Abdullatif Al Shelash started the flourishing real estate brand Alaqtar Real Estate Development Company with his brother and a friend, and the business has been focusing on growing and developing properties in cities, such as Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, where Abdullatif Al Shelash envisions a new cycle of real estate is taking place.
“It’s catered more toward middle income,” Abdullatif Al Shelash says of areas such as Al-Qassim and Buraydah. “And we’re doing it in a different method where meanwhile we’re doing infrastructure development, which is the electricity, water, pipelines, pavements, land leveling, and all of that, and dividing the plot and getting really the final approval and really the size of the plot.”
Buraydah is the capital and largest city of Al-Qassim region in north-central Saudi Arabia. Known for its burgeoning date industry, Buraydah was the backdrop for the Buraydah Date Festival in August.
“It’s north of Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], about 300 kilometers [about 186 miles] away from Riyadh,” Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash says. “[It’s] one of the most heavily populated areas in the middle of the country; it’s farming country. It serves all the inhabitants around it. Qassim province, you could say, has inhabitants more than Bahrain and Qatar combined, and yet there is no five-star hotel there. So it could tell you how underserved the real estate market is over there.”
In Buraydah, Abdullatif Al Shelash says Alaqtar worked on the Alaqtar Towers. According to alaqtar.com, it will be “ideal for integrated and modern residential communities, as it takes care of the smallest details, starting with the residential areas that exceed 2,000 housing units of various sizes, and the commercial centers that exceed 100 pieces to meet the needs of the family, in addition to the green spaces, government facilities, and mosques to give you this exceptional community a comfortable, quiet, and modern life.” The website also states that Alaqtar is selecting central locations with a high purchasing appeal that will offer reasonable prices.
“What sets us apart from other emerging companies is that our board members and executive team have over 35 years of combined experience in real estate,” alaqtar.com states. “This expertise has granted us the success of every project we have undertaken so far. A professional, qualified team is ready to take and manage the risks that come with the job, ensure on-time delivery, and target high returns.”
Abdullatif Al Shelash says he’s always had a knack for scouting out the next big area for real estate investment. He helped develop Parisiana Living, a multipurpose, high-end, family-oriented community in Riyadh offering two- to four-bedroom villas and recreational facilities with separate gyms for men and women, parks and playgrounds for children, and 24-hour security. Spanning a total area of 816,000 square meters and a built-up area of 1.2 million square meters, Parisiana Living offers public facilities on more than 53% of its total area.
The development is also located less than 30 minutes from Al Qiddiya, which is an entertainment dreamland packed with sports, art, and theme park attractions. According to qiddiya.com, Qiddiya is aiming to be an entertainment icon in the world with a focus on sports and wellness, the environment, parks, mobility, and culture. In addition to a water theme park, Qiddiya will also be home to Six Flags Qiddiya and feature the longest, tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world.
How Abdullatif Al Shelash’s Leadership Background Propels Alaqtar
Abdullatif Al Shelash has also long been a front-runner in the real estate industry and he also sits on the board of Saudi Home Loans. Abdullatif Al Shelash says having a clear strategy is another crucial element of being a high-performance leader in the business world. “You become a leader when you really have a clear vision of where the organization is going to go,” he says.
Abdullatif Al Shelash shares that he has a clear vision for Alaqtar and Saudi Home Loans, especially with mortgage loans rising in Saudi Arabia in the retail and corporate sectors, according to data from the Saudi Central Bank. Mortgage loans provided to retail and corporate clients by Saudi Arabia’s commercial banks rose in Q2 by 27% to SAR 638.26 billion (about $170 billion) from SAR 502.73 billion a year ago. Al Arabiya news channel also reports that within the next eight years, 70% of Saudi citizens are projected to own homes.
In addition to Buraydah, Abdullatif Al Shelash says Alaqtar is cultivating a worldwide mindset.
“We’re looking also at global investments, we’re looking at different markets, different opportunities globally,” he says.
The Rise of Riyadh Real Estate
Riyadh is another major regional real estate sector in Saudi Arabia.
Rani Majzoub, the head of real estate advisory at KPMG Professional Services, told zawya.com, “The residential market remained resilient during the pandemic, which can be attributed to strong demand fundamentals, and has witnessed a positive trend in [key performance indicators] in the first [half] of 2022.”
Abdullatif Al Shelash says Alaqtar continues to be an innovator in Saudi’s real estate scene and sees nothing but more growth for the area and funding continues to funnel into the region.
“I have been a developer in Saudi, and the market is more mature in encouraging the developers,” Abdullatif Al Shelash says.
Abdullatif Al Shelash has also been an investor in Saudi real estate. “I think my cash will be much better utilized somewhere else instead of really just putting it as equity in the house. Every home I bought have appreciated between 40% to 80%. Most of the appreciation is not attributed, of course, even these houses that I have bought been developed by small developers. Most of the appreciation did not come from the construction of the house or the building itself. It came from the land itself.”