HomeEconomyReal estate combining utility and added value (Interview)

Real estate combining utility and added value (Interview)

Five years after its establishment on the Moroccan market, the territorial development group REALITES has launched 3 major flagship projects, including the restoration of the legendary Lincoln Casablanca hotel in the city center.

For MoroccoLatestNews, Rachid Bennani, Managing Director of REALITES Morocco, talks about the strengths of this group and its bet to combine utility and urban development.

Tell us about your current projects. What motivated these particular choices?

Five years after setting up in Morocco, the REALITES group is developing 3 major urban projects. Their common point is the notion of usefulness and the added value they bring to the areas where they are established.

The Lincoln Casablanca A Radisson Collection Hotel, is a rehabilitation and reconstruction project of a historical heritage known to all Casablancais. It should eventually create 150 direct and 500 indirect jobs. Through its reconstruction into an iconic 5* hotel with 120 rooms, our ambition is to contribute to strengthening the attractiveness of the art-deco district of Casablanca with an unprecedented hotel offer geared towards city breaks and cultural tourism.

Management will be carried out under the Radisson Collection brand, which makes Lincoln its flagship in the Kingdom. The Lincoln is a project carried out 100% by Réalités, which is an investor and owner of the property.

The second “Uptown Casa Anfa” project, of which Réalités is a co-promoter, is one of the largest real estate programs in the city with an investment of nearly 1.2 billion dirhams. It is a “mixed use” project (of different uses, editor’s note) comprising the first hotel component of the Casa Anfa and CFC zone, with more than 380 keys (5*, 4*, Appart’Hôtel and a conference center of 600 places). It also includes a residential component and a business center.

The third project “Gardenia Parc Zenata” is a new generation residential project in the heart of Zenata Eco Cité. We thought and designed this project to meet the needs of the urban middle class. Our desire is to offer a fulfilling living environment with top-of-the-range services at accessible price levels from 12,000 DH/m².

Who are these projects for? Which consumers?

As a territorial developer, our projects are aimed at all stakeholders in a territory. We offer real estate solutions and uses for public authorities, investors but also private customers, particularly through our residential and tertiary projects.

The Lincoln is a concrete example of the level of technical, programmatic and financial engineering put in place by Réalités in close collaboration with the city’s local authorities.

Our projects integrate residential and tertiary components (Uptown & Gardenia in this case) and are marketed in strict compliance with the VEFA law, which guarantees and protects the interests of customers through bank guarantees given on advances , precise specifications and a commitment to delivery times. This is a strategic orientation for Réalités. We want to be part of a real ethical and partnership approach with our customers.

Your group has made territorial development its credo. On your 3 projects, how does this manifest itself?

The common point between all our projects in Morocco and abroad is the notion of usefulness and the added value they bring to their territories. As a Mission Company, we have a strong environmental orientation and this manifests itself concretely in the Lincoln project. Beyond being a major rehabilitation, the project will be certified HQE level Excellent.

Gardenia Parc Zenata has benefited from eco-design and extensive studies to guarantee good environmental performance. Thanks to the group’s offset strategy, our Moroccan projects are carbon neutral.

The rehabilitation of the Lincoln Hotel in Casablanca is quite a challenge and a beautiful message addressed to the city’s heritage. What prompted you to invest in this project?

We establish ourselves in a territory first of all by conviction. Our 3 projects are in territories with well-defined visions. For Casa Anfa, with Casablanca Finance City, this pole quickly became synonymous with the economic and financial dynamism of Morocco and its continental influence.

For Zenata Eco Cité, as explained, ecology is a major issue for us, it was natural for us to invest in what will become a model African city: ecological, integrated and accessible.

To answer your question about the Lincoln, Boulevard Mohammed V represents the history of Casablanca and the genesis of its thoughtful urbanity. Tomorrow, thanks to the proactive action of the authorities (local, governmental, elected) the art-deco district will be transformed into a formidable showcase for a new cultural, cruise and city-break tourism. Moreover, we urge investors and project leaders to think about settling in this central district, steeped in history and with a more than promising future.

As investors, we have had the privilege of being accompanied by high-quality developers and interlocutors: the AUC, the town hall, the AUDA and the SAZ.

As a subsidiary of an international group, you have the distinction of having entirely Moroccan top management. What more does it bring and what is the difference on the pitch?

We made the choice to start the Moroccan adventure with big projects. We therefore had to rely on a structured and multidisciplinary local team able to carry them out. This gives us a better understanding of the issues and above all a better knowledge of the market and sector practices. Today we are a team of 30 people with strong medium-term growth prospects.

100% local management is essential for a successful and sustainable establishment. This is also the case for the group’s other international subsidiaries in Senegal and Portugal.

Réalités Maroc is also a 100% joint venture. Women are present at all levels: COMEX, CODIR, operations, etc. and it is a real pride for us.

You have been on the Moroccan real estate market for 5 years, with hindsight what is your view of the projects created?

The Moroccan real estate market remains dynamic. Our projects are progressing in accordance with our technical and commercial forecasts. Our bias is simple: put all our energy into studying demand and programming projects that meet the needs of their users.

Do the results confirm you to continue on the same path?

We are confident in the Moroccan economy and its resilience. We have continued to develop our projects despite polymorphic crises such as COVID and the war in Ukraine.

Your projects are focused on the Casablanca region, why this choice precisely? Do you plan to develop elsewhere?

Given Casablanca’s place in the Kingdom’s GDP, it was natural for us to develop our first projects there. We have a fairly ambitious development strategy. We study all the opportunities available to us in several cities of the Kingdom from the moment the prism of utility is respected.



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