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‘Ghaf Woods is more than just a new community,’ says Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ Ahmed El Shamy

Unique Community Vision
  • Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ Ahmed El Shamy emphasizes that Ghaf Woods is more than just a new residential community.

The real estate arm of the Majid Al Futtaim Group has successfully launched mixed-use communities including Tilal Al Ghaf in Dubai and Al Mouj in Muscat. Majid Al Futtaim Properties and Sharjah Asset Management have also tied up to build Al Zahia in Sharjah. The large-scale community comprises villas, townhouses and apartments offering comfortable living, as well as neighbourhood parks spread across the development for recreation opportunities.

Ghaf Woods, a first-of-its-kind integrated community, prioritises indoor-outdoor living and sustainability. It features a lush environment that will provide 20 per cent cleaner air, exceeding World Health Organization standards for open space per resident by 40 per cent. The area is also home to more than 20 avian species.

Spanning over 738,000 square metres and located near Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, Ghaf Woods will be rolled out in eight phases by 2031.

The neighbourhoods within the development will be connected by forest paths, ensuring every resident is within a five-minute walk of any point in the community. Amenities include eight kilometres of walking trails, a 3.5-kilometre biking loop, resort-style pools, and fitness facilities.

The development will also integrate Distrikt, MAF’s signature multi-purpose neighbourhood hub, offering curated retail and farm-to-table restaurants.

We caught up with Ahmed El Shamy, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, at the launch to discuss the unique project, the developer’s plans and the sustainability strategy. Here are excerpts from the chat.

Ahmed El Shamy

Tell us how this new launch aligns with Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ overall vision.

This launch aligns perfectly with our vision as a unique lifestyle developer. We’ve built a strong ecosystem that combines retail experiences (shopping malls), hospitality experiences (hotels), and entertainment options (Vox Cinemas) – all offered alongside Carrefour stores. We believe this comprehensive approach sets us apart.

We offered this same lifestyle proposition to residents in our successful Tilal Al Ghaf project, and Ghaf Woods is a continuation of our commitment to real estate development.

What excites you most about Ghaf Woods?

Ghaf Woods is more than just a new community. First, it aligns with our overall focus on the GCC and North Africa regions, with a particular emphasis on the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Second, it embodies our pioneering spirit – just as we introduced the first ski resort in the desert and waterfront living in Tilal Al Ghaf, Ghaf Woods will be the first development in Dubai to offer “forest living”.

This project offers a unique opportunity to live amidst 35,000 trees. These trees will not only reduce soil erosion and conserve water but also offer shade, potentially lowering average temperatures by up to 5 degrees Celsius compared to the city centre.

These features are not only differentiators for us but also align with Dubai’s quality-of-life strategy and our sustainability goals.

Are you using sustainable materials in addition to creating a forest environment at Ghaf Woods?

Sustainability is ingrained in our DNA. We set clear science-based targets for sustainability and we’re embedding the latest technologies for power generation, water consumption and water recycling. We even utilise water from humidity and air conditioning condensation.

We mandate the use of sustainable materials and special living arrangements in our developments. We’re constantly looking for ways to minimise water usage and ensure optimal water supply for the trees.

How has the growing preference for community living influenced your approach?

Dubai has established itself as a global hub attracting families and working professionals. Developers need to differentiate themselves, and we focus on building strong communities through our unique ecosystem of retail, entertainment, and lifestyle offerings.

We go beyond just selling apartments – we provide customisation packages that allow residents to personalise their living spaces. This, combined with the sense of community and the indoor-outdoor fusion offered by Ghaf Woods, creates a truly special living environment.

Can you elaborate on the launch phases and timelines?

We’re launching Ghaf Woods in phases. Phase A consists of 1,000 units across two clusters, with construction starting in a few months. The first unit deliveries are expected in 2027.

The entire project encompasses 7,000 units and the strong initial interest has prompted us to explore accelerating the launch of phases two and three.

Can you give us an idea of the pricing?

Ghaf Woods will target the upper-mid-range market segment. We offer one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, including duplexes, penthouses, and ground-floor units with gardens. Our pricing will be competitive, and our units are slightly larger than the market average, offering additional value.

What can we expect from Majid Al Futtaim Properties in the future?

We’re constantly innovating and exploring new opportunities. Our team is actively pursuing additional land bank opportunities in Dubai and potentially entering the residential market in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

We’re also exploring expanding our residential properties’ presence in Egypt.

Can you share the core values that define the company?

Our core values are simple yet powerful: boldness, passion and togetherness. The beauty lies in how these values work together. Boldness is balanced by collaboration, and passion is fuelled by the freedom to express ideas. These interconnected values are the true DNA of our company.

As a leader, what values do you consider most important for success?

First is ownership. I believe everyone should approach their work with an owner’s mentality, taking responsibility for driving success. Second, resilience. We all face challenges, and the ability to bounce back is crucial. Finally, grit. Having people with perseverance and determination is essential for achieving our goals.

Source
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