United Development Company (UDC) putus on a strong oothold and we could see thecompletion o the project rising above the various setbacks. Because we pioneered theidea in this country, it captured everyone’sattention and wonder, locally and interna-tionally. When I joined UDC, in the position o General Manager o Marketing, our chal-lenges were immense; the whole group was just a small team o 60. We are now 1,200employees. We have expanded in all spheresand auxiliary units. All this is part o thesuccess story o TPQ.
Was it dicult to sell the concept inter-nationally at a time when the country was not well recognised? What market-ing strategies did you adapt?
Proper planning and the way the countryhas projected itsel, as the largest suppliero gas and as a country with robust economywith its massive oil and gas resources, madeit easier or us to market the project.Initially we were treated with scepticism,people did not know much about the coun-try. But the uniqueness o the concept, themassive campaigns to promote the projectglobally through commercials, advertise-ments, billboards, exhibitions, road shows,etc, helped garner interest. Luxury outletswere initially sceptical o coming to the re-gion, not just Qatar. We were selling basedon plans. But now you can see all the brandsthat are here at The Pearl. According to me, the project in itsel wasthe main actor, its uniqueness and beauty,the 10-themed districts, each with its owndistinct style o living, helped in attractinginvestors rom all around the world. Theeconomic stability o the country was an-other important actor.
At a time when global recession haddownsized the thriving real estate sec-tor how did TPQ manage to remain un-azed? How were the sales gures inthose dicult times?
We started marketing rom 2005. About90% o what we marketed is sold now. When the crisis hit, we had already soldclose to 80% o the projects and we weregetting busy with hand-overs. That workedto our advantage. As we were in this hand-over stage, it helped our cash ow. We arestill busy with hand-overs and I can tell youthat even now the value o the property isincreasing. We have had some owners whohave sold their investments at a prot. Sothe global recession did not afect us much. We are still attracting retail stores; we havestore openings regularly, on a monthlybasis.This was because this was the only projecto such magnitude in the country and thenished product was also much appreciatedin the real estate sector. We have around 3,000 people living onthe island and by the end o 2011 we are go-ing to open two major precedents, QanatQuartier and Medina Centrale. We are alsoopening a Spinney’s here soon. We want thePearl to be a city in itsel.
TPQ had some bad press too. How did you handle the bad press, especiallythose which used to touch on the envi-ronmental aspects o the project due tothe huge reclamation associated withthe construction o the island?
The dredging technology we used was suchthat it would not harm the eco-system. Be-ore we embarked on the project, an envi-ronmental assessment was conducted byCowi and all recommendations made wasollowed to ensure that the eco-system o the place was not compromised. It’s trueto say there are more living creatures inthe sea around the site than beore thereclamation. We take extra measures to maintain saeenvironmental levels; we conduct air qual-ity and noise pollution tests on an annualbasis. Garbage collection is through a single
We have had some oWners Whohave sold their investments ata profit. so the globalrecession did not affect usmuch.