Soulful Places – Walid El Hindi, CEO of IMKAN Properties
Walid El-Hindi has over 20 years of professional experience in the Real Estate Development Sector. As the Chief Executive Officer of IMKAN Properties, he is responsible for the Global Real Estate Portfolio for the holding company, Abu Dhabi Capital Group. In addition, Walid holds the position of Chief Executive Officer for Capital Group Properties in Egypt, responsible for the Development of Alburouj, a fully mixed-use development with 25,000 residential units, Smart Village East Office park, and a major cultural hub.
His previous experience included working for AECOM and Elness Swenson Graham Architects. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Minneapolis Planning Commission Board, he served the city to establish its comprehensive plan. From 2002-2008, Walid taught Architecture as an Adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree.
IMKAN is an Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer with a portfolio of 26 projects spanning four continents and covering 30 million sqm in various development stages.
IMKAN’s proposition is built around a unique research platform that uncovers the distinct social behaviors and habits of specific market segments – from millennials to discerning high-net-worth individuals – to formulate tailored user profiles. This research-led approach enables the company to shape communities that are in tune with the mindset of each profile, thereby adding value for its stakeholders.
IMKAN is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Capital Group (ADCG). Its key projects include two developments in Makers District – The—Artery, a multi-use building that integrates a makers’ space with a parking garage, and Pixel, the company’s first mixed-use destination – as well as Nudra, a luxury beachside villa community, and Sheikha Fatima Park, an open-air project that seeks to enhance community interaction.
AlJurf, set in a prime location of existing natural beauty, along with the Sahel Al-Emarat Coast, is the perfect respite from city life and just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of both neighboring cities.
“Sahel Al Emarat, the UAE’s first Riviera destination, will soon start taking shape on a magnificent and preserved stretch of the coastline between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Promising an authentic and unparalleled cultural and tourism experience that pays homage to the UAE’s rich heritage, the first coastal development of its kind,” said Walid.
Scheduled for completion in 2021, AlJurf Gardens will be the first phase of the entire development. Comprising of 293 residential villas and land plots, AlJurf Gardens’ facilities and amenities include unique residential communities and serviced residences, a world-renowned wellness clinic, a private beach, a private marina, and community center all nestled amid abundant open spaces.
Walid said, “AlJurf serves residents wanting an escape from the hectic life on weekends, as well as those looking for an adjustment in their lifestyle completely. While offering a unique chance to appreciate the existing land, this second home development provides a new way of living; among a naturally scenic landscape on Sahel Al Emarat – the Riviera of the UAE.”
AlJurf Gardens harnesses a uniquely green environment featuring villas of four different architectural styles, designed by four globally renowned award-winning architects. Once complete, the 370-hectare destination will comprise of three distinct districts – AlJurf Gardens, Jiwar Al Qasr and Marsa AlJurf, each with its own defining architectural characteristics.
Reflecting on a vision cultivated by the founders of this nation, IMKAN is preserving the present ecosystem at AlJurf by creating a wildlife sanctuary aimed at protecting the land’s natural habitat. The fully integrated community is set to be a unique haven, where residents will also benefit from the conservation of the surrounding environment.
Just a short retreat from the UAE’s metropolises, the coastal destination offers residents and visitors the opportunity to relax and escape the hustle, bustle, stress of everyday life.
“AlJurf is the perfect place for a second home and a chance to reconnect with nature in your own slice of tranquility,” remarked Walid.
Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island, across from the cultural hub of Saadiyat Island, the development is making scheduled progress towards its completion timeline of Q4 2020.
The renowned local engineering and contracting firm Dutch Foundation has completed all 938 secants of shoring. Alongside, five meters of excavation work has also commenced within Pixel to accommodate two basements of approximately 22,000 square meters each, while piling works are set to be finished by February 2019. As per the schedule, the tender for the main works of Makers District will be awarded in Q1 2019 with the main contract currently targeted for completion by Q4 2020.
Walid said: “At IMKAN, we are committed to achieving timely milestones across our portfolio and Pixel is no exception. The development validates our priority to enrich the UAE’s residential and commercial landscape through setting a new benchmark for community-living.”
According to a UN report, 60 percent of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030 –an important factor in the planning of master developments like Pixel, which caters to buyers with a millennial mindset. The 18-hectare creative residential component of Makers District will transform urban living by providing residents the opportunity to be a part of a creative environment where innovation and interaction thrive.
Pixel, featuring seven towers comprising apartments, co-working office spaces, as well as food and beverage and retail elements surrounded by water features, is set to change the property landscape in the city by infusing a sense of creativity and well-being into everyday living.
IMKAN aims to expand its international and national footprint through unique projects that support and enhance local culture while seamlessly blending into the communities in which it operates.
Last year it was announced that there was significant progress on the construction of Nudra, a luxury development of 37 villas on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Located in Saadiyat’s Cultural District, the development is already over 20 percent complete and is well on track for a timely handover in July 2019.
The meticulously-planned 26,000 sq ft development plots along the beachfront are currently being graded and hoarded, ready for handover before year-end. Site offices are well-established and the first stage foundation work, including the bulk excavation, dewatering and the installation of over 1,500 piles, has been successfully completed. Furthermore, 11 out of the 32 villa basements are ready and five of the ground floor slabs already cast, with the remainder set to follow in quick succession.
IMKAN has also reported that the Jerusalem Limestone, which is to clad the external elevations, has been quarried and is now being cut and finished, with the first batch due to arrive at the site later this month. The building structures are already starting to rise above ground level, giving purchasers an increasing sense of the scale of these luxurious villas. The ‘shell and core’ finish will enable purchasers to fully customize their interiors.
The construction of the hillside retaining wall at the rear of the project is also now complete. This structure is designed to support the gentle rising hill that is located approximately six meters above the entrance level, providing villas at the rear with magnificent views of both the Arabian Sea and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Formation of the beach is also progressing well with completion forecast for February 2019.
“IMKAN is fast gaining a strong reputation in this market because of our ability to differentiate ourselves from our competitors through projects such as Nudra that bring the notion of place-making to life. We believe in building enriched communities and spaces that allow for human interaction – going beyond just providing housing. With Nudra, we are introducing a concept of customized fit outs (shell and core) while simultaneously setting new benchmarks for community-living. With its ability to offer bespoke properties that cater to the individual needs of customers, IMKAN’s developments have achieved high uptake among potential investors and end users,” said Walid.
Sheikh Fatima Park
In alignment with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which outlines a strategy for reduced reliance on the oil sector as a key source of economic activity over time, IMKAN is focused on strengthening the Emirate’s economic vision and in solidifying its footing as the region’s investment haven. Abu Dhabi is a world-class investment destination, offering a promising value proposition to businesses and investors alike with attractive returns and yields.
The park encompasses an area of 46,000m2, which is inclusive of an adventure zone, and a section devoted to women and children. The project’s timely commencement coincides with regional and global businesses increasingly looking towards Abu Dhabi for stronger investment opportunities.
The Park is strategically located at the corner of Al Bateen Street and Zayed the First Street, offering close to 10,000sqm of leasable space for businesses to provide their unique services in a picturesque setting. Avenues for collaboration and investments are available in commercial, retail and leisure segments. Food & beverage units, offices, and clinics are designed with the flexibility to expand and with the option of having terraces surrounded by park vistas and overlooking event plazas, green activity spaces and tranquil open lawns.
Walid remarked, “Sheikha Fatima Park will not only benefit the physical health and wellness of this community, but it is also a platform for businesses. We will be considering offers from groups that complement our ethos of creating soulful places that enrich people’s lives. Our research-led approach has enabled us to develop the ideal urban green space that will focus on promoting mental, physical and spiritual health equity, and we want the outlets who operate in Sheikha Fatima Park to promote these values.”