By Nada Adel Sobhi
Recently, the Egyptian government has prioritized plans designed to boost the real estate, hospitality, and tourism sectors in the country. The real estate sector especially has been viewed as the most resilient in the face of the dwindling economic conditions the country has suffered from over the past five years.
Egyptians tend to hedge against inflation and a weakened currency by investing in real estate. “The investment culture in the domestic market classifies real estate and land investments as the safest investment sectors nowadays; most Egyptians consider investing in real estate, better than the stock market or buying gold under the globally and locally volatile prices,” Tarek Shoukry, Chairman of Arabia Group said, commenting on the trend.
Investment in the sector has been positively feeding over this cultural trend, with the combined investments of the public and private sectors reaching EGP 6.58 billion ($741 million) in the property market during the previous fiscal year, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Development.
Unlimited to Cairo, the current boom in Egypt’s real estate sector has extended throughout the entire country, including the North Coast.
Around ten projects have been unveiled recently along the North Coast, promising sound investment and ample vacation time.
Palm Hills: Hacienda White
Palm Hills Development (PHD) announced an investment target of EGP 2 billion ($225.6 million) in 2016. The money will be used to complete the company’s ongoing 12 projects, five of which are in east Cairo, five in west Cairo, and two in the North Coast – Hacienda White 1 and 2– all of which are scheduled for delivery before the end of 2018.
PHD’s Hacienda White 1 on the North Coast “is fully prepared to host visitors this summer,” Tarek Abdel Rahman, co-Chief Executive Officer told the Daily New Egypt, noting that his company will complete the Hacienda White 2 and Hacienda Bay projects by the end of 2018.
PHD, the second-largest listed property developer in Egypt, also said that its three Hacienda projects (Hacienda Bay, Hacienda White 1, and Hacienda White 2) were expected to accommodate an average of 3,400 households, according to the company’s official website.
This portfolio of the North Coast properties exemplifies a unique architectural fusion of styles, with chalets and luxury villas overlooking the sea, the golf course, or green parks. Unit spaces vary between 150 square meters and up to 600 square meters.
The company offers six different types of properties: Villas, Junior Chalet, Senior Chalets, Standalone, Twin, and 3 in 1.
Crystal Lagoons: Bo Islands
In February 2016, Crystal Lagoons announced its plans to build the largest crystal lagoon in North Africa, Bo Islands waterfront development, in Egypt’s North Coast.
Located on the Alexandria-Marsa Matrouh road, the tourism and residential community is set to cover an area of more than 10 million square meters with a total investment cost of around EGP 16 billion ($1.8 billion), according to a statement by the company.
“This will be our largest North Africa project to date, with 32 hectares of crystalline lagoons, which once completed, will be the largest manmade lagoon in the region,” said Carlos Salas, according to Crystal Lagoons Regional Director for the Middle East.
The top official revealed that the first phase of the project represents 10% of the total area and will cost an estimated EGP 4 billion ($455 million). It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
Bo Islands will host 1,115 standalone villas and chalets, along with two luxury waterfront hotels offering 300 guestrooms, and a variety of five-star services including restaurants, health and fitness facilities, alongside a waterfront retail and an electronic tram system.
The company offers three types of villas: townhouses, two- and three-bedroom chalets. Designs have been carried out by the Spanish architectural company HCP.
Tatweer Misr: Fouka Bay
Fouka Bay is Tatweer Misr’s newest project in Ras Al Hikmah, North Coast. The project spans over 800 meters of white sandy beach, and offers both villas and chalets.
The whole design scheme revolves around the concept of Contemporary Simplicity; an understated luxury emphasizing pure shapes and subtle design, positioned amongst immaculately landscaped gardens, spacious pool areas and tranquil walkways, according to the company statement.
“The company will inject EGP 500 million ($56.4 million) worth of investments through IL Monte Galala and Fouka Bay projects in 2016,” Tatweer Misr Managing Director, Ahmed Shalaby, told Daily News Egypt.
The first phase of the private gated-community, which includes 155 units, is scheduled for delivery within three years, the top executive revealed, noting that the second stage, which includes 500 units, will be offered during the 2016 summer.
Fouka Bay project is implemented in four phases over a total of five years with investments amounting to EGP 1 billion ($112.8 million).
PACT Real Estate: White Bay
PACT Real Estate, a new developer in the Egyptian property scene, is currently working on its White Bay development located in Sidi Heneish, in the North Coast.
The ambitious project boasts smart homes, water activities, cafes and restaurants, a club house, crystal lagoon, business centre, hospitality services, a kids’ park, indoor heated pool, international spa, a sports complex and an on-beach fitness arena.
The company announced its plan to invest EGP 1.7 billion ($192 million) over a 10-year period in its projects, according to a company statement, not specifying how much will be invested in the North Coast project.
White Bay includes standalone villas, twin and town houses, junior and superior chalets along with PACT’s signature sky villa, all of which are described as “spacious retreats” for the summer in the North Coast, according to the company.
The White Bay project is scheduled for delivery in 2018, according to Cityscape Egypt’s website.
Abraj Misr: The Shore
The Shore development will be built with initial investment of EGP 1.5 billion ($169.2 million), according to company Chairman, Aly Rabie. The project is located in Ras El Hekma Bay at the 186km mark on the Alexandria-Matrouh road.
In 2016, Abraj misr announced signing construction contracts worth EGP 300 million ($34 million) to carry out additional works on the project.
The project will be built on an area of 180 acres and will bring about a total of 2,000 units, Commercial Director, Tarek Bahaa, told Amwal Al Ghad.
Abraj Misr has promoted 15% of the project’s total units adding that the company has inked a deal worth EGP 100 million ($11.3 million) with Mena for Engineering Consultation & Development.
The project includes a wide range of residential buildings designed on high terraces, in addition to four residential neighborhoods designed in accordance with international quality standards. It also comprises of various types of residential units to meet all the needs and tastes.
SODIC: La Plage de Caesar
La Plage de Caesar is located on the North Coast at the 200 km mark from Alexandria, 340km from Cairo via the Alamein Road. Project operation is expected to begin in 2016.
“We launched the first phase of the Caesar project and [have] started implementation of the second phase; we will launch its marketing in next summer,” SODIC’s Managing Director, Maged Sherif, told Daily News Egypt.
The first phase of the project includes 180 units, while the second, and final, phase covers an area of around 100 acres and consists of 75 units.
Through its North Coast project, SODIC will target clients who seek elegance, serenity, spaciousness, customization, and a high class community.
Misr Italia: Mousa Coast
Misr Italia Holding Company, the developer behind Mousa Coast which overlooks the Red Sea, announced its plan for a similar project in the North Coast.
Board member, Mohamed Hany Al Assal, told Daily News Egypt that his company was planning a mega investment of no less than EGP 20 billion ($2.3 billion) in the North Coast. Project preparations, he said, were set to begin in early 2016.
No details have been revealed in regards to the exact location of the project.
Wadi Degla: Blumar Sidi Abdel Rahman
Blumar Sidi Abdel Rahman resort covers an area of 273,211 square meters, of which 119,380 square meters are for the buildings, comprising of 914 rooms, company Chairman, Maged Helmi, to Daily News Egypt, adding that the project was launched in 2008 and achieved a sales rate of 89%.
The project entails a variety of utilities and services including several swimming pools, café and restaurant, spa and fitness centre, catering and hotel services for residents.
In March 2015, Travco Properties announced plans to increase its investments in its Almaza Bay project in the North Coast by adding two five-star hotels and 2,000 residential units to its current portfolio in the project which includes five hotels and 400 residential units.
The Travco Group subsidiary revealed that Almaza Bay was its flagship development in the North Coast and that it is located 38km from Marsa Matrouh.
Mountain View: Ras El Hikma
Using a Greek community design, Mountain View North Coast is located in Ras El Hikma and is 40km away from Al Alamein airport. The project named “Greek Island” is built on 121 acres of land, and offers a variety of chalets.
Total investments in the Dar Al Mimar Group-owned (DMG) project amount to EGP 25 billion, according to the company’s Chairman, Wael Lotfy, who revealed that the first stage of the Greek Island will cover an area of 70 acres, and will be implemented under the supervision of the Dar Al Mimar Architects (DMA).
The abovementioned companies are planning to invest a combined total of over EGP 71.7 billion ($8.12 billion) in Egypt’s North Coast alone. With many of the projects announced and some scheduled to begin sometime this year. Most deliveries are expected to be within the next few years. The only exception is the Fouka Bay project, for which the first phase is set to launch in the summer of 2016.
The ambitious projects are expected to provide various forms and levels of luxury and entertainment, including the largest crystal lagoon in North Africa and a Greek-style community. Furthermore, the companies aim to help North Coast-goers enjoy peace of mind and new experiences before the shores of the Mediterranean, while at the same time giving an opportunity for long-term safe-haven investments.