RE­VIV­ING A NEIGH­BOUR­HOOD

The win­ner of Qatar To­day Busi­ness Ex­cel­lence Awards for Best CEO, Eng. Ab­dulla Al Mehshadi of Msheireb Prop­er­ties, talks to us about his per­sonal and pro­fes­sional mile­stones in head­ing this multi­bil­lion dol­lar pro­ject to bring one of Doha’s old­est quarte

Qatar Today - - INSIDE THIS ISSUE -

The win­ner of the Qatar To­day Busi­ness Ex­cel­lence Award for Best CEO, Eng. Ab­dulla Al Mehshadi of Msheireb Prop­er­ties, talks to us about his per­sonal and pro­fes­sional mile­stones in head­ing this multi-bil­lion dol­lar pro­ject to bring one of Doha's old­est quar­ters into the new age.

We have seen the scale mod­els, com­puter ren­di­tions and skirted around the tan­ta­lis­ingly high cor­ru­gated sheets that keep ev­ery­thing dis­creetly out of sight. For years now we have been promised a re­fur­bished, new and im­proved dis­trict at the cen­tre of Doha, mod­ern yet with a Qatari soul. It's more than just a col­lec­tion of build­ings; it's meant to be the city's beat­ing heart. With ev­ery new an­nounce­ment that takes us closer to com­ple­tion, the ex­pec­ta­tions and ex­cite­ment reach fever pitch. The man be­hind the whole op­er­a­tion, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Eng Ab­dulla Al Mehshadi, finds him­self in­creas­ingly un­der the spotlight.

The ques­tion he is in­vari­ably asked is: What stage of con­struc­tion is Msheireb cur­rently in and is it on track? “We are on sched­ule and we are con­fi­dent it will be com­pleted on time. The best way to un­der­stand the progress we have made is to ac­tu­ally visit the de­vel­op­ment, and to see for your­self both its scale and the num­ber of build­ings that have ei­ther been com­pleted or are near­ing com­ple­tion. Al­ter­na­tively, you can view the var­i­ous time-lapse videos on our web­site. Then you can visit the Msheireb En­rich­ment Cen­tre which con­tains a de­tailed scale model of the de­vel­op­ment, and you will get a feel for how much progress has been made. In fact, we awarded a fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment con­tract to a lo­cal con­sor­tium, SNC-Lavalin, in Au­gust. More gen­er­ally, dif­fer­ent stages of each of the build­ings have been met, and con­tinue to be met on an al­most daily ba­sis,” he says.

For Eng Al Mehshadi, ex­cel­lence in all he does is a given. It has to be, for him to be able to nav­i­gate a pro­ject of this scale and com­plex­ity. Along with this, there are a few other things he con­stantly re­minds him­self. “Do not be daunted by any chal­lenge. Plan care­fully be­fore ex­e­cu­tion. And com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively and regularly with ev­ery­one to whom you are en­trust­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he says. He and his team are un­der no il­lu­sions about the com­plex­ity of the pro­ject, he says. “Given the scale of what we are try­ing to achieve and how much it will rep­re­sent the tra­di­tions and val­ues of Qatari cul­ture, while also meet­ing its sig­nif­i­cant sus­tain­abil­ity as­pi­ra­tions, Msheireb Down­town Doha (MDD) rep­re­sents a ma­jor chal­lenge.” And to meet the chal­lenge it is es­sen­tial to “en­sure to­tal

co-or­di­na­tion and align­ment be­tween our­selves and our part­ners to en­sure a seam­less ex­e­cu­tion of the plan”. An ex­am­ple of this is a CEO Fo­rum hosted by Msheireb Prop­er­ties in Jan­uary of this year, at­tended by the lead­ing con­trac­tors and con­sul­tants en­gaged in the pro­ject. “The ob­jec­tive of the fo­rum was to en­cour­age the lead­ers of all the firms to ex­change views about the pro­ject, to share best prac­tice, and to iden­tify ar­eas where closer col­lab­o­ra­tion could de­liver greater ben­e­fits and re­sults. The fo­rum is thought to be the first of type in the real es­tate sec­tor and was con­sid­ered by all to be a great suc­cess,” he says.

Eng Al Mehshadi's lead­er­ship played no small part in Msheireb be­ing able to an­nounce plenty of mile­stone events in the pre­vi­ous year in­clud­ing the sign­ing of their first com­mer­cial ten­ant, the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Sport Se­cu­rity, fol­lowed by the Qatar Academy Msheireb re­cently. "It will be able to ac­com­mo­date 450 stu­dents, with an in­creased cur­ricu­lum, and is re­flec­tive of our ob­jec­tive to build a com­mu­nity that caters to all the needs of its res­i­dents," he says.

In another sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward, last month Msheireb Prop­er­ties awarded the con­tract for the in­stal­la­tion and man­age­ment of MDD's car-park­ing fa­cil­i­ties to Traf­fic Tech (Gulf), who will han­dle the in­te­gra­tion and fu­ture man­age­ment of "one of the most com­plex car park sys­tems in the world". In to­tal, it will cover 10,000 park­ing spa­ces and over 200 gated en­try/ex­its.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Msheireb Down­town Doha con­tin­ued to en­joy recog­ni­tion for the de­vel­op­ment. “We won the Best Re­tail Pro­ject award at Cityscape Doha last year, as well as Ara­bian Busi­ness's De­vel­op­ment of the Year award. In April 2015 at the Qatar Green Build­ing Coun­cil Gala Din­ner, the Di­wan An­nex build­ing achieved LEED Plat­inum sta­tus, a green build­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme that recog­nises best-in-class build­ing strate­gies and prac­tices. In the same week, the Di­wan An­nex picked up the Gov­ern­ment Build­ing award at Kahramaa's Tarsheed awards cer­e­mony as part of its Na­tional Cam­paign for the Con­ser­va­tion and Ef­fi­cient Use of Wa­ter and Elec­tric­ity, and MDD's Dis­trict Cool­ing Plant won the In­dus­trial sec­tor award,” he says, list­ing out many of the pro­ject's re­cent ac­co­lades.

A num­ber of per­son­al­i­ties have played a role in guid­ing and shap­ing his per­son­al­ity and the per­son he has be­come to­day, says Al Mehshadi “The most im­por­tant would be our Holy Prophet Muham­mad who is not only a re­li­gious teacher but some­one who led Mus­lims won­der­fully well in all other ar­eas of life as well. I would also like to add that the strong lead­er­ship and in­flu­ence of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser has also played a very sig­nif­i­cant role and has inspired me through­out my ca­reer.”

Ul­ti­mately he cred­its the suc­cess of his com­pany not only to his lead­er­ship qual­i­ties but to the peo­ple and the vi­sion of the lead­ers of the coun­try. “All of these fac­tors are im­por­tant, and are all in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to our suc­cess. With­out any one of these, we will not achieve our goals. At Msheireb Prop­er­ties, our vi­sion is to be the lead­ing na­tional devel­oper of sus­tain­able and in­no­va­tive projects inspired by Qatar's unique her­itage and through our strong­est val­ues – ex­cel­lence, lead­er­ship, in­no­va­tion, part­ner­ship, and re­spon­si­bil­ity – we will be able to be­come one of the most re­spected real es­tate com­pa­nies in the coun­try and the world.”

“Given the scale of what we are try­ing to achieve and how much it will rep­re­sent the tra­di­tions and val­ues of Qatari cul­ture, while also meet­ing its sig­nif­i­cant sus­tain­abil­ity as­pi­ra­tions, Msheireb Down­town Doha rep­re­sents a ma­jor chal­lenge.”

Above: Msheireb: The vi­sion; be­low: As the dis­trict stands to­day

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