|BIEL real-estate expo targets GCC investors
|The annual Dream Development and Real Estate meeting combined with the Banks and Insurance exposition opened at BIEL Wednesday, offering a wide base of developmental industries to potential investors and individual buyers.
Tourism Minister Joseph Sarkis presided over the opening ceremony, welcoming over 40 banks, insurance and real estate firms, and media outlets from across the region. The turnout was light, but most of the miniature apartment complexes and super-malls on display were not geared toward the average Lebanese.
Ramy al-Zein, a marketing representative for Dubai Islamic Bank subsidiary Deyaar Properties, said the UAE-based developer has been investing in high-end residential properties in Lebanon in response to high demand among Gulf nationals.
"A lot of GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] nationals have taken Lebanon as a second home, some of our clients spend at least nine months here," Zein said.
Deyaar is currently building two exclusive villa compounds in the mountains and another upscale apartment complex in Saifi village.
"Because of prices and the way the facilities and buildings were designed, we hope to attract mostly GCC nationals," he said. "I don't think the Lebanese would be interested - the interior design was conceived with GCC nationals in mind."
Zein added prices have been increasing steadily over the past year, estimating at least a 25-percent rise in demand since 2005.
Although many of the banks advertised individual loans, the conference was more of an industry event, with a number of projects based in Dubai or Jordan seeking heavy investment or development partners.
"We operate mainly in Dubai and we have some buildings in India, but we're hoping to attract investors to buy into Dubai because it's a great investment opportunity," said Azam Pirani, director of sales for Desert Dream Real Estate.
Martina Rohel, marketing manager for Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group, which is developing City of Arabia in DubaiLand, said the company is testing the local waters.
"This is our first time in Lebanon, so we're launching the project and developing first of all the network of various real estate agents here in Lebanon, and then looking for end users and investors," she said.
The Daily Star