“We do not want to only increase land capacity; we want to build happy communities,” says Amr Soliman, Founder and Chairman of Egypt-based real estate company Mountain View. In fact, happiness is embedded into the company’s stated vision of bringing life to land and spreading happiness around. The firm has already implemented what it calls the Science of Happiness and Innovation in the 16 projects it has developed over more than 2,000 acres spread across West Cairo, East Cairo, and coastal developments overlooking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. “We started our journey 18 years ago with a unique and distinctive mindset,” he explains. “We aim to utilise the best real estate development tools to elevate residents’ quality of life and embed the Science of Happiness and Innovation in everything we do so that our clients can experience happiness every day.”
As part of its strategy of expanding beyond Egyptian borders, Mountain View has joined forces with Omar Kassem Alesayi Group Investment Group to form a joint venture company in construction and real estate development in Saudi Arabia to build world-class, integrated urban projects and tourist resorts. “Given all parties' extensive experience in the fields of investment and real estate development, the partnership aims to strengthen cooperation and exchange of experiences, while also expanding on promoting investments in the retail sector within the kingdom,” says Soliman. He points out that the partnership is consistent with the real estate trends in Saudi Arabia that make it one of the most promising future global markets and contributes to the kingdom's 2030 goals of achieving a 70 per cent ownership rate of residential units within the next 10 years.
Mountain View has also announced its collaboration with Sisban, a leading Saudi investment holding based in Jeddah with global subsidiaries in real estate, agriculture and F&B. Having previously partnered on the launch of Mountain View iCity in Egypt in 2015, the two entities are joining hands again.
They aim to revitalise the Saudi retail industry by introducing an innovative experience that can promote engagement and boost happiness by giving families a unique opportunity to spend quality time together in a new and different sense with activities and services that meet their different interests and demands.
Before introducing a new retail concept locally or exporting it regionally, Mountain View conducts extensive market and consumer research to gather insights into people’s needs to ensure success. “People are always looking for new experiences,” says Soliman. “Food and beverage are currently the main factors driving interest in the retail market.
“Given the retail clutter and lack of experiences, people are bored; families are overwhelmed by the wide variety of available options, which still don’t meet their needs, and they are looking for new experiences. We took it upon ourselves to fill that market gap by creating a new retail concept that serves as a one-stop shop, where people can enjoy a unique experience from the moment they step out of their car until they leave the project's door.”
Unique brand identity
Over the past 18 years, Mountain View has managed to build an unprecedented brand identity and a new benchmark for contemporary architecture, making it easy for anyone to spot one of its signature white-and-blue units. Soliman points out that while these units exemplify happiness, innovation, authenticity, and modernism, his personal goal has always been something bigger. “I want to provide the residents, our extended family, with a sense of belonging,” he explains. “Mountain View's primary goal has always been and will continue to be more than just providing a residential unit by creating a happy community that encourages social engagement, productivity, and innovation.
“Our clients have always been at the forefront of what we do. We constantly study their needs and demands and aim to always exceed them, which brings us to our mission and that is building a lighthouse together to inspire meaningful and happy communities.”
He attributes the company’s unique identity to a three-step strategy that constantly guides its every step. “First, we do a thorough market analysis to find out some of the customers’ current and future demands. Second, we put together a team of renowned young minds with extensive expertise to create designs and products that can fill the current market gap and add real value to the Egyptian real estate scene, and now even regionally. Third, we collaborate with leading international entities that can help us introduce premium real estate projects with international standards on Egyptian land.” By following this strategy, he says Mountain View has earned a reputation as an entity that does not just ride the wave but creates it.
“We aim to provide a whole life not only residential units or products; we have created an environment that gives everyone the possibility to indulge in everything they wish for, without any compromise. Our projects boast a large and diverse bundle of features and facilities that ensure there is something for everyone. All of this is done because we enable our community with meaningful happiness.”
Among Mountain View’s 16 projects that include more than 31,000 residential units housing more than 20,000 families, Soliman singles out the iCity project as one of the company's greatest achievements and a benchmark of innovation. “Due to the unrivalled USPs and revolutionary innovations, the project was able to set a new standard in Egypt's real estate industry,” he says. “iCity is considered to be the first human-centric pedestrian city with a 4D interface that separates roads and parking spaces, pedestrian walkways, and residential parks, giving all community members the privacy and exclusivity they wish for while enabling them to roam the city freely.”
Launched in 2016 and 2017, iCity New Cairo and 6th of October are spread across 500 acres each. Each project is divided into five different residential parks: MV Club, MV Park, Lagoon Beach Park, Mountain Park, and Mountain View 3. It is built on an innovative and creative concept where the first level is the parking; the second is the MV Club, which is a place where everyone can enjoy solo or team activities; the third is the Corniche, which is 15km long in iCity New Cairo and 10km long in iCity 6th of October; and the fourth level is the residential units.
“You will find some of our distinctive products in iCity along with other projects as well,” adds Soliman. “These products were built and designed to respond to market demands, especially those that emerged during the pandemic, which reshaped the real estate market not just in Egypt but also around the world and altered consumer perception and needs. That’s why you will find them in our different projects not only iCity.”
Other major highlights within Mountain View’s portfolio include iVilla, the Millennials’ apartments, and Heartwork. While iVilla offers all the characteristics of a villa, complete with a garden at an affordable price, the Millennials’ Apartments, as the name suggests, caters to the needs and preferences of the outgoing, work-life balanced, authentic and athletic young adults. This concept is distinguished by its open spaces, smart decks or terrace up to 20 square metres in size, to accommodate outdoor activities such as social gatherings, sports and work.
Heartwork is the first international happy business hub in Egypt and the Middle East, which offers innovative and modern spaces where business owners can seek growth and increase productivity. The project is built around the four pillars of happiness that should exist in every work environment, which revolve around nurturing the heart, mind, body and soul. Designed in collaboration with Delivering Happiness (DH) Company and Callison RTKL, it’s an Egyptian rendition of the Silicon Valley and delivers 21st century workspaces.
“We wanted the world to recognise us as a lighthouse that illuminates lands and inspires individuals to create meaningful, happy communities,” explains Soliman. “It was from that precise vantage point that our company decided to make a breakthrough in the real estate industry by incorporating every single aspect that revolves around the word happy into our communities.”
A major aspect of infusing happiness into Mountain View’s real estate projects is providing wide green spaces that help reduce stress and depression, ensure psychological well-being, and give residents peace of mind.
“We have even applied the science of happiness to our Cairo headquarters,” he adds. “Internal studies showed that employees' happiness inside the offices increased to 92 per cent, contributing to an increase in employee retention rate by 50 per cent, engagement increased and absenteeism fell by 40 per cent. Together these numbers reflected a rise in employee loyalty and productivity, positively affecting Mountain View’s fiscal position, with sales increasing five times since its application.”
Last year was a turning point for Mountain View, locally and internationally. “Regionally, we were able to lay the groundwork and take the first steps towards our international expansion plans, through our partnership with Omar Kassem Alesayi Group,” says Soliman.
“In terms of sales, Mountain View achieved a sharp increase from 2 billion Egyptian pounds in 2018 to 31 billion in 2022, with 56 per cent growth compared to 2021 sales, making us one of the top three real estate developers in Egypt. Now, the company plans to beat its own record by pumping 6 billion Egyptian pounds into investment this year, at 20 per cent increase compared to 2022, to speed up construction work in our projects, expand the scope of our project and services, and uncover new investment opportunities locally and in other markets.”