Minka Development, one of the latest Sallam family-owned ventures, is a private real estate company that always prioritizes adding value and innovating properties and aims to stand out in the market by offering themed fully livable developments that cater to the top of the value chain of the real estate market.
We had the opportunity to talk about their latest projects, goals, vision, and so much more with the Founder & CEO Abdallah Sallam, a third-generation ambitious, serial entrepreneur who thrives through innovation, creation, and challenging the status quo!
1- How did your upbringing affect you and your career?
My upbringing is the root cause of everything I can call my career today. I come from a very prominent business family, who has been doing business in Egypt for over 80 years now, ever since my grandfather planted the seed of the first family business back in 1939. All my values, business ethics, and vision that many recognize today are the outcome of what I learned from my parents and family elders, specifically my grandfather who was beyond legendary, the late Abdallah Sallam whom I carry his name.
For me, it’s a blessing above all to have a source of inspiration and an affirmation that I have what it takes to keep it up. Third generations of business families usually resort to a lower appetite to take risks, not wanting to ruin what their elders have created. However, my grandfather, father, and uncles have transferred the DNA of risk-taking and entrepreneurship while sowing the seeds of success in our generation, which is the main source of our motivation to do the same with our successors.
2- In terms of goals and vision, what is Minka Development mainly striving for?
Minka Development has an extremely simple, yet mindful and challenging agenda, with a crystal clear, very articulated and timeless mission and vision statements and that is to “Make Egyptians happier and EGYPT a better place, by developing meaningful and innovative properties for the privileged and help provide safe and sustainable dwellings for the underprivileged.”
This entitles a lot of effort and strategy, that is not only confined to luxury but rather geared towards innovation and good intention. We are recognized as non-traditional, but that’s just because we try to question traditional ways of doing things and explore simpler and more meaningful ones. Being untraditional is not a goal in itself, but it’s many times the outcome of the challenges we take.
3- So far, what can you say has been Minka Development’s most successful project to date?
During Minka development’s four short years of operation, each of our projects had its own unique characteristics, as they stand out because they cater to specific customer aspirations, are designed with extreme detail and are delivered ready to live-in or generate income. Yet, we always pray and look forward to our latest project to become our most unique and successful one.
Currently, our latest project is The HOFT, a hybrid property that delivers a unique combination of a retail arcade, co-working space, modular offices, and serviced suites all in one very meaningfully designed building. The project is planned to serve modern-day entrepreneurs and trendsetters in finding a haven that caters to their basic needs and helps them achieve their own success. It’s also a valuable destination for business travelers and international corporations since it’s located right across from Cairo International Airport.
The HOFT was only an idea a year ago; however, we succeeded to sell close to 80% of the serviced studios, aiming to manage the units and rent them for short and medium-term stays on our owners’ behalf.
4- What can we expect from The HOFT? What purpose does the project serve?
I honestly believe that The HOFT “the first hybrid property” is offering a revolutionary concept to the whole real estate sector in Egypt.
The HOFT is a complex that will be built on a 3,400 m2 of land, yielding a built-up area of 15,000 m2. We call it a ‘Hybrid Property’ because it combines specific elements that are rarely combined in one structure; Home – Office – Shop – Loft.
The shopping plaza that is described as a convenient retail arcade, is located on the ground floor that is going to have a tenant of every category in order to serve the residents and visitors of The HOFT. The complex also provides a full floor of co-working space and full business services that goes in line with the current revolution of sharing office spaces around the world. Moving on, The HOFT encompasses modular offices of the same size that are right next to each other for expansion and modularity.
The jewel of the crown of the HOFT is our two top floors, which include the residential serviced suites that are uniquely designed in the form of lofts. Each unit of 60 square meters is a one-bedroom suite with elevated ceilings, a grand bay window. Our units are all furnished down to the toothbrush, including a specially designed sofa-bed for extra accommodation when needed.
“So if you buy a residential unit at The HOFT, all you need to take care of is yourself!”
5- When will the Hoft be completely finished and what kind of segment does it target?
Minka Development prides itself not only on its adaptiveness to customer needs but even further in its attempts to tackle customer aspirations that are sometimes not apparent to the customers themselves. We believe that our projects cater to a very selective like-minded community that appreciates the quality of life rather than one that is solely defined by financial status, demographics, and social class classifications.
As for The HOFT, we target to have the project ready to operate by 2023, aiming to cater to business-minded people seeking short and medium-term stays within reach of business hubs, vital neighborhoods, and the airport.
6- What about Kensington; what is it like?
Kensington is one of the closest projects to my heart, even though it’s relatively small – especially today, in comparison to other projects we’re embarking on.
While implementing the project, located in Kattameya, we weren’t looking for quantity; as much as we were aiming to provide the market with something innovative and unique that addresses the gap of offerings. That gap sparked the opportunity; where the type of properties that are offered in this area are either huge mansions being sold for a hefty price tag or medium-sized mostly unfinished apartments and here is where we came up with Kensington, townhouses that fill the gap between the mansions and the small apartments.
Specifically, Kensington is a very exclusive and unique project that offers the amenities and privacy of a Villa, yet at a price point, size, and convenience of a spacious apartment. It’s a single complex of 5 luxurious stacked townhouses in the prestigious neighborhood of West Golf in Kattameya. Each unit spans a gross area of almost 600 m2 stacked on different levels, with a private backyard and rooftop terrace. All units are delivered fully finished with high-end finishes, built-in appliances, a private elevator, and even a hot tub on the roof.
7- What is the main purpose of Cairoom?
At Minka Development, We believe in a growing trend of shared resources, crowd-based, and asset free economy within the younger generations and we are leading the movement. We fulfilled our promise and belief through Cairoom, which is an unconventional yet straightforward concept that has proved to be an immediate success due to its unique offering that harnesses the ongoing revolution of the hospitality industry by blending the conveniences of a hotel with those of apartments and residential complexes.
Striving to form a network of apartments to end up covering the whole country and hopefully outside Egypt in the future, Cairoom provides residential properties offering trendy, meaningful, and innovative services through a short and medium-term stay model of hospitality that can be booked or offered online through Cairoom website: www.cairoom.com. With an aim to manage a total of 1000 units within the next 5 years.
“We label Cairoom as The Best of Both Stays; Home and Hotel.”
8- Since the real estate industry is a very competitive and always-evolving field, how does Minka Development deal with the challenges and possible obstacles in the way?
We see the constant evolution of the market as the fuel for our innovation hungry minds. We confirm that the market is still in its infancy and we strive to lead a movement that will make this market the catalyst of value and happiness that it should be.
Learning from history and experience, we can’t overlook those challenges, on the contrary, we believe that we can instead turn them into opportunities. In order to do so, we at Minka Development promise to never stop innovating and to keep serving our country with the dedication to bring forth the best and stay relevant to the needs and aspirations of the people.
As for our future plans, Minka Development is currently working very hard to put the final touches of a totally new project that will again set a new benchmark for property innovation and livability in the Egyptian real estate market.
9- What kind of advice can you give to ambitious entrepreneurs who wish to climb the career ladder as you did?
Younger generations are deceived with “The myth of overnight success”. Hence, my advice to young entrepreneurs and ambitious professionals, who wish to climb the career ladder, is to be patient, clearly identify your goals, and most importantly strive to be a person of added value with a clear meaningful purpose in life. Only then will they realize that the career ladder will automatically turn into a high-speed elevator.