Castle Development is looking to incorporate designs through customisable blueprints in its future plans that involve a more enjoyable and efficient living experience for its customers, according to CEO Ahmed Mansour.
Mansour told Daily News Egypt that his company always strives to keep up with the latest technologies and smart solutions across its products.
During the interview, he noted that the company aims to create integrated residential projects that combine innovative design, comprehensive services and a distinguished management infrastructure.
What innovative mechanisms and methods were introduced by your company to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
At first, there was this initial shock that took place on the construction front, but we managed to recover from it by implementing a clear plan that allowed us to assess the situation. It also ensured we implemented all precautionary measures that secure a healthy and safe environment for our employees.
Then, we put construction work across all sites on hold, and gave workers a fully paid two-week break, until we can secure a safe environment for them to resume work. Now, we are back at full capacity, and our construction progress currently stands ahead of schedule.
Moreover, the past few months have seen Castle Development sign a number of agreements with Allianz Insurance – Egypt, Orange Egypt, and Schneider Electric, with the aim of taking full advantage of modern innovations across different fields and incorporating them in our products.
Do you plan to make changes to your products to meet new needs?
Of course, so far, we have seen residents turning to backyard activities that involve the whole family, as well as roofs and balconies for relaxation and interactions with neighbours, so having an outside space is indispensable. We are planning to incorporate designs in our future plans that involve elements that make living indoors more enjoyable and efficient, by including customisable plans while inviting the outside in.
What new payment methods are you offering to encourage clients to buy, and boost sales?
We are constantly working to introduce plans that satisfy our target customers, and the current situation has offered both challenges and opportunities. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, our sales significantly increased, despite the challenges the entirety of the industry was dealing with as a reaction.
That spike was mainly the result of our decision to commit to the offers we promised during that time of year, where the Cityscape exhibition was set to take place, but was postponed on account of the outbreak. Now that the exhibition is returning in November, we are planning to provide buyers with another set of offers that cater to their varying needs and suit their plans.
We are also adopting a line-up of marketing mechanisms that rely heavily on e-marketing. This is to remain relevant and reachable to potential customers wherever they are during these times.
How did you use technology in pushing your business forward?
At Castle Development, we always strive to keep up with the latest technologies and smart solutions across our products. We aim for our residential projects to illustrate an integrated model that combines innovative design, comprehensive services and distinguished management of infrastructure. This is why we seek partners that excel in their respective fields and are able to help us develop the most valuable real estate product.
We have partnered with Schneider Electric, who will employ their innovative solutions to manage levels of energy consumption, as well as provide safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly products. Schneider Electric Egypt’s services will include electricity, HVAC, water, gas, data networks, data centres and traffic management. They are also involved in the security and command operation/control centre at Castle Landmark at the New Administrative Capital (NAC).
Another partnership that is set to tremendously add to our infrastructure is with Orange Egypt, who will supply units at Castle Landmark with the operator’s comprehensive Triple Play services. This includes the provision of landline, television and Internet services through one outlet based on fibre optic cables.
The agreement with Orange also includes highly sophisticated technologies that allow residents to remotely control devices, lighting, and door locks through applications, while installing systems that respond to break-ins and fire.
What are the most important opportunities due to the crisis?
Trust is what makes a winning real estate product, and it is what makes true success in real estate. I believe that this crisis allowed us as developers to evolve and pay even closer attention to our approach.
Two weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak, we signed an agreement with Allianz Insurance – Egypt, who will be covering all remaining instalments in case the owner, who purchased property from Castle Development, passes away. Consequently, the owner’s family members become legitimate heirs of that property without committing to paying off any remaining dues.
This protocol conclusively makes Castle Development the first real estate developer in Egypt to introduce insurance systems benefitting its customers. We made this decision at a time when we were a lot more certain than we are now, although it is one that I believe adds a new, higher level of trust between us and our customers. It also made us feel that we were on the right track all along.
In your opinion, what are the most prominent client’s needs after COVID-19?
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a major impact on future consumer preferences. While affordability will remain a priority, the demand for flexible units that accommodate a 24/7 presence in the home environment will, without a doubt, increase. Developers offering products that facilitate remote working, e-learning, and in-house entertainment, as well as a robust infrastructure, will sure climb the charts in terms of future sales. These elements are no longer regarded as luxuries, but integral parts of a functioning household, like bathrooms and kitchens.
What new types of real estate are urgently needed in the Egyptian market due to the health crisis?
I think there is more than enough space to accommodate more Medical Office Buildings (MOBs), a product that tremendously adds value to any residential project. Well-located MOBs, with the proper infrastructure that enables them to handle modern medical needs, will be in great demand sooner than we think.
Also needed is a connected infrastructure that delivers high-quality and efficient outcomes, and which must include medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services. These will bring together people (patients, caregivers, and clinicians), data (patient or performance data), processes (care delivery and patient support), and enablers (sensors and connected medical devices).
Our performance at Castle Development is built on the understanding of the market. The demand for office, retail, and medical real estate has been seeing immense growth, even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Population growth and the need for medical spaces offering open-plan layouts, while maintaining the required distance between patients, will result in higher health spending. So, the sector is projected to experience a steady growth after the COVID-19 crisis is over.