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Supporting the Growth of Saudi Arabia's Thriving Infrastructure and Real Estate Sector           Date: 2010-11-04

Article prepared by Squire Sanders and EK Partners & Al-Enezee Legal Counsel, published in the "US-Saudi- Business Volume XV" the bi-monthly newsletter of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council


The real estate business is one of the biggest and most thriving industries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country also presents enormous opportunities in major infrastructure and real estate development projects and was recently ranked as “Best Real Estate Market in the Middle East” by NuWire Investor.

 

Indeed, Saudi Arabia is leading the Gulf in terms of infrastructure projects as it is spending around $400 billion over the next five years on infrastructure projects to boost the economy.

 

Much of the recent development in the Saudi real estate industry is, of course, fueled by a robust and stable economy, huge revenues in the oil industry, excess liquidity, and the adoption of new real estate and property laws. Foreigners are now entitled to 100 percent ownership of real estate for development purposes. This has allowed for an additional influx of funds and investment into the country and helped further the development of the real estate industry.

 

Reports show that in the last three years, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has granted 50 licenses for new real estate developers owned in full or partially by foreign investors to carry out real estate development activities in Saudi Arabia. For years, the lack of mortgage facilities has acted as a bottle-neck, limiting development. However, it is expected that a new real estate mortgage law will be issued soon, and that will surely help residential developers selling on a mass scale.

 

The growth of the real estate sector in Saudi Arabia has resulted in an increasing demand for sound legal advice to successfully structure and execute real estate development projects. In this respect and for the last seven years, EK Partners & Al-Enezee Legal Counsel (EKP), together with its associated independent firm Squire, Sanders and Dempsey L.L.P. (Squire Sanders), has assisted clients operating in the real estate sector in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East with the legal, regulatory, and practical considerations necessary for executing infrastructure and real estate projects.

 

Our lawyers have represented key industry players including lenders and borrowers, architects and engineers, banks and other financial institutions, bond companies, capital market firms, commercial landlords and tenants, construction managers, contractors, investors, and title companies.

 

Some examples of how EKP and Squire Sanders have supported the development of the infrastructure and real estate sector in the country include advising a Saudi-based bank in structuring a $400 million syndicated financing for the Jamarat Bridge expansion project in Mecca, representing a Saudi-based real estate developer in connection with all aspects of the design and construction of a 500+ villa residential community in the city of Jeddah, and representing a major Gulf developer in the construction of a residential and commercial tower project. EKP and Squire Sanders have also represented a large group of real estate developers and contractors in the restructuring of their activities in Saudi Arabia and several other jurisdictions in the Gulf region.

 

Further, the firm also recently advised Arab Bank in connection with the $158 million financing of the Abdali Boulevard, a large multibillion dollar urban regeneration project (which includes offices, apartments, and retail) in central Amman, Jordan.

 

In general, EKP and Squire Sanders represent a diverse mix of regional and international clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to privately-held family enterprises, from emerging small businesses to mature conglomerates, and numerous public entities and governmental bodies. EKP is staffed with Arab Western-trained lawyers with extensive experience in civil and common law systems who are fluent in Arabic, English and French and can help navigate the intricacies of the region's legal systems and customs. EKP's Riyadh office was created in cooperation with Khulaif AlEnezee, a Saudi attorney generally admitted to practice law in Saudi Arabia with substantial experience in the business sector and local courts.

 

Together, EKP and Squire Sander's worldwide network offer the global resources and experience of more than 1,000 lawyers in 41 offices throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

 

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

 

Ziad El-Khoury, Managing Partner

 

EK Partners & Al-Enezee

Tel: 966-1-277-7372

 Email: ziad.elkhoury@ssd.com

 

Website: www.ssd.com

 

 

 

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