Interview with
Dr. Ahmed Al Kulli,
CEO of Emaar Middle East

Emaar Properties, although a relative newcomer in the Saudi real estate market, is by no means an unknown in the sector, region and even worldwide. Projects as the Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai) – the highest tower in the world, the Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world, or Emirates Hills – the most exclusive and luxurious estate of the UAE - illustrate the company's motto: 'Everything we do is the biggest in the world'. 
Emaar Properties, which survived the Dubai real estate bust by diversifying in timely fashion into retail, financial services, hospitality and even education and health care, only came to the KSA in 2005.


Headquartered in Dubai, the company's Saudi Arabian branch is led by Ahmed Al Kulli, CEO of Emaar Middle East. “Emaar Middle East (EME) is one of the subsidiaries of Emaar Properties registered in Saudi Arabia as a limited liability. It is a strategic joint venture established between two large regional real estate players in the Kingdom and in the UAE, Al Oula Real Estate Development Company KSA with 39 percent and Emaar with 61 percent respectively,” explains Al Kulli.

Since its inception in the market, Emaar Middle East has been working in three big projects in three prestigious locations on what they call 'affordable luxury'. As the first to introduce in the kingdom the concept of gated communities and master planning their three projects are the Jeddah Gate (SR 6 billion), Khobar Lakes (SR 4.6 billion) and Emaar Residences at the Fairmont Makkah.

“We are introducing to the Saudi market huge master planned projects and developing massive real estate land with all elements that people need. A mixed-use development where you can find leisure, residential units, commercial spaces, offices and community amenities,” says the newly appointed EME´s CEO.

Emaar master planned communities rang from high to mid rise developments but they are all located in expensive locations, notably the Makkah Residences which overlook the Holy Mosque but also the Jeddah Gate project or the villas of Khobar lakes built in a landscaped area comprising artificial lakes and golf courses “making the desert bloom” in the city of Al Khobar, Eastern Province.

“We are about to finalise the infrastructure for Jeddah Gates and the first complex, A4 project Hilal part of Jeddah Gate. If you go to Khobar it is almost the same. We have started the process of handing over and have invited some of our clients to come and inspect their houses prior to the final handover. This experience –underlines Al Kulli- will spread the word of mouth of seeing something real, tangible. The market, he says, was used to a lot of bad experiences and there are few developers in the region that can deliver Emaar quality and style.”

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