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Envisioning The Future: Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, Senior Executive Vice Chairman, MAG Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, Senior Executive Vice Chairman of MAG, the real estate development arm of the MAG Group Holding, dreams to reshape the UAE's real estate market.

By Tamara Pupic

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, Senior Executive Vice Chairman of MAG. Source: MAG

For Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, Senior Executive Vice Chairman of MAG, the real estate development arm of MAG Group Holding, a UAE-based multinational conglomerate founded by his father Moafaq Al Gaddah in 1978, Dubai served as an inspiration for him to forge his own path within the family business. "Growing up in Dubai, I watched the city transform before my eyes, rapidly evolving into the global metropolis with its iconic skyline that it is today," he says. "My interest in the real estate sector grew steadily alongside it."

It was in 2012 that, with a university degree under his belt, Al Gaddah joined Invest Group Overseas, a property development arm of MAG Group Holding, as its Director of Sales and Marketing. "During my tenure, I spearheaded sales campaigns that resulted in an impressive US$408 million in revenue over 12 months, particularly for our Polo Townhouses and The Polo Residences developments in Dubai," he says. "I also played a pivotal role in diversifying our reach, notably by successfully launching The Gate in Frisco, Texas, USA. I oversaw every facet of this project, from inception to completion."

Then, in 2014, Al Gaddah assumed the role of CEO at MAG, which saw him take on the responsibility of steering the company's strategy that encompassed leadership over six critical departments- finance, project management, sales, marketing, administration, and legal. "Over the past nine years, my real estate portfolio has witnessed remarkable growth, now exceeding a valuation of $5 billion," he says. "My mission is to usher in a new era, attracting local and international investors. This endeavor involves crafting developments meticulously tailored to their unique needs, transforming their aspirations into tangible realities."

While MAG Group Holding operates in a number of sectors (real estate, freight, commercial sector, services and industrial sectors, contract engineering, and hospitality, to name a few), Al Gaddah has decided to specialize in the real estate sector, because he believes it's been on a rising curve, especially in the UAE. Today, MAG's interests range from luxury high-rise residential towers and vast multi-billion dollar communities to innovative real estate projects. "We've had a swift economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, buoyed by surging oil prices and forward-thinking government policies, particularly visa rule modifications aimed at drawing more investment," he notes. "Furthermore, the appetite for luxury properties among high-net-worth individuals and foreign inves- tors is anticipated to grow even stronger."

Among developers in the GCC region, MAG is recognized for its innovation, commitment to superior quality, and consistent delivery of high-value projects. This is evident in Keturah, a luxury well-being real estate and hospitality brand that Al Gaddah introduced in 2022. Keturah Resort comprises 177 residences across seven buildings and 12 mansions at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, located in Dubai Creekside. The whole development is valued at AED2.8 billion ($760 million). Al Gaddah envisioned the project as a sanctuary of wellness and luxury in the city, and it provides homeowners with a 180-degree view of the Dubai skyline as well as the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Keturah Resort is also the first development in the GCC to pursue a WELL Health-Safety Rating certification, an evidence-based third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and facility types.

Keturah Reserve Residential Building. Source: MAG

As for the 12 mansions, Al Gaddah explains that the exterior designs and interiors, which are symbolic of the elements of earth, water, and sky, create exceptional living experiences. "The spaces create harmonious journeys through covered terraces, framed by structures that encourage outdoor living, glass-framed courtyards, and adjustable architectural screens that elevate the the individual's interaction with insides and gardens," he adds. The development is also known for its use of tech to bolster its offerings. "In line with the government's proactive initiatives, we integrated cutting-edge technologies and eco-conscious practices within our operations and projects," Al Gaddah says. "Our emphasis on creating a sustainable and wellness-centric living environment aligns with evolving client demands and preferences, showcased prominently in our Keturah concept, which fuses luxury and well-being."

Following the successful launch of Keturah, MAG also announced the launch of Keturah Business Bay, a AED2 billion ($545 million) luxury tower. "We also announced the purchase of a plot in downtown Dubai to launch Keturah Downtown," Al Gaddah adds. "These two new Keturah launches confirm the huge demand for innovative, luxury and unique projects across the real estate sector."

Keturah Reserve Water Villa. Source: MAG

In 2022, MAG also launched the Keturah Reserve, a AED3 billion ($817 million) exclusive and innovative luxury residential development within Dubai's Meydan development, which compromises of 93 townhouses, 90 villas, 540 units over six apartment block buildings, and eight penthouse apartments. Keturah Reserve is unique for its "Bio Living" concept, which incorporates nature into the built environment to improve the physical, mental, and emotional health of its occupants. "Keturah Reserve is conceived to create a thriving and harmonious community with communal spaces such as The Park, the outdoor pool, women's and men's gyms, and spas," Al Gaddah explains. "The Park is the focal point of Keturah Reserve, a place to recharge and socialize, open 24 hours a day. Shaded by olive trees sourced throughout the world, The Park is for pedestrians of all ages, with Japanese foot massage mats, open air meditation, and exercise zones."

Just next to Keturah Reserve in Meydan is another of MAG's projects, MAG City, which comprises 904 residential units across studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments, as well as 694 townhouses constituting two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. "At MAG City in Meydan, 546 townhouses have been delivered, with another 688 units scheduled for completion by the end of the year," Al Gaddah says. "Over the last year, MAG successfully completed 2,000 units spanning three projects. The sales for Keturah Reserve and Keturah Resort exceeded AED4.1 billion. Meanwhile, MAG City brought in sales of over AED1.7 billion. In addition, MBL Royal Residence in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, a mixed-use luxury tower developed by MAG, had all its units sold within a mere 120 days, totaling AED735 million in sales. Another noteworthy accomplishment is MAG 22, a project of 22 townhouses, which has already sold out, and is set for completion by December 2024."

Keturah Reserve Kids' Playing Room. Source: MAG

With various monthly reports confirming the UAE's position as a mature and stable real estate market with steady and high returns, fueled by investor-friendly policies and regulatory changes such as the golden visa scheme, Al Gaddah believes that the sector is poised for further growth. "The UAE presents an unmatched ecosystem for luxury real estate enterprises," he says. "Its dynamic economy, strategic geographical position, and visionary leadership offer an ideal backdrop for fostering growth and innovation. While challenges are integral, stemming from regulatory shifts to market dynamics, our ability to swiftly adapt and nurture a resilient team capable of thriving under pressure has proven pivotal. To amplify the UAE's business-friendliness, streamlining permit procedures and incentivizing sustainable practices could attract global investors even more, and amplify the sector's expansion."

I close my interview with Al Gaddah by asking him what it takes to succeed as a real estate entrepreneur in the UAE, and he replies by first highlighting the importance of building a team that empowers each of its members to contribute their unique skills and insights. Then, he shares a more personal advice. "While I prioritize a strong work ethic, which involves a daily commitment to extended hours, I'm mindful of maintaining a healthy work-life balance; striking this equilibrium is crucial for sustained productivity and motivation," he says. "Success, to me, centers on continuous learning and adaptability. Given the dynamic nature of the real estate industry, embracing change, fostering innovation, and nurturing strong client and colleague relationships are essential strategies for staying ahead."

'TREP TALK: Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah's tips for entrepreneurs in the real estate sector
Embrace innovation

"Innovate or evaporate. I recall a time when we revamped a traditional project into a futuristic, eco-friendly one, and the market response was overwhelming."
Relationships matter
"Building strong relationships is invaluable. I've seen firsthand how a solid network can lead to unforeseen opportunities and collaborations."
Hold on to your values
"Uphold ethical standards in all dealings. A reputation for integrity builds trust, and it leads to sustainable success."
Resilience is key
"Challenges are steppingstones, not stumbling blocks. When facing adversity, our team's resilience and ability to pivot proved instrumental in maintaining progress."

Related: Gamechangers: Zad Co-Founders Abdulrahman Alkharafi, Abdullah Al-Ansari, and Abdullah Al-Otaibi

Tamara Pupic

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.

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