the Middle East and Africa, right before Tel Aviv, Dubai, Istanbul and Johannesburg.
In last year’s survey, Beirut was the 28th most expensive city worldwide
and the second most expensive in the region.
|Beirut has been ranked as the
world’s 23rd most expensive city for office locations, according to a 2003
survey conducted by property consultants Cushman & Wakefield Healy & Baker.
Beirut, once the “Pearl of the Orient,” was also ranked as the most
expensive city in
Real estate in Lebanon went through very different phases. In the early nineties
the sector was pushing the whole economy with extensive reconstruction programs,
and buildings were erected all over the country.The problem is that most of the
buildings were addressed to the upper class and to Gulf investors, when the demand
was ranging from small to medium sizes apartments. This led to a severe recession
that isn't over yet. The market lacked liquidity, and prices went down. The result
is that owners didn't want to sell at prices that were judged far under the real
Now the market is showing positive signs of recovery. Real Estate is shifting
from a family owned business to a professionally run one. The best example is
that investors are now conducting surveys and market researches before they start
building. This was not the case a few years ago. Another positive sign is the
return of international investors to Beirut Central District. Virgin, Ericsson,
and almost all the leading financial institutions of the country have established
their Head or Regional offices in this area. And the huge effort that has been
consented by the country to re-attract investors is about to give its fruits.
This success is not so surprising : Lebanon has many advantages for large corporations.
The geographic situation makes it a privilege gateway to all the Arab countries,
and the Lebanese way of life is more attractive for European than the one that
can be enjoyed in other neighbouring countries. On top of this, the banking laws
can be considered as a plus for foreign companies willing to expand their activities
in the region.
The future can be seen with optimism as many important projects are still on an
ascendant phase. In Beirut Central District a "chain reaction" can be
expected : the more companies and governmental institution will be established
there, the more attractive the district will be for the others. In addition, the
dragging effect is not limited to the central district, the bordering areas such
as Sodeco, Hamra, Verdun and Tabaris are benefiting from the boost.
Two marinas will welcome the boats and will be surrounded by shops and restaurants.The
city centre already attracts the public back in what was one the world's biggest
building site, only few years ago. Green spaces, wide access roads will contribute
to give back the pride of their capital to the Lebanese people.
||Today, the major projects in Lebanon are :
- Beirut Central District
Partly destroyed during the war, this area is the financial heart of the city.
The Société Libanaise pour le Développement et la Reconstruction
(solidere) has been created to rebuild this Beirutins beloved area.
Approximately 58 percent of the Beirut Central District’s (BCD’s)
342,589 square meters of office space is occupied, according to a survey released
in December by RAMCO real estate consultants. The Beirut-based group said that
there are 119 office buildings in the BCD, with 30 of them, (or 25 percent) fully
occupied and 44 buildings, (or 37 percent) completely vacant.
In July 2002, the $52.5 million sale of a parking lot in Riad Solh Square has
led to one of the most ambitious projects in downtown Beirut.
The lot will be part of a 50,000 square-meter space slated to become a state-of-the-art
mixed-use facility that will include a shopping center, movie theaters, a hotel,
apartments, condominiums, a health club and an office building.
The main attraction of the project may not be the shopping centre, which might
be held by an international anchor tenant, nor the movie theatres, but the building
itself. Jean Nouvel, an internationally renowned architect, has been asked to
prepare a design for "a modern architectural icon for Beirut".
We have seen the development of this project in Dbayeh with the marina and
all the space gained on the sea. In addition, the waste dump has been treated
and on an environmental point of view this is a step toward a clean Lebanon.
Water treatment also represents a major stake for the country. It is worth saying
that Lebanon is the only water self-sufficient country in the region. Water is
a major concern and a strategic asset. It is beginning to be considered as a precious
good and water treatment works have been conducted in order to guarantee a non
polluted domestic and industrial water supply.
Today Lebanon has a far better infrastructure than 5 years ago. The time when
two hours drive were a minimum from Beirut to Jounieh are over. If the same progresses
can be achieved in the 5 coming years, the country will have recovered most of
the quality of life that has made its fame in the past.