WSP expands Advisory business in MENA with Real Estate practice

24 April 2024 2 min. read
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Global engineering firm WSP is expanding its 300-person Advisory business in the Middle East with a new Real Estate focused practice.

With over 68,000 people, WSP is one of the world’s largest engineering and construction groups. The firm’s management consulting wing, which has around 3,000 staff worldwide, operates at the forefront of the firm’s delivery business, providing advisory services around developments and projects in the built environment.

Kathleen McGrail, Managing Director of WSP’s Advisory division in the Middle East, said the launch of the new service line complements its existing portfolio in the region and enables a more rounded offering for its clients.

Michael Heitmann, Gabriella De La Torre and Arash Darabnia - WSP

“The launch of our new Real Estate Advisory practice reinforces our ambition to be a leading market force at the front-end of the development lifecycle,” McGrail said. “It also reflects our commitment to our client requirements through providing a full project lifecycle service offering.”

Operating alongside other Advisory practices including Economics Advisory, Business Transformation, Investor & Lenders Advisory and Development Advisory, the Real Estate Advisory practice will provide a wide range of services including market research, feasibility, highest & best use studies, portfolio advisory, pricing, benchmarking & competitive analysis, investment strategy, master planning support & review, and financial modelling.

The practice will focus on development projects in the residential, office, retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, leisure & entertainment, data centres, industrial, and logistics sectors.

To lead and build out the practice, WSP has hired a team from CBRE, spearheaded by Michael Heitmann (executive Director), Gabriella De La Torre and Arash Darabnia (both Senior Directors). All three were leaders in CBRE’s consulting business in the UAE, and notably, they previously also served rival JLL before following each other’s footsteps to CBRE.

Both CBRE and JLL rank highly in the latest edition of the Middle East’s leading real estate consulting firms.

Heitmann, Head of Real Estate Advisory at WSP, said that the team was drawn to WSP for its ability to support the entire development cycle, from advisory and transactions through to building and handover.

“WSP is the first to fulfil the long-awaited ask from our clients to provide a seamless service offering that covers all aspects of the development cycle. I look forward to meeting and working with our clients in the region and offering our services from this integrated platform,” he said.

In 2022, Canada-headquartered WSP boosted its real estate consulting practice in the UK with the acquisition of Capita’s real estate and infrastructure consultancy business.