, Obour, Badr, and 6th of October City.
What are NUCA’s updates in constructing facilities for 20,000 acres in 24 new cities?
Alaa: The lands offered through lotteries were either dedicated for mixed-use projects or residential projects. The latest offerings included selling lands in Sheikh Zayed, 6th of October City, New Cairo as mixed-used projects; the land plots range in size between 20 to 150 acres.
How can new cities be turned into sustainable cities and conserve energy?
Alaa: We are coordinating with the National Authority for Urban Studies to apply modern power saving electricity methods to create green cities, including the use of LED street lights. There is a protocol currently being signed with the authority and NUCA about recycling construction wastes and using it once again for building materials.
What are NUCA’s future plans concerning land offerings?
Ragaa: NUCA is now offering lands at the Dar Misr project and public service lands. We also oblige any investor purchasing these lands to turn the plot into an energy-conserving project in an effort to create green cities by using solar energy.
How can NUCA prevent slums from spreading in new cities?
Ragaa: This is one of the aspects that the authority has spent a lot of time working on and coordinated with several authorities to study the prevention of slum spreading. In fact, the presidency had issued a presidential decree giving NUCA full authority to follow up on development at Obour City to prevent the spread of slums on Ismailia Road.
What is the progress on the Administrative Capital?
Alaa: We have finalized several buildings on site and infrastructure networks. We plan to work on the governmental and ministerial buildings during the upcoming period. Not all zones there will be ready by 2018, including the residences of R3 zone dedicated for high-end houses comprising around 10,500 units. As for transportation plans in the city, NUCA is studying how to connect the city with external roads as the authority is currently developing several roads connecting the city with the Ain Sokhna Road, Suez Road, and Ring Road.
What are the updates on New El Alamein City?
Alaa: Facilities are now under construction, along with roads and pathways on the beach that will be finalized in June. There is also a social housing project that is being developed south of the city that includes 28 residential buildings, and other social housing project tenders were assigned to two contractors. Further development includes the extension to North Coast road that will spread on 38 km that is being developed by Arab Contractors and meets crossroads with Wadi El Natrun Road.
What are the updates on Dar Misr Project?
Ragaa: Dar Misr is considered a high-end gated community. However, we are not selling units now until we settle on pricing through several studies due to recent economic changes in avoidance of offering overpriced or underpriced homes.
What is NUCA’s transportation plan in the new cities?
Alaa: A roads network is being developed, such as a fast tram connecting new cities with the rest of the country. The transportation ministry will work on executing an external transportation network as well–for example, connecting 6th of October City with Giza, and linking New Cairo with Abassiya. NUCA will also develop plans with the ministry regarding inner transportation networks.
Has the Bait Al Watan project proven its success thus far?
Alaa: The lands offered in Sheikh Zayed, New Damietta have been delivered while New Cairo has witnessed some obstacles in delivery that we are currently working on overcoming. Other offerings were made in 6th of October City, Borg El Arab, and New Minya. A new offering is currently being prepared to take place in New Cairo.
How does NUCA plan to develop industrial zones in the country?
Alaa: A cooperation protocol has been signed between the Industrial Zone Authority and NUCA, with the authority and the Ministry of Trade held responsible for selling and allocating lands in these areas.
What are the plans for Suez Canal region in the 2050 vision?
Alaa: A water treatment plant is currently being developed in East of Port Said City.
How does NUCA plan to develop Upper Egypt?
Alaa: The authority will focus on social housing projects, developing facilities, water projects, electricity projects, as well as finalizing basic foundations including water treatment plants, water projects, and rural sanitations.
What are the latest updates on the new cities?
Ragaa: Developments are being commenced on Toshka City, New El Alamein City, East Port Said City, and the new Administrative Capital City. We had previously been working on new cities such as West of Assiut, and West of Qena.
Egypt previously retrieved lands from investors in Aswan for not constructing anything on the lands, how does NUCA deal with such cases to preserve the buyer’s and the state’s rights?
Ragaa: The authority’s board has provided Upper Egypt a full additional year for investors with similar cases to issue their permits and start construction. If these cases happen again, the land buyer receives the refund following the retrieval of state lands. Upper Egypt currently suffers from declining tourism inflows; therefore, a one-year extension was granted for construction and achieving development projects unlike other governorates and cities given a six-month period for construction.
What is the status of NUCA’s partnership projects?
Ragaa: We had previously offered eight land plots for partnership projects as a first-time trial and due to high turnout requests, we increased it to 20 offerings. The priority goes to investors providing a down-payment in foreign currency–the projects range from compounds to public services.
Alaa: In the first partnership project, we offered two land plots measuring 500 acres each in New Cairo and were appointed to Palm Hills and Mountain View, while Al Arabiya for Investment has been appointed lands in Sheik Zayed.
NUCA was established under law 59 for 1979, aiming to reallocate Egypt’s population in new areas, attract investors to new cities, preserve agricultural lands, and provide homes for lower-income citizens.