United Development Company (UDC), one of the leading real estate giants in Qatar, is set to enter into new industry verticals aiming to diversify its investment portfolio and additional revenue stream for its shareholders.
The multi-billion dollar shareholding company, which is the master developer of the iconic man-made island ‘The Pearl-Qatar’ (TPQ), and the upcoming Gewan Island, adjacent to TPQ, is considering to invest in new sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing industries and some other businesses, said a top official of the company.
“In addition to expanding our operations within the real estate sector, we are also considering to enter in some new sectors such as agriculture as well as manufacturing industries,” UDC Chairman Turki bin Mohammed Al Khater told The Peninsula.
Al Khater added: “We are planning to develop some agricultural farms using the best available modern technologies to produce vegetables, fruits and other products. But we are still in the initial stages.”
The UDC Chairman also said that the company is discussing and in the process selecting potential partners who have the efficient technology, know-how and established expertise in modern farming.
Asked if the company will be developing green-house facilities and suing hydroponics and other systems, he replied in affirmative and added: “Yes, of course it will not be a traditional method of farming. We will deploy the cutting-edge technology to make farming affordable and sustainable.”
Commenting about UDC’s real estate projects outside The Pearl, he said that the company is discussing some opportunities but at the moment it doesn’t have anything concrete in hand to share details on the same.
“There are a number of projects that we are expecting to develop and execute outside The Pearl. Discussions are currently under process with the concerned authorities to undertake real estate projects at other districts within Qatar. Once we have something in our hands we will formally announce it,” said Al Khater.
He further explained that these projects are not part of the UDC’s proposed QR5.5bn cumulative investment plans for over the period of 2019-2023. Because these multi-billion riyal projects are already planned, which include the Qatar’s latest integrated Gewan Island next to The Pearl and other projects.
Gewan Island project spans across 400,000 square meters with a total built up area of 388,000sqm. Once completed, it will home to 712 units, including 639 apartments, 20 standalone villas, 26 water-front villas, 21 beach-front villas and six Island villas in addition to 11,000sqm of retail space. It will accommodate 3,500 residents and 3,000 daily visitors.
On the occupancy rate of The Pearl Qatar, Al Khater said that leasing for residential properties has increased over the last one year, and the number of people living in the island has also grown over the same period.
“The Pearl is still one of the most attractive areas where people prefer to come and live. We don’t have any problem with that (occupancy rates),” Al Khater said adding that the UDC believes that providing some additional amenities, such as school and healthcare services, will further help increase the occupancy. “We are very firm and optimistic about it, and the company is already in the process of developing them.”