Forbes Middle East revealed the region’s biggest listed and unlisted real estate companies

More than 200 business leaders, experts and government representatives gather for an inaugural event to discuss the future of property

Forbes Middle East revealed the region’s biggest listed and unlisted real estate companies
  • E. Marwan Ahmed Bin Ghalita, CEO of RERA, says “happiness is the key word for trust and innovation.”
  • Forbes Middle East unveils its Top 100 Real Estate Companies 2019.
  • 18 leaders in real estate, construction and property technology are awarded.

Dubai: Forbes Middle East revealed the region’s biggest listed and unlisted real estate companies at an event on Monday attended by nearly 200 entrepreneurs, industry leaders and government officials. The half day forum, which was hosted under the patronage of H.E. Marwan Ahmed Bin Ghalita, CEO of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), also provided a platform to debate the current state of the real estate sector. The event hosted three panel discussions, with experts discussing the development of affordable housing, the creation of sustainability through smart cities, and how legal frameworks are empowering creative investments.

As he delivered the keynote speech, H.E. Marwan Ahmed Bin Ghalita explained how Dubai Land Department was working to transform Dubai, revealing the three pillars that has helped make it successful: trust, innovation and happiness. “It’s not just a matter of building a new building but equipping it with the latest technology. This is what keeps people happy and happiness is the key word for trust and innovation,” he said.

Nadimeh Mehra, Vice President of District 2020, also took to the stage to present the U.A.E.’s vision for the Expo 2020 site once the megaevent comes to a close. She discussed the innovation and sustainability objectives behind District 2020. Around 80% of the assets being built for Expo 2020 will be repurposed. “We want to build a meaningful legacy that will live on for decades,” said Mehra.

Dr. Martin Berlin from PwC then led the first panel in a conversation about whether we are going far enough with affordable housing in the Middle East. “Affordable housing for me is the backbone of the economy. There is always room for improvement, but Dubai is moving in the right direction,” said Atif Rahman, Director and partner of Danube Properties.

Hassan Morshedy, CEO at the Memaar Al Morshedy Group, discussed the challenges in changing people’s perceptions of affordable housing. “Affordable housing comes mostly with the image that just because its affordable it means it’s cheap or it’s not well maintained or the design aspect of it wouldn’t look that good,” he explained. “This is something that we really try and work on is that how can you make affordable housing a good investment opportunity for the people who are buying it, how can you make it sustainable and how can you add design aesthetics to it.”

The second panel, led by Marwan Aboudib from Tekuma Frenchman, delved into how sustainability can be embraced through smart cities. “Ultimately a smart city is made up of smart buildings. Smart buildings are fundamentally made up of buildings with energy management systems and many different sensors connected,” said Caspar Herzberg from Schneider Electric.

“Smart cities are becoming healthy cities,” he continued. “Where you feel good being in its building, where the airflow, the humidity, temperature everything is exactly right and very energy efficient.”

The last panel for the day questioned how new legal frameworks are empowering creative investing. “I would really emphasize the fact that opportunities that are being very limited now within the region and maybe in the whole universe are on the other hand getting bigger and bigger within the Saudi market,” said ENG. Sami Abdulaziz Al Makhdoub, CEO at Knowledge City Economic.

The event ended with a glittering award ceremony honoring the industry leaders. Winners were carefully selected by RERA and Forbes Middle East. The awardees were:

  • Best Developer - Aldar Properties
  • Best Master Developer - Jabal Omar Development Company
  • Best Sustainable Developer - Masdar City
  • Best Commercial Developer – Mabanee
  • Best Integrated Development - Emaar, The Economic City
  • Best Hospitality Developer - RAK Properties
  • Best Residential Developer - Memaar Al Morshedy
  • Best Affordable Housing Developer - Danube Properties
  • Best Luxury Developer - Sobha Realty
  • Best Waterfront Development - GFH Properties
  • Best Retail Developer - Alandalus Property Company
  • Best Mixed-Use Developer - Knowledge Economic City
  • Best Sports and Lifestyle Developer - Dubai Sports City
  • Bets Real Estate Agency - fäm Properties
  • Best Property Portal - Bayut
  • Best Technology in Real Estate - Bloom Holding
  • Best Contractor - Naresco Contracting
  • Best Consultant - Design - National Engineering Bureau

The forum was held on November 18, 2019, at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai. It was hosted in partnership with Danube Properties as Title Partner, MEMAAR Al Morshedy as Platinum Partner, Schneider Electric as Sustainability Partner and Patchi as preferred Chocolate Partner.

About Forbes Middle East

Forbes Middle East is a licensee of Forbes Media and extends the Forbes brand of journalism across the Arab world. Forbes Middle East's distinctive editorial style attracts a readership of Arab leaders, entrepreneurs, C-level executives, government officials and investors united by a belief in the spirit of free enterprise and entrepreneurial values. 

Across the region, Forbes Middle East sets the pace for preemptive business journalism. By uncovering trends and anticipating opportunities in the regional marketplace, each monthly issue brings top executives the information critical to their success – in both Arabic and English language editions. The magazine researches and publishes original rankings, based on methodologies set by Forbes Media.

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