Dubai Festival Centre | Canal Walk


Dubai Festival Centre | Festival Square Events Court


Dubai Festival Centre | Gold Market Place


Dubai Festival City | Intercontinental Hotel and Festival Marina


Dubai Festival City | Al Badia Residential, Golf Course and School


Dubai Festival City | Al Badia Golf Club


Dubai Festival City | Intercontinental & Crowne Plaza Hotels,
Festival Office Tower


Dubai Festival Centre | Shopping Centre and Marina


Dubai Festival City | Lexus Showroom


Dubai Festival Centre | Power Centre & Ikea




Cairo Festival City | Regional Shopping Centre


Cairo Festival City | Festival Village


Cairo Festival City | Oriana Villas























































































































































































































































Brett Schafer, SCDP

My life calling is Real Estate with my property career spanning 28 years. My background has been a unique global exposure through various leadership roles in the shopping centre, office, hospitality and mixed-use property sectors covering Development Management, Asset Optimization, Investment Management, Asset Management, Leasing and Marketing. I am a Canadian citizen, based in Vancouver, Canada, with extensive North American as well as international experience, having worked for enterprises with assets and projects not only in Canada and the USA, but also the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa. I founded OptiProp for owners, investors, asset managers, fund managers and developers to harness my unique strategic skill sets, leadership and delivery experience, to reinforce and complement their own, in truly making their property assets clear market leaders. My total market driven focus, balanced with blazing creativity and tempered by practical delivery reality, unleash true value potential. 




Senior Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate (AFGRE)

A key division of Al-Futtaim group, one of the largest privately held companies in the region, based in Dubai. My portfolio was running development and operations of the Group's real estate businesses across the Middle East and North Africa region. AFGRE is responsible for the conception, development, procurement and construction of a number of mega projects as well as the leasing and operation of these projects after completion. The two current flagship mixed-use city developments under the Festival City brand include Dubai Festival City and Cairo Festival City.

I played a key role in building and leading a fully integrated development and property management company of over 300 staff, directing the firm’s deliverables which encompass acquisition analysis, determining optimum development strategy, design, development management, procurement and project management in addition to leasing, marketing and property management of the completed portfolio. I had a Management Board of 12 directors and senior managers reporting to me, covering the portfolios of Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Leasing, Infrastructure Development, Shopping Centre Development, Hotel Development, Residential and Office Development, Residential Sales, Shopping Centre Operations, Residential and Office Operations, and Hotel Operations. I reported directly to the Ownership and CEO of the Al-Futtaim Group.



The scope of property ownership portfolios of AFGRE and hence my responsibility to the shareholders were:

1) Dubai Festival City –
this is AFGRE’s flagship US$15 billion development and is the Middle East’s largest, privately-funded, mixed-use real estate project covering 1300 acres and stretching 2 miles along the Dubai Creek, the heart of the city. The completed components include a super regional shopping centre of 500 shops and 2.4 million sq ft, A 500 room Intercontinental Hotel, a 320 room Crowne Plaza Hotel, a convention center, golf course, marina, 720 residential units, office towers, automotive showrooms and all the infrastructure of roads and reticulation.

2) Cairo Festival City - a US$ 10 billion mixed-use real estate project strategically located at the gateway to New Cairo City. The 730-acre development is well under construction to new standards in urban living, as well as shopping, dining and hospitality for the community. I also did the initial work to identify other development projects around the region, having achieved the initial planning for the acquisition of a major site for Doha Festival City, Qatar.

3) The AFG property needs and assets - which covers development and management of all the office premises, automotive showrooms, retail outlets, logistic and distribution centers and staff accommodation for the diverse and geographically spread activities of the Group. For all these portfolios, and thus the AFGRE business, I set the goals and objectives and formulated the business plans in accordance with the return and investment performance criteria of the shareholders. I then directed, monitored and supported my management team in the delivery of these business plans, which were both annual and on a 5-year basis. This portfolio income budget was US $70 million per annum with a portfolio value of US$450 million. Annual net income returns for 2010 from the completed projects and portfolios I was responsible for was running at US$300 million.


CEO Thomas Consultants Inc. (TCI) Development Strategists


An international consulting firm with its head office in Vancouver, Canada, specializing in determination of the optimum development strategy for the planning and development of: Shopping Centers, Mixed-Use Town Centers, Resort Retailing and Master Planning, Leisure Projects, Urban Entertainment Centers, Airports, Cruise Ship Facilities and Transit Nodes. The firm is recognized as leader in its sector having completed projects in the USA, Canada and over 30 other countries around the world.

Chief Executive Officer and half-owner
. Directing the firm’s input to its clients’ projects, including aspects such as market analysis, project positioning, merchandise strategy, tenant mix planning and general development strategy.

For 10 years I played a key role. Along with the founder of the firm, Ian Thomas, and as the co-owner, I helped build the firm to the level of international success and recognition it enjoys today. Through my leadership, engagement and performance with the firm’s clients and projects, I was instrumental in adding value to numerous key retail, entertainment, resort and mixed use projects in the USA, Canada and around the world.  The key was using my background and experience in the commercial real estate industry as a developer, investment analyst, leasing & marketing executive and asset manager to formulate development strategies for clients. I was also instrumental in instilling significant “niche” capability and creativity in the establishment of retail development masterplans and re‑development of “unique” properties, “leading-edge” properties and “problem” properties. Project values have ranged up to U.S. $1.5 billion.  For example, I was responsible for the Merchandise Mix planning for Hakata Canal City in Japan, a key flagship project in Asia. I was also instrumental in the development and mix strategy for landmark retail and mixed-use city center development projects such as Gateway in Salt Lake City and Metrotown in Vancouver.


Group Development and New Business Director, Coreprop
Retail Group Ltd.

The shopping centre development and ownership company in the Tradegro Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It developed key regional shopping centers to accommodate the holding group’s key retailers as well as for property investments for the group. It developed, leased, marketed and managed the centers after completion. It had a portfolio of 32 shopping centers valued at US$1 billion.


Group Development and New Business Director and equity owner
, responsible to Group Chairman and CEO for the creation, marketing and implementation of new shopping centre development business and the re-development and re-marketing of existing properties. Duties included the evaluation of new sites; the formulation of new or re-development project concepts; the confirmation of economic viability; the formulation and implementation of marketing strategies; the formulation and establishment of tenant mix, rental level targets; management and administration systems; the negotiation of key tenant leases; the negotiation of finance with lending institutions; and the liaison with and control of the professional team during the execution of the development projects.


  • Creation of a $330 million development portfolio which was the most significant component of group activity leading to a four times asset value growth to $1 billion within 5 years and contributed 50% to group profit.
  • My key delivery was creating the resources and systems within the company to deliver the projects; plus searching out new competitive locations and opportunities and then making them happen. Factors that contributed to my delivery success were: recruiting the right staff and training them; formulating computer models to create investment analysis and reporting systems to aid in managing the projects; plus creating a network of market intelligence sources and analysts to seek out new locations and opportunities. My projects' performance success created substantial capital gain when placed with long term investors, creating a significant track record with investors for future work.
  • Growth in development fees tripled during my tenure, recognized by feature articles in business news media.





Johannesburg, South Africa

Manager Property Development & Property Operations


Johannesburg, South Africa

Property Valuation, Leasing & Development Executive


Johannesburg, South Africa

New Property Investment Analyst

Project Manager
Commercial Property Leasing Executive