Photo: Nick Smith ex-CEO of the Wave Development
Nick seems to have done a great job at the Wave. The Wave is the country’s first Integrated Tourist Development, explicitly backed by the Oman Government - Waterfront Investments and National Investment Funds Company (representing Omani Pension Funds) - and the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group. They've won countless awards, actually delivered properties, and were early enough to sell a fair few.
Presumably, now that the first phases are completed, and things are generally in order, the shareholders (who coincidentally had a shareholder meeting in Muscat yesterday) figure they can cut costs and get rid of the expensive Expats.
More news to come on this as it happens...
Maybe there's a job for Nick at Blue City... they could do with the help!
Here's his recent interview with Dossier Magazine.
CEO Nick Smith Speaks Candidly with Dossier Magazine
You last spoke to OER Dossier in September 2008. Since that time what progress has been made at The Wave, Muscat?
Construction at The Wave, Muscat is well underway with over 800 homes now under construction in different phases which have already been launched. We currently have nearly 5,000 men working on the con¬struction site. The main access way into the development has been completed allowing our first customers to move into their prop¬erties. Over 70 handovers to customers have been completed to date and by the end of 2009 we expect to have completed over 300 properties.
The outer arms of the marina have been completed allowing the start of the marina walls to be placed in the near future. The outer reef has also progressed with 100m of that now visible above the sea. Lakes and waterways excavation is also underway and lake lining is in progress. Accumulation of materials for the golf course is in readiness for commencement of construction.
What has been the impact of global financial crisis on The Wave, Muscat?
The current global economic climate does pose a few challenges for us. However, the situ¬ation in Oman is different as prudent financial policies by the government coupled, with lim¬ited international investment in Oman have helped ease the situation. Our banks continue to grant some mortgage loans to our custom¬ers, which is an excellent sign of commitment to the real estate market in the Sultanate and confidence in our project. There is no doubt that more mortgage funding will be needed as the tourism projects develop.
At The Wave, Muscat our attention will be focused on building our strengths and in the timely delivery of our units which have already been sold. We have invested heavily in our customer service to home owners, right from the moment of purchase and also to those who have already moved into their homes at The Wave, Muscat, ensuring customer confidence and satisfaction is of paramount importance to us. We are backed by strong investors, the Omani Government (Waterfront Investments and National Investment Funds Company (representing Omani Pension Funds), and the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group. Their unwavering support to create a master planned community for real people to live, work and visit is a vision which shall move steadily towards fruition. We have already established our leadership position in the market and we are currently positioned to become the new heart of Muscat. Real estate investments are still the safest investments and The Wave, Muscat is simply the best location to buy a home in Oman.
Some residents are already settled in their new homes. What has been their feedback of life at The Wave, Muscat?
The Wave, Muscat has recently been accorded the ISO 9001:2008 certification for excellence in customer service making the company the first property developer in Oman to win ISO accreditation for adherence
to high quality management systems in customer services. This service has been embraced by our homeowners and a recent survey has revealed a 95% customer satisfaction rating. We are acting on customers’ feedback. It is their home and we need to listen to what they say, whenever we can.
The Wave, Muscat recently won a number of awards at the CNBC Arabian Property Awards and Homes Overseas Awards. What do you believe was the key to these achievements?
Our recognition on the international and regional real estate platforms can be attributed to the company’s commitment to adopt best quality practices in building a world-class tourist and residential development which respects the culture and heritage of Oman. The judges often refer to this. We have continued to exceed the expectations of our customers whilst optimizing the financial, business and social returns for our stakeholders. Our proven delivery track record and construction moving according to the schedule has established our position as the market leader who promises a sound investment. Our home designs combine the best in contemporary design with traditional Omani flair thereby creating a truly multicultural community living experience. To win the Best Architecture in Arabia award in Florida in November last year was a huge accolade. Homes Overseas gave us Silver in the Best Development Worldwide in 2008. This is a true comfort for us and our customers – we are going for Gold this year!
Are there any sales releases planned for this year?
Compared to other GCC countries, real estate market in Oman is still in its formative stage. The demand for quality housing still remains high. There is a large segment of the Omani and expatriate population based in Oman who still have a huge appetite for quality real estate products. Our business achievements confirm that we are significantly ahead of the competition. We do have some apartments and villas for sale now. But the current economic conditions cannot be overlooked. We shall continue to keep a watchful eye on the market conditions. We will release more units if conditions are right for us and the purchasers.
As the project is now well established, how do you in your role ensure that employee motivation stays up given the duration of such a large project?
For me, employee motivation in a real estate development like The Wave, Muscat, which is continuously changing everyday, is ensuring that our employees love what they do, enjoy coming to work everyday and thrive with the challenges of being part of the first ITC in Oman. It is our recruitment strategy to encourage people who are looking for a workplace that will treat them well, give them a happy work environment, excellent opportunity to enhance their skills and a career path which is in line with their own ambitions of growth. At The Wave, Muscat conscious strategies have been put in place to ensure that employees remain enthusiastic. They receive unlimited support and encouragement to face and conquer their challenges. Their achievements are recognized and rewarded throughout their career path with us.