April - June 2000
A successful infill: Saifi Village

Saifi Village is taking shape, as it gets ready to welcome its first residents by the end of the year.
Conveniently located at the southeastern edge of the city center, the 134 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments afford comfortable, modern living in an elegant and pleasing residential environment. This housing is in the mid-price range and about half the available space has already been let or sold during construction. Potential users have been given the choice between a simple lease, a lease with an option to buy within three years, or an outright sale with payment facilities  of up to ten years, while cash sales benefit from a 5% price rebate.
Saifi Village epitomizes the Company's approach to traditional residential neighborhoods, based on a sector plan that takes into account the neighborhood's preserved fabric.
Tight design guidelines are applied in Saifi, to secure careful, contextual infill development. Measures to exclude through-traffic and a network of green spaces and pedestrian ways are destined to create a total residential environment, services by local shops, cafés, sports and recreation facilities.
SOLIDERE is infilling this area of many restored buildings with new apartment blocks. Based on a concept by Francois Spoerry, inspired by the vernacular architecture characterizing Saifi, the project's design draws on the scale and rhythm of existing buildings, thus reinforcing the sense of place.
Saifi Village consists of 16 buildings forming four clusters which extend along six streets. Their scale is broken, vertically and horizontally, to match the urban context. The design thus gives the impression of small-scale street architecture built up over time. Vertically, bulk is reduced through the articulation of volumes and the use of color. The facades are gradually being painted in harmonious pastel tones, blending with the palette used in the restored buildings, to which was added brown. Within the facade, the pattern of openings is inspired by rhythms encountered in the preserved fabric of the neighborhood. While horizontal continuity is ensured at the ground floor level, the facade treatment is differentiated at higher levels, by using horizontal elements and setting back the upper floors.
An important part of the scheme is the central courtyard, landscaped as a garden and linked to a network of walkways connecting between the blocks. Accordingly, the backs of buildings constitute an important elevation as a garden and living room facade
Other successful infills
The development destined for embassy use provides another example of  SOLIDERE infills. lying next to the Grand Serail, its seaward facade forms a neat modern, white backdrop to the Wadi Abou Jamil context of cascading, traditional, pastel-colored houses.
At the western end of Weygand street, on the fringe of the Conservation Area, Audi Bank represents a transition between old and new. A reconstituted elaborate Ottoman building on its Bab Idriss corner helps reestablish the historic gateway square. The main facade, glass bridging elements serve to break down the scale , contrasting with the building's traditional stone cladding.
The Atrium building, at the crossing of Maarad-Allenby and Weygand streets, responds in scale and detail to the homogeneity of the Maarad street facades and continuous colonnade, while offering a contemporary expression to its Weygand street frontage, facing the new Souks of Beirut.
Spiritual, symbolic and other events

The Maronite St George cathedral was reopened after four years of restoration work, following a 25-year closure due to damage during the war. The consecration and inauguration ceremony took place on St George's Day on April 24, also Easter Monday. The mass, conducted by the Maronite Patriarch. Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, was attended by the archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, and other distinguished guests, as well as a large crowd extending outside, in front of the church.
Prior to the inauguration ceremony, Cardinal Sfeir toured Beirut city center, accompanied by former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, SOLIDERE vice-president Maher Beydoun, Beirut governor Yacoub Sarraf and members of the Beirut municipality.

On April 21, the Lebanese diva Fayrouz interpreted to the faithful the traditional Good Friday chants in the St Louis Capuchin church.
Nejmeh Square was the scene of a peaceful demonstration in memory of the start of Lebanon's war on April 13, 1975. Signatures were gathered from people from all walks of life declaring the end of the war. Among them was Chairman Nasser Chammaa.
Martyr's day was commemorated in Martyr's square on May 6.
Beirut city center was closed to traffic in the morning of April 2, for the Terry Fox Run. This non-competitive event attracted an excellent  turnout of participants to  run or walk 10 Kilometers around the city center, in support of cancer research.

Starting a new culture of peace and non-violence, 1000 students from the graduating classes of Saints-Coeurs schools entered Martyrs' square waving flags from the five continents, preceded by the Lebanese flag. They walked to St George's cathedral where mass was celebrated by Mgr Paul Mattar, Maronite archbishop of Beirut.
At UN House, seven conferences were held by ESCWA during the quarter.
The Grand Theatre was visited by Francophone writers marking the Francophone Day on May 1. A preview of an art exhibition in acrylics, by Rana Raouda, was held in the Bang & Olufsen showroom in Riad El Solh street on June 1 to 3. The 24th Lebanon automobile rally, held on June 30, Started in Riad El Solh Square

General meeting

Held on June 30, 2000, SOLIDERE's annual shareholders' ordinary general meeting, presided by chairman and general manager Nasser Chammaa and attended by the Board of Directors, took the following resolutions:
- to approve the auditors' report and the financial statements for the year 1999; to transfer 10% of the year's net income to legal reserve, in accordance with article 58 of the Company regulations, and to transfer the undistributed 1999 net income to retained earnings.
- to grant the chairman and members of the board the authorizations stipulated in Articles 1158 and 159 of the Commercial Code, and to ratify the agreements entered between the Company and various Board members in the past year.
- to clear the chairman and members of the board of any liability for matters relating to the management of the Company in 1999.
- to defer the discussion of the sale of lot 651 Zokak El Blatt to a special meeting, to be convened upon completion of the relevant information.
- to elect the following 11 members of the board of directors: Messrs. Nasser Cammaa, Maher Beydoun, Bassile Yared, Sami Nahas, Nabil Boustany, Fouad El Khazen, Raphael Sabbagha, Maher Daouk, Abdel Hafiz Mansour, Joseph Asseily and Sarkis Demirjian. On the other hand, Mr. Mosbah Kanafani was appointed as the representative of the State and the Beirut municipality on the Board of directors, by Council of Ministers' decree No 3228 dated June 16, 2000.
- to reappoint Arthur Andersen and Deloite & Touche as the Company's auditors.

Chairman's letter

Beirut has acquired a functioning and beautiful central district. New infrastructure has been laid in the traditional city center, enhanced by high-quality finishing and landscaping. The value added to an already privileged site has encouraged property restoration, development and occupation. Intense activity meanwhile heralds the creation of a waterfront district, extending the city center by 64.5 hectares on reclaimed land. This highly positive record should not be overshadowed by the setback suffered in the last 24 months, especially the contraction in activities and poor results registered by SOLIDERE in the past fiscal year.
In the current economic context, we are maintaining our cautious attitude. Streamlining measures should further reduce our overheads by US$4.3 million in the year 2000. Our borrowing will not exceed 25% of our equity, as the heavy expenditure program is now coming to an end with the completion of Phase One of the BCD land development. Debt servicing should not pose any major problems, being of moderate size until the year 2003, at which stage we expect to be deriving new revenues from such completed projects as the Souks of Beirut, the residential buildings and the Beirut Marina.
Adapting our real estate strategy to the changed circumstances, we will focus on providing quality residential facilities; new and restored, a product already well received by the market. Enticing discounts are being offered to retail and office space tenants. We will continue to grant payment facilities on our sales of land, as is buildings, restored or developed properties. Meanwhile, we are identifying new market opportunities and accordingly adjusting the timing and land use of a number of our projects. Some stalled projects have thus been revived, while others may be delayed or even cancelled.
As we preserve in our efforts to resolve outstanding issues with public authorities, we are also confident in our ability to weather short-term market and liquidity problems. As the major owner and developer of one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the region, SOLIDERE continues to be a robust company and its middle and long-term growth prospects are quite bright.