New business and retail activities are establishing
themselves in Beirut city center, adding to its commercial life.
Virgin Megastore has taken a twelve-year lease in the Opera building
in Martyrs' Square. The Megastore offers a variety of CDs, videos,
DVDs, books and multimedia software. The Beirut store, also
including a restaurant and coffee shop, is expected to open in
Transmed company, agent of Procter & Gamble Middle East,
has acquired building 225 on Foch street, to be used as its
New international brands include Versace for Lebanon and the
Middle East, opening in November in the Farra building on Allenby
street; and Mont Blanc in the Stephan building on Weygand street.
Zeidan Jewelers, George Hakim and Har-men Jewelers,
Vienna shoes and the Atrium Café are joining Cercle Hitti Roche
Bobois on the ground floor of the Atrium building. On the upper
floors, Comeca France provides consulting and Fares Ltd (Sydney)
real estate services. American Express, Bank of New York and Merrill
Lynch are also taking up offices there.
Final decoration works by CCF Finance M.O. (Crédit
Commercial de France Finance Middle East) prepare for its imminent
move to the Riszkallah building in the Foch-Allenby area. Banque
Européenne pour le Moyen-Orient (BEMO) has rented a floor in the
Asseily building or Riad El Solh Square, where Bankers' Assurance is
moving its headquarters. Al Mashrek Insurance is developing a
recently acquired plot of land in Saifi. 34 banks and 12 insurance
companies are now established in Beirut city center. Among regional
and international financial institutions, the Arab Stock Exchange
Federation, relocating from Cairo to Beirut, is taking up its base
in the Starco building by year-end.
Librairie Antoine bookshop has also opened in Starco,
bringing to four the number of downtown bookstores.
Italy is in fashion in Beirut city center. New Italian
restaurants are II Parlamento restaurant on Maarad street, and
Coppadelio, with an outdoor terrace, in the Lazarieh building on
Emir Bechir street. Shogun is a Japanese restaurant in Maarad
street, and Balthus a French restaurant in the Ghandour building on
Zeytoune street. Other French restaurants being established downtown
include Lina's Sandwiches at street level, in SOLIDERE's building
I48 in the Foch-Allenby area.
The city center counts seven airline companies. Newcomers
include Kuwait Airways in the Arab Bank building on Riad El Solh
Square, and Royal Jordanian Airlines in the Jordan National Bank
building on Weygand street.
Other trading and service companies include The Repro House,
specialized in pre-press production, which operates from its
Lazarieh building premises. In building 224 in the
Foch-Allenby area, Cynergie s.a.l offers hospitality services,
Gilbert Khoury information technology, and Karim Fallaha fuel and
In parallel to the revival of commercial and institutional
activity, Beirut city center is witnessing the emergence and
re-emergence of residential neighborhoods.
in the City Center
housing supply is meeting with success, despite the general economic
slowdown. This suggests the existence of a pent-up demand for the
type of products it is offering: a range of apartments of various
size, in new or restored buildings, combining contextual
architecture with modern comfort and security, elegant interiors and
The 66 apartments booked to this date in Saifi Village (cover
and top right), represent 56% of the total floor space. This
30,000-sq m cluster development is quickly progressing towards
delivery, starting year-end.
Another 47 apartments have been leased or sold by the Company
in its restored buildings, in Saifi and Zokak El Blatt. They
represent 7800 sq m, 94% of the restored residential space available
Alternative residential products are being created in various
areas by other developers. Two developments in Park Boulevard will
offer views on the sea, the waterside park and the city center.
Initially intended as an office block, the Park View Realty project
(middle right) has seen its design changed to residential use, in
response to market demand. The Karim Fahmi Karagulla project
commands the important corner of Park boulevard and Park avenue. The
Marina Towers development, jointly designed with the Four Seasons
hotel, will have access to the Beirut Marina.
shares were actively traded during this quarter, as prices reached
six-month highs of US$8 1/4 for share and US$8 5/8 for share B.
Profit taking pulled the shares slightly lower towards the
end of the quarter. Share A closed at US$71/2, at the
same level as the second quarter closing; while share B closed at
US$73/8, representing a 6.3% decrease compared to the
previous quarter closing price. The breadth of the market remained
negative, with sell volume outnumbering buy volume by a 9 to 4