Saudi giga-project ROSHN anticipates substantial growth in the real estate sector in 2024 amid the prevailing confidence in the robust Saudi economy.  

The company has already achieved impressive results, having sold over 7,100 residential units to date, and these numbers will keep rising, according to Yassen Kattan - Head of Strategy & Corporate Affairs, ROSHN.

ROSHN has embraced eco-conscious practices across all its projects, incorporating advanced technologies such as high-tech insulation, solar water heaters, and efficient air-conditioning systems, he told Zawya Projects.

“As a result, ROSHN housing units achieve high energy and water savings of 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively, surpassing the standard set by the Saudi Building Code,” Kattan said. 

Furthermore, the developer is committed to sustainable practices, including the promotion of local sourcing of materials, the reuse of construction elements, and a strong emphasis on recycling in the construction process and residential waste management. 

“Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for us; it’s a foundational principle that permeates every aspect of our operations,” the ROSHN executive emphasised.

Yassen Kattan - Head of Strategy & Corporate Affairs, ROSHN.
Yassen Kattan - Head of Strategy & Corporate Affairs, ROSHN.
Yassen Kattan - Head of Strategy & Corporate Affairs, ROSHN.

Excerpts from the interview

Being part of the PIF giga-project portfolio, how ambitious is ROSHN’s plan to become a national champion?

As a PIF-powered giga project, our plan is both nationwide in scope and highly localised at times.

At a macro level, we are committed to becoming a national champion for Vision 2030’s ambitious goals. We will contribute to the goal of 70 percent homeownership by 2030, building nationwide to create vibrant communities and developments in nine cities across four regions. In total, we aim to build over 400,000 units, with the capacity to offer homes to 2.2 million residents. 

In this regard, we are already the first giga-project to deliver [units] to customers, with residents of the first phase of our SEDRA community in Riyadh moving into their homes in 2022. We have launched five communities in three regions, with more to come. Our massive, mixed-use development pipeline also includes over 700 public health facilities, 1,000 schools, 700 mosques, 2 million square metres of retail space and 5 million square metres of commercial office space.

At ROSHN, we also want to be a national champion of standards: This year, we became the first developer in the GCC to secure ISO 9001 Quality Management; we became the first company in India, Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (IMETA) region, the third in the private sector globally, and one of the top 20 organisations around the world to achieve the British Standards Institute (BSI) Kitemark for Smart Cities. 

This year, we have achieved five other ISO certifications, covering governance, risk management, customer satisfaction, and complaints management. We also became the first Saudi giga project to join the United Nations Global Compact on responsible business practices.

We are also aiming to be a national champion for the economy with a goal of boosting national GDP by SAR312 billion and creating up to 388,000 jobs by 2030. We are also boosting local businesses by partnering with local suppliers, bringing Saudi businesses into major projects and empowering them with new opportunities. 

For example, we recently signed three commercial partnerships with local businesses - PC Marine Services, Saudi Abyat, and Saudi Pan Kingdom Company – totalling over SAR1.530 billion and covering everything from major infrastructure to kitchen fittings. These partnerships help us establish strong and sustainable supply chains, help maximise the Kingdom’s retention of capital, reduce the risk of external shocks, and diversify domestic investment. 

At a local level, we also champion Saudi Arabia’s culture and heritage across our developments. For example, our SEDRA and WAREFA communities draw on heritage architectural styles of their local contexts using modern materials and techniques. 

We are even championing modern Saudi culture by sponsoring and supporting key national cultural events that improve quality of life in line with Vision 2030. These include the ROSHN Saudi League (RSL), the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from 2021, and the Diriyah Biennale Foundation’s “Islamic Arts Biennale: First House Exhibition” earlier this year. At an even more local level, our YUHYEEK Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative is leading a range of initiatives across community development, culture and arts, and healthcare that are boosting quality of life.

What is the gross development value of the projects launched by ROSHN to date?

While I cannot provide exact figures currently, especially as many of our projects continue to evolve with our phased delivery strategy, our measure of value goes beyond mere numbers. At ROSHN, the real metric of success is our ability to seamlessly integrate quality, sustainability, and efficiency – all hallmarks expected from a venture of PIF’s calibre. 

How do you define affordable housing in KSA?

For us, affordability is synonymous with pioneering a new way of living. It’s about crafting unparalleled developments that blend excellence, sustainability, and smart innovation. Every design detail, green space, and amenity is a testament to our commitment to creating integrated living experiences. Remarkably, while pushing the boundaries of contemporary urban living, we offer all that, and our prices remain within the average range of the Saudi market, redefining the essence of affordability for many. 

What is your outlook on the Saudi real estate market in 2024?

Looking back, 2022 stands as a testament to our dedication and capability, where we achieved an impressive gross sales revenue of SAR6.6 billion. As we transitioned into 2023, our trajectory continued to rise, marked by strategic expansions and our ability to navigate into emerging market segments and asset classes. 

Peering into 2024, we’re filled with enthusiasm. We anticipate robust growth for our enterprise and a vibrant surge in the broader Saudi real estate sector, all underpinned by the prevailing confidence in the robust Saudi economy.

Will ROSHN foray into other GCC/Middle East countries?

At this juncture, our commitment remains firmly rooted in Saudi Arabia, serving its citizens and residents, its flourishing economy, and the ambitious Vision 2030. That being said, we’re not averse to international endeavours. Should opportunities arise that resonate with our foundational principles and objectives, we stand ready to lend our specialised expertise. We would aim to sculpt sustainable, vibrant, and community-centric developments that could redefine urban living in other markets.

How has ROSHN’s performance been up to August 2023 regarding project launches and sales? Were your set objectives achieved?

Up to this point, 2023 has been a landmark year for us. Our project launches have not only been significant but have also witnessed overwhelming interest and reception from our target audience.

Our flagship MARAFY community, adjacent to our Alarous project in Northern Jeddah, stands out with its vast expanse covering 6.8 million sqm. Upon completion, it promises to cater to over 130,000 residents within more than 52,000 homes. A remarkable feature is the 11km canal, tying MARAFY directly to the Red Sea, enhancing both its aesthetic appeal and functional connectivity. The Jeddah Piers district, woven into MARAFY, offers a dynamic hub for creatives and professionals, ensuring work, leisure, and connectivity are interlinked.

Our SEDRA community in Riyadh has echoed this success, with its initial phases already snapped up. We anticipate unveiling more development phases soon. Close on its heels is the WAREFA community, set to amplify Riyadh’s bustling Al Janadriyyah district with its array of residential unit types.

Broadening our horizons beyond residential domains is the SAR2 billion acquisition of ROSHN Front, previously known as Riyadh Front. Perfectly complementing SEDRA, ROSHN Front promises to bolster the region’s economic landscape, creating many opportunities for budding entrepreneurs and startups.

Further emphasising our commitment to innovation and customer experience, we’ve taken a leap into the digital realm by introducing our comprehensive online real estate platform. With immersive maps, transparent pricing, and robust digital solutions, we aim to revolutionise the property buying process, reflecting our continual drive to marry technology with an enhanced quality of life for our clientele.

In terms of sales, the distinctiveness of our projects makes them highly sought after. As of now, we’ve successfully sold over 7,100 units, and I am confident that, even as we converse, these numbers are on the rise on our dashboard.

How are you incorporating green/ sustainable solutions in your projects?

ROSHN is pioneering sustainability in mainstream development with a comprehensive agenda that spans our internal operations to the intricate elements of our community developments.

Our unwavering commitment to sustainability has culminated in our ALFULWA and WAREFA communities being bestowed with the Diamond Mostadam sustainability accolade, the most prestigious in Saudi Arabia.

However, sustainability for us is more than just structures and systems. It’s about cultivating holistic, people-centric communities. With walkable streets, residents find essential amenities within a short 15-minute walk, reducing their dependency on cars and subsequently diminishing emissions. Furthermore, our green micro-mobility solutions, including bicycles and e-scooters, offer sustainable alternatives for transportation within our communities. And for those looking beyond our confines, we’ve integrated robust public transport connections and both public and private EV charging points, reinforcing our dedication to green mobility.

Our master planning goes further, harmoniously merging community design with nature. By preserving the natural landscape, we uphold ecological balances and indigenous habitats. Our green spaces and tree-lined paths do more than just add aesthetic value; they foster a sustainable living environment, emphasising the use of native plants. Our recent launch of 93 innovative planting initiatives showcases our continuous effort. 

(Reporting by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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