Interview with Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, a leading real estate developer in Dubai

Interview with Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, a leading real estate developer in Dubai

Popular for its architectural marvels, Dubai has a booming real estate market. With investors flocking from different parts of the world, the city has committed to creating ambitious and innovative projects to transform the real estate landscape. Meet Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, who is on his journey to take Azizi Developments to towering heights with his unwavering commitment to excellence in real estate development.

Azizi Developments is a leading property developer in Dubai popular for their projects in the city’s most sought-after and emerging locations. They boast an extensive portfolio of modern luxury residential and commercial properties. Explore Farhad Azizi’s path to leadership, core values, and vision for the future of real estate development in Dubai.

Journey to the leadership

Farhad Azizi with father Mirwais Azizi, Chairman of Azizi Developments

Despite being the eldest son of Mirwais Azizi, Chairman of Azizi Developments, Farhad's path to the helm of Azizi Development was not as straightforward as one might assume. After completing his studies in the United States, he returned to Dubai hoping to have an easy ride entering the company. But things were not so easy for this budding businessman. Instead, he embarked on an arduous journey within the Azizi Group where he worked diligently across all departments to gain comprehensive experience.

During his initial years at the company, he gained hands-on experience in banking and trading, before entering the realm of real estate. This journey, though challenging, allowed him to appreciate the importance of learning the business from the ground up. He reminisces,

“I had to go through the whole chain of earning experience in every department before making my way to become the CEO of the company. It was a long journey, but a journey where I have learned a lot.”

Farhad’s style of leadership and approach has been influenced profoundly by his father’s legacy and ethics. He grew up watching his father build the business from scratch and the challenges he had to face on the way to success. This experience has instilled in Farhad a deep sense of pride in carrying on the family business enabling him to contribute positively to the community, the family, and the company. He sees his father as the perfect leader and aims to follow in his footsteps guided by the values of commitment and hard work.

Customer-centric approach

In a highly competitive real estate market like Dubai, Azizi Development places paramount importance on listening to its customers, understanding their expectations, and delivering on promises. This customer-centric strategy, which emphasizes transparency across all levels has contributed significantly to the company's enduring success and competitive edge.

Farhad proudly shares the core values of the company,

“fulfilling the customer's expectations and making them the center of attention for our business.”

The customer-centric approach of Azizi Developments has helped them to thrive in this competitive real estate market of Dubai. He stressed the importance of being attuned to customer needs and choosing the right locations and property types. A well-coordinated team effort that includes sales, customer service, construction, design, and property management is required to meet the custom requirements of the clients.

Being a voracious reader has helped Farhad in various aspects of business development. Combining the theoretical knowledge gained from reading and practical experience gained during his site visits, he has a proper understanding of the direction he needs to take to succeed. He dedicates a significant amount of time each week to visiting construction sites to witness firsthand the latest construction methods, sustainability practices, and environmental protection measures.

During these construction site visits, he engages with site personnel and seeks feedback to improve their project. This approach, Farhad believes, aligns with their customer-centric focus, as it enables them to better understand and meet their customers' needs and preferences. He says,

“Because at times you may design things that you think is right but does not work out for the customer.  It is very important to listen to your team at the office and site to get the right product.”

Azizi Development holds regular meetings with the site team to actively listen to their feedback and insights. The strategic decisions made at the boardroom table do not always align with the practical challenges faced in the construction sites. To solve this imbalance, it is important to listen to the insights and expertise of the team on the ground. He recognized that the construction site teams possess the latest industry knowledge, are accustomed to market changes, and have insights into evolving materials and sustainability practices. He says,

“It is important that the information comes from down to the top, not the other way around.”

Embracing sustainability and innovation

Farhad shares his enthusiasm for integrating sustainable solutions into Azizi projects. He noted that while sustainability was once primarily discussed, it has now shifted towards practical implementation with developers like Azizi actively working to make sustainable practices a reality for customers. He stressed their focus on enhancing the sustainability of their properties which not only extends the longevity of the properties but also improves overall efficiency while being environmentally friendly. This also brings tangible benefits for customers such as reduced electricity and water bills.

Azizi Developments has invested in European technology and enlisted German expertise to ensure their projects incorporate sustainable elements, from air conditioning to cabling and concrete construction. Farhad acknowledged that Dubai's authorities have been proactive in raising sustainability standards prohibiting the use of environmentally unfriendly products. He says,

“The standards in Dubai are already high. On top of it, we as a developer are adding our own bit to make it even better.”

Farhad also mentions how the global pandemic made them focus more on ‘homes’. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a reevaluation of the importance of homes which became more than just living spaces but also served as schools, restaurants, and places of worship. This reevaluation strengthened the business' commitment to producing cozy, appealing investments with good returns on capital. The company focuses primarily on the quality of the product and the more they enhance it, the greater the satisfaction among clients which will lead to swift sales and a sense of pride in their work.

Projects with a purpose

Riviera Project of Azizi Developments

Farhad Azizi often feels emotionally attached to the property he builds. He describes the emotional connection he feels during property handover ceremonies where he personally hands over the keys to customers. He shares,

“I can sense the strong emotional bond that clients form with their homes knowing that it's a place where their children will grow, where they will create lasting memories, and where they will gracefully age. And for us to fulfill their dreams come true is a very sentimental thing.”

For Farhad, this business is profoundly emotional, and he dedicates personal attention to each handover ceremony, often sharing tears of joy and connection with the new homeowners. He expresses his pride in doing so, saying,

“we are a family business and we are making homes for other families.”

With over 1000 homes delivered and 100 ongoing projects, the 'Riviera' project stays close to his heart. This project consists of 16,000 homes and encompasses extensive infrastructure, landscaping, and water features. Phases one, two, and three have already been delivered, with phase four in progress. This project exemplifies their dedication to creating outstanding developments that not only contribute to their business success but also enhance the quality of life for residents.

The ‘Mina’ project on The Palm is also special to him as it is named after his daughter.

Farhad advises aspiring entrepreneurs to start their journey sooner. He says,

“I would highly recommend to younger people that they get involved earlier in whatever their passion is.”

He encourages young enthusiasts to view real estate as an investment opportunity urging them to initiate their property journey sooner rather than later. The nature of the real estate industry is forgiving which allows for growth. He also asks them to take that initial leap to property ownership which will then open numerous financial options. He underscored the value of calculated risks and continuous learning in achieving success.

Regarding his own motivation and capacity to innovate within an ever-evolving industry, Farhad pointed to a single, guiding word: commitment. He shared how his commitment extends to various stakeholders, including customers, regulators, financial partners, suppliers, and the company's staff, numbering more than 5000. This unwavering commitment fuels his motivation instilling a sense of purpose that propels him to face each day with enthusiasm and a determination to make the right choices.

Farhad Azizi aims to leave a lasting legacy rooted in commitment and generosity in the real estate and development field. His strong dedication to providing quality homes and improving the lives of Dubai's residents shines through in every project undertaken by Azizi Development.

Giving back to the community

“We want to give back in a very selfless way where it's not only about us”

Farhad says.

Beyond business success, Farhad's vision is about giving back to the city that has meant so much to his family. They have donated generously to initiatives like 1 Billion Meals Endowment during Ramadan, demonstrating their dedication to making a positive impact on the community.

As Dubai's real estate sector continues to evolve, Farhad Azizi's leadership promises a future where quality, innovation, and community remain at the heart of development.

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