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Gulf Capital and Gulf Related Launch Sr 1 Billion Residential Real Estate Development In Riyadh to Capitalise On The Substantial Housing Boom In Saudi Arabia

Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative investment firms in the Middle East, announced today its formal entry into the Saudi Arabian residential market and the launch of an ambitious SR1 billion investment programme in this sector through its real estate development arm, Gulf Related. Gulf Related is the joint venture between Gulf Capital and Related Companies, the largest privately owned real estate development firm in the US. The development involves a multi-million dollar world-class residential compound in Riyadh which is timely and will fill the acute shortage in residential housing in the Kingdom. Studies show that there is a huge demand for housing units in Saudi Arabia, projected at 1.3 million residential units over the next seven years. This is largely being driven by domestic demand with Saudis Nationals making up more than two-thirds of the population. However, demand for housing and other services from expatriate sources have increased rapidly over the last 3 years with a surge in expatriate population by more than 20%. Riyadh’s expatriate community in particular, which already stands at approximately two-fifths of the city’s population, is forecasted to grow by 6% per annum and is expected to reach 2.8 million by 2015. This in addition to historically limited expatriate residential compound units on the market, currently around 13,500, translates into no vacancies and waits lists in excess of 1 year which is ultimately having an upward trend on rental rates and therefore presents a very attractive opportunity for an experienced developer such as Gulf Related to capitalise on. As such, Gulf Capital has acquired two strategically-located plots of land, totaling an area of almost 300,000 square meters where the project will be built. The plots are located in the growing North Western part of Riyadh on the Salboukh Highway. The new development will be conveniently located about ten minutes from King Abdullah Financial District and twenty minutes from King Khalid International Airport. The first phase of the project will consist of a residential compound which will be built on the first 157,000 square meters plot, and is expected to be completed by early 2015. 450 residential units will be built in the first phase in a lush landscaped environment that will enjoy first-class facilities. Modern infrastructure, abundant landscaping and greenery, a world-class road network and top communal facilities will position the new compound as the preferred residential development in Riyadh. Gulf Related has appointed award-winning international master planners, architects, designers and landscapers to design and develop the unique residential community. Commenting on the launch of this ambitious project, Dr. Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital and Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related said: “We are proud to be launching this SR 1 billion marquee project in Riyadh to cater to the growing residential needs in the Kingdom. We have been studying the Saudi Arabian real estate market extensively and have concluded that there is significant demand for residential compounds in Riyadh. Studies suggest that there is currently a shortage of over 100,000 units of residential facilities for expatriates in the Capital. Gulf Related, our real estate joint venture, intends to cater for this growing need by launching one of the largest and most appealing residential compounds in Riyadh. This development is in line with our vision to pursue marquee real estate development opportunities across the region which will contribute significant, stable income to Gulf Capital and its shareholders.” Kenneth A. Himmel, President of Related Urban and Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related, added: “We are very excited to be part of this exclusive real estate development venture in Riyadh. Designed according to world-class standards, the project will be fashioned to offer the best amenities and lifestyle experiences for expatriates in the Capital. The exquisite design, lush landscaping, common facilities and ample road-ways will cover 40 per cent of the total area of the compound, providing a unique lifestyle for residents. The residential compound will focus on being a comfortable home to an expatriate audience living an urban lifestyle, enhanced by everything the modern city dweller demands in a contemporary cityscape. We have relied extensively on Related’s 40 years history in creating unique urban experiences that combine the energy and vitality of an urban destination with local lifestyle and culture and have called on the best global design talent to help us launch what we believe will become the premier residential compound in Riyadh.” Emile Habib, Managing Director of Gulf Related says: “The size of this project and the extent of our financial commitments reflect our strong belief in the residential sector in Saudi Arabia, which is poised to grow significantly in the coming years. This high-end residential compound, in the up and coming Salboukh area in North West Riyadh, is strategically located and will cater to the growing need for expatriate housing in the Capital. It reflects the sort of exclusive, high-end development ventures pursued in the years ahead by Gulf Related in the Middle East.”
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