The head of one of Dubai’s fastest-growing business groups says residential developments offering a package of high quality services geared to the needs of end-users are the shape of things to come in a maturing UAE property market.
Safi Qurashi, CEO and Founder of Q Group, sees real estate entering a new era in which the most successful developers will be those adopting a longer term approach, and aligning projects with Dubai’s economic drivers of tourism, leisure and hospitality.
“We’re seeing a significant change in attitude as the real estate market here matures,” said Qurashi. “Projects are now more focused on a sustainable, long-term approach rather than the old one of build it, sell it and move on. Developers know they need to do more than just find a bunch of investors they can make money from, without thinking of the end-user. We as a group, and other developers, are now focusing more on properties from the viewpoint of the people who will live in them,” he added.
Set up by Qurashi two years ago, with property sales and leasing as its core business, Q Group now comprises seven companies, with operations extending from real estate brokerage, development and investment into facilities management, access solutions and security.
With a big recruitment drive under way, the group is now entering a new phase of expansion, including the launch of a five-star resort and residential destination on The World Islands, Dubai and establishment of an investment fund linked to major leisure, entertainment and hospitality projects. Q Development starts construction next month on a residential block at Dubai’s Jumeirah Village Circle, with another at Motor City awaiting final planning approvals. Both projects, and others in the pipeline, will take services for residents to a new level.
“We need to match their needs, not just build another apartment block with a gym and a swimming pool,” said Qurashi. “Service charges shouldn’t just be about cleaning the corridors and changing the light bulbs. We’re now seeing a significant change in attitude by developers. A lot more thought is going into what they build. Developers are also looking more closely at finances in order to make projects secure, rather than depending on pre-sales to finance them,” he added.
Qurashi said, “Developers can benefit by observing the vision of Dubai as laid out by its Ruler, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.” “If you align yourself with this vision, then you can grow with the city,” he said. “But you really need to understand where the city is going, and align yourself with its key economic drivers, like tourism, hospitality and leisure,” he added. “The investment fund we’ll be launching later this year will be aimed at those sectors in order to create very good opportunities for investors, and bring benefits for end-users,” he continued.
The group is the developer of Great Britain island on The World Islands, Dubai and will shortly be unveiling plans to turn the island into a resort featuring luxury hotels, private villas and water villas, hotel serviced apartments, an event and wedding venue, offshore restaurants and bars, and unique water-based experiences for people of all ages.
Looking towards significant growth across all group business sectors, Qurashi sees “huge potential” in particular for Q Avalon, a joint venture with the UK’s leading provider of fully integrated high access solutions.
The company uses highly skilled labour to work safely at heights, and its services are at premium in cities with growing skylines like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Recruitment is currently a big group priority. Safecage, which supplies ballistic protection equipment and associated security services from a secure advanced manufacturing and treatment facility in Ras Al Khaimah, will see its workforce grow from 100 to 250 in the next six months.
Meanwhile, the current Q Properties real estate sales team of 25 will double in size by year end.