Council of Ministers resolved this quarter a number of outstanding
issues with SOLIDERE, some of which were described in the July -
September 2000 quarterly, and recommended further action necessary
to reach proper conclusions on other issues.
Decree 4441 dated December 14, 2000 extended for another six months
the special powers given to the High Council of Urbanism for the
interpretation of some master plan provisions.
On November 23, the Council took the following resolutions, based on
a report prepared by the Council for Development and Reconstruction,
upon the Prime Minister's request
of Ministers' resolutions
domain reconstitution, master plan amendment, 1/500 maps
The Council of Ministers entrusted to the Ministers of Public Works
and Transport, and of Internal Affairs and Municipalities, the task
of instructing the Directorate General of Urbanism to prepare 1/500
maps of the BCD, indicating SOLIDERE's private properties and the
public domain; and thereafter submitting the subject again to the
Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers approved the CDR recommendation:
- to take the necessary
measures for implementing the contents of the Directorate
General of Transport's letter No 5018 dated October 6, 1999, in
respect of vacating maritime sector 5 of the St George hotel
area master plan from its occupants; this will allow SOLIDERE to
proceed with the works it is in charge of implementing, as per
the agreement signed with the Company for the marina operation;
- to ask the Directorate
General of Transport to prepare the issuing of a decree
ratifying Council of Ministers' resolution 83 dated November 15,
1995 with regard to: considering maritime sector 5 an integral
part of the [Beirut] western marina to be operated as a whole;
and cancelling all previous decrees that had granted the
Société des Grands Hôtels d'Orient and Mr. Michel Nader the
right to occupy any maritime public domain in the St George
of the reclaimed land master plan and detailed plan (Formula One
The Council of Ministers entrusted to CDR the tasks of conducting
the necessary studies and ensuring the issuing of a decree amending
the master plan of the reclaimed land, to meet the technical
specifications required for implementing the Formula One project;
with no ensuing increase in the total land area allocated to
SOLIDERE's private ownership, as per its agreement with CDR,
ratified in decree 5665/94; or in the water sheet area of the
eastern marina, should the latter's location be modified.
of infrastructure works in the Cananean Tell area
The Council of Ministers:
- approved the
construction of two bridges, extending the roads leading from
Martyrs' Square to the Port road above the ancient Cananean Tell
area, in order to preserve the archeological site; entrusted CDR
with preparing a study for the two bridges and ensuring the
issuing of an amendment to the master plan to take account of
- entrusted CDR with:
assessing the relative construction costs of the two bridges,
and of the original course of the Cadmos road, which SOLIDERE
was in charge of building; effecting a clearing between the two
amounts; and settling any balance due after the clearing to
either of the two parties.
Square underground car park awarded BOT contract
The Council of Ministers entrusted the Minister of Justice with
preparing a report about the issue raised regarding the legality of
awarding the project on a BOT basis (to Al Khorafi & Sons, in
1997); and presenting it to the Council of Ministers, to settle the
difference of opinion prevailing between the Public Audit Fund,
which deems it necessary to draft a law to the effect, and CDR,
which advocates implementing the agreement with the contractor.
road near Phoenecia underpass (BCD western access)
The Council of Ministers
approved the construction of the road, the entrusted CDR with the
following tasks: conducting the necessary study; entrusting SOLIDERE
with implementation and taking delivery of the road after
completion, with such works to be deemed as a complement to BCD
infrastructure; and ensuring the issuing of a decree amending the St
George hotel area master plan to take account of the new road.
transformers and secondary lines to the BCD
Adopting CDR's suggestion,
the Council of Ministers prevailed on Electricité du Liban to take
the necessary steps to install transformers and secondary lines in
the BCD. EDL is to recoup related costs directly from the users
connecting their properties to the public network.
Several developments had been undertaken by SOLIDERE, within the
framework of an agreement concluded with the State in 1997. They
represented 70,000 sq m of floor space, to be pre-leased as
administrative buildings for seven years, with an option to buy at
an agreed price.
The Company engaged in
substantial works, adapting building designs to the end-users'
needs. On April 6, 1999, it was notified of the Council of
Ministers' decision to cancel the agreement.
SOLIDERE decided to proceed
with the developments near the Serail, initially destined for a
number of agencies affiliated to the Prime Minister's office, on the
basis of new land use, design and identified end-users'
However, the Company had to
stop construction works on the buildings dedicated to the Ministries
of Finance and of Internal Affairs. In the latter case, an
underground structure was executed, to provide a support system for
the deep excavation and to protect the surrounding roads.
The above stoppage or
disruption of works gave rise to several contractors' claims. The
Company is seeking compensation for damages and losses incurred as a
result of the cancellation of the above agreement with the State.
This includes the refunding of US$25 million paid to the State, in
exchange for various lots as part of a property swap falling within
the agreement. The dispute is the object of arbitration.
The various parts of
infrastructure implemented by SOLIDERE are delivered upon completion
to the State, represented by CDR. The Company has raised with the
latter the issue of its delay in receiving infrastructure.
Besides rendering site
logistics services (cleaning, safety, security, traffic management),
SOLIDERE operates and maintains at its own expense the completed
infrastructure, utilities and reconstituted public domain, until
their final handover to concerned public authorities. This includes
maintaining the irrigation station and network. The Company has
raised with the public authorities the issue of the costs incurred
in this respect, for which it intends to seek compensation.
The ongoing delay in the
infrastructure handover process in resulting in additional operation
and maintenance costs to the Company. CDR's delay in receiving the
sewage pumping station, delivered by SOLIDERE as part of the water
disposal system, also has adverse environmental consequences.
Two underground car parks,
falling under state or municipal property, were tendered out by CDR
as BOT projects. With the awarded contract for the Martyrs' Square
car park remaining unexecuted since 1997, SOLIDERE had filed a claim
for the major delays this is causing in the sector development.
The contract for the Serail hill park has not been
Proposals by SOLIDERE for
land parcellation were unduly stopped by the Directorate General of
Antiquities. The Company has claimed a US$17 million compensation
for increased infrastructure costs due to delays also attributed to
the DGA. These costs are bound to increase as long as issues remain