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French Version


7-Star hotel in the works for Dbayyeh ? (Daily Star)

Sources say $250m project to be built in area landfill

Many reports have been circulating
recently regarding a massive tourist
project to be built on the landfill
surrounding the Marina Joseph
Khoury in Dbayyeh.

Samih Barbir, chairman of the Investment Development Authority in Lebanon, said last month three major private sector projects worth $900 million in total - two in Dbayyeh and one in Beirut - would soon be unveiled to the public. He was not able to divulge the nature of the projects as the details were confidential.

The Daily Star, however, has discovered that one of these projects will consist of a $250 million hotel development and will be built on a large 81,000-square-meter plot in the Dbayyeh landfill, which itself was priced at $90 million. The plot, 25 percent larger than the land where the Souqs of Beirut is located, will be used to develop an ultra-luxurious 7-star hotel, residential apartments, a large mall and an entertainment and conference center.

The Burj al-Arab in Dubai is currently the only hotel in the world that markets itself as having "7-star" status, even though it is officially considered to be an ultra-luxurious 5-star hotel since no recognized 7-star ranking exists as of yet. "We offer great facilities and the best services and this is why we can be considered a 7-star hotel," said a sales manager at Burj al-Arab.

Probably the best way to put the ranking in context is to consider the price of the hotel's cheapest suite, which goes for $1,115 a night.

The main investors in the Dbayyeh development, according to sources close to the project, are from the Rusd Investment Bank - a largely Saudi-owned investment bank incorporated earlier this year in Labuan, Malaysia with a specific and dedicated mandate as one of the first Islamic private banks.

The Daily Star has also discovered through other sources that Emaar, a Dubai-based and leading real estate developer, held "serious talks" with the owners of the landfill surrounding the Marina Joseph Khoury. Whether Emaar is interested in developing a project there is still unknown, but the landfill has a total capacity of 600,000 square meters, of which 81,000 have already been reserved.

Beirut 16-08-2004
Tarek El Zein
The Daily Star



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