The Quarterly J u l y   -  S e p t e m b e r   1 9 9 8
A  p l a c e   f o r   a l l   t o   b e   b l e s s e d

The BCD is regaining its role as a meeting place for all religions, as mosques and churches have started to draw increasing numbers of worshippers. SOLIDERE has encouraged the restoration of religious sites. In this respect, US$150.000 were presented to Reverend Habib Badr for the reconstruction of the National Evangelical Church in Zokak El Blatt.

Reverend Habib Badr receives the donation from Mr. Chamaa
Reverend Habib Badr receives the donation from Mr. Chamaa
Al Omari mosque Preparing for prayer at Al Omari mosque...
and Emir Munzer mosque.
Church wedding
Church wedding.
Emir Munzer mosque
Urban village

An urban village is developing in the Saifi neighborhood.
Pastel colors give it a summer look, justifying its name.
Some nineteenth century buildings have been restored to their former beauty.

C u l t u r a l   l i f e

SOLIDERE is contemplating a number of projects destined to enhance cultural life in the BCD.

Planet Discovery
SOLIDERE signed in August 1998 a contract with the French Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie de la Villette for the opening of Planet Discovery.

As of December 1998, Planet Discovery will offer children between the ages of 3 and 14 an interactive tour through scientific and physical experiments relating to the school curriculum and enriched by historical presentations in French, English and Arabic. Facilities will be offered for the handicapped and for the visually impaired. including tri-lingual braille.

Covering 1,200 sq m on Omar Daouk Street, in the Starco area, Planet Discovery will accommodate a cafeteria and gift shop, as well as additional space for special events.

Other cultural projects
Other plans include:

  • An archeological trail linking such sites as the Roman Baths, Various mosques, churches and monuments, Nejmeh square and the Persian-Phoenician site to be integrated within the Souks of Beirut.
  • The Grand Theatre. This building, built in the 1930s, is distinguished by the sculptures engraved in its columns, each representing a kind of Lebanese fruit fruit, vegetable or cereal.

The Company is also envisaging:

  • An art gallery.
  • A city museum, which would be integrated in the archeological trail, and where visitors would be guided through the different archeological ages of Beirut, ranging from the Canaanite and Phoenician to the Ottoman. A proposal submitted early July is currently under study.
Public Art
As part of encouraging public art, SOLIDERE has commissioned Salwa Rawda Choucair to create art work for the public space in front of UN House.

The Company has also commissioned the restoration of the Martyrs' monument, which will be reinstalled in Martyrs' Square on Lebanon's Independence Day on November 22.Statue of former premier Riad El Solh - Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Mr. Chamaa

The statue of former premier Riad El Solh returned to its place after restoration.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Mr. Chamaa in the foreground, the statue is protected during works.

A   b u s i n e s s   c e n t e r

As a multi-use environment, the BCD incorporates an expanding business and financial center, mostly concentrated in and around Riad El Solh street, also known as Banking street.
A   t i m e   f o r   l e i s u re

The BCD hosted during the thir quarter a number of events. Two photo exhibitions, by Roger Moukarzel and Clara Gebrane, took place in July, as part of the Lebanese Photography Month. Another event was the 1998 Elite Model Look on August 6, during which a candidate was elected to represent Lebanon in the Miss Elite Model Look World 1998.

From August 27 to September 26 on Thursdays, the Jazz and Blues nights featured some of Lebanon's best bands, as well as the Berlin-based quintet Jazz Indeed, performing live in Foch-Aleenby. On three of these days, street art completed the ambience, as Danish artists painted views of the BCD reconstruction.

Awaiting the fashion show, enjoying jazz and strolling in Foch-Allen by, in the Roman bath garden and the Serail hill.


Awaiting the fashion show, enjoying jazz and strolling in Foch-Allenby, in the Roman bath garden and the Serail hill.

R e a l   E s t a t e
Beirut Trade Center
The construction, pre-leasing and financing documentation for the development of the Beirut Trade Center was completed during the third quarter, with the closing of all agreements expected in October 1998. The development is due for delivery by mid-2001.

The design-and-build contract is being finalized with the joint venture Binladin/Al Mabani. The US company Turner/Steiner is teaming up with the joint venture, contributing its expertise in high-rise building and co-managing the construction operation.

The method of demolition of the existing structure, presumably using the explosion technology, is being assessed jointly by the project consultants and specialized firms to whom the work will be subcontracted.

To be developed, SOLIDERE has formed an SAL with a total funding of US$130 million, comprising equity and debt finance. Debt finance will consist of a US$60 million senior loan, already secured, and of a US$20 million 15-year subordinated loan.

60% of the office space space has been pre-leased, with Société Générale Libano-Européenne de Banque, Binladin/Al Mabani and SOLIDERE as anchor tenants in the development.

Saifi residential complex
Targeted for completion by end 1999, construction of the Saifi residential complex is advancing on schedule, with rapid progress in the substructure.q22.jpg (19664 bytes)

The Souks of Beirut
As construction of the south car-park progresses, bids for the supermarket and the gold souks are under evaluation and tenders for the souks proper are about to be issued.

SOLIDERE has awarded GENECO (General Construction and Contracting Company) the contract for the construction of the northern car-park and its superstructure, the department store and the multi-use building. Works were launched beginning of September. Bids for the entertainment center are currently being reviewed.

Government buildings
Mobilization has started on the sites of the three Serail hill buildings after the awarding of contracts to Bureau d'Etudes et Travaux Hydrautiques-Electriques for blocks 58. Bids are being reviewed both for the Finance and Finance and Interior ministries.

New projects in the BCD

A rental market is quickly emerging in the Beirut Central District. In addition to a core of 1,811 former tenants having declared their intention to recuperate their leases, new tenants are expressing interest in the buildings being delivered by SOLIDERE and others.
The Company's launching of its property management services in August 1998, falls within its strategy to promote the rental market and enhance the BCD.
The imminent delivery of the Foch-Allenby area and the quality of its restoration are prompting several groups to establish themselves there.
Cuisine, Culture, Tradition et Passion sarl (Faouzi Abou Khalil) are setting up a Lebanese restaurant in lot 130.
Mr. Ghazi Taher is opening a French restaurant in lot 1137.
Eid Group (Ralpf Eid) is established a boutique in lot 142.
Johnny Farah, owner of IF... Boutique, will set up a branch of IF in lot 157.
Consult Group (Walid Ali Ahmad) is opening a restaurant in lot 148. The group has also leased a plot of land in the Ghalghoul area for a Johnny Rockets restaurant and a drive-in movie theater.
In addition, Mr. Elie Selwan purchased from SOLIDERE a plot of land in Saifi, which will be developed into a commercial and residential building.

L a n d  D e v e l o p m e n t

Marine works
The sea defense structure is advancing on three levels. 'Acropodes' and rocks are being placed on the western breakwater. Dredging works are preparing for the construction of the submerged reef. In parallel, works are proceeding on the second defense line: 81 reinforced concrete caissons, weighing 2,500 tons each, are successively cast on land, launched into the seabed and filled with sand and concrete; the first caissons has been installed.

Land treatment
Civil works for the waste sorting plant and its installation have been completed. The experimental period is planned for October.

Infrastructure in the traditional BCD
Due for completion in November 1998, infrastructure works in the traditional BCD are currently at their final phase, involving mainly street finishing and the installation of sidewalks. The paving of Nejmeh Square and its six surrounding streets covers 9,900 sq m. Basalt and white granite stones were skillfully used to recreate the traditional Beirut paving.

More than 400 trees have been planted along Martyrs' Square, Bechara El Khoury and Fouad Chebab avenues, including about ninety magnolia and a hundred bougainvillea trees, chosen for their flowering during summer and spring.

A Levantine hilltown: Wadi Abou Jamil

ectoral planning is proceeding in Wadi Abou Jamil, in response to market interest. The area is planned as a residential district, with a mix of town houses, low-rise apartment buildings, schools, community-related shops and open spaces.
   Wadi Abi Jamil offers a unique architectural townscape, with a topography cascading towards the sea, and commands a strategic location between the Serail and the Hotel district.
   A careful integration of open spaces into the residential fabric will be achieved through private gardens, pedestrian alleys and small public open spaces and piazzas. Street finishing and urban furniture will be designed to resemble the turn-of-the-century style.
   A rich and harmonious mix will be provided between new and preserved buildings, the latter usually enjoying high ceilings in addition to generous verandahs, loggias, balconies and private gardens.
   In order to preserve and reinforce the area's Levantine identity, new developments will be made of high quality Eastern Mediterranean vernacular stone, with pitched, tiled terra-cotta roofs.


V i s i t s
During his stay in Lebanon between August 3 and 6, UN General Assembly president Hennadi Oudovenko declared: "The UN plays a very important role in Lebanon, which has been translated into the ESCWA's return to Beiut, a city that is being increasingly transformed into a regional center", later adding that he was "impressed by the speed of reconstruction. And it is important not only for Lebanon but also for the entire world."
Prince Albert de Monaco.Prince Albert of Monaco maintained a similar standpoint when he said, during his September visit, that he was happy to witness the country's dynamic reconstruction, especially during his tour of the BCD.
   Other visitors to the BCD during the third quarter include:
-The Armenian prime minister.Armenian prime minister Armin Darbinian.
-Romanian prime minister Rado Vassili.
-Kuwaiti minister of information Yousef Al Samit.
-Tunisian minister of finance Mohammed El Jari.
-Omanin minister of environment Khamis bin Moubarak al Alaoui.
-Bahreini minister of commerce Saleh Saleh.
-Ghanian minister of commerce John Frank Abou.
-US senator Gary Hart.
-A US delegation headed by senator Chuck Hagel.
-Canadian minister of public affairs Alfonso Ghaliano.
-Parliamentary delegations from Australia, Ireland and Switzerland.
-Senegal first lady Elizabeth Diouf.
-Mohammad Hasanein Heikal, former editor of Al Ahram.
-A US business group comprising Thomas Barrack, president and CEO of Colony Capital, David Bonderman, chairman of Teaxas Pacific and of Continental Airlines, in addition to Mr. Simon-Xavier Guerrand-Hermès.
-A number of businessmen from Europe and Africa.
-Various UN agencies officials.
-250 German musicians from the Stuttgart Orchestra.
-A number of European and American journalists.
B e i r u t   a n d    B C D   i n   t h e   w o r l d

Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA)
6,000 years of civilization in Lebanon will be the main theme of Liban, l'autre rive, a 6-month exhibition starting on October 26 at the IMA in Paris. One room will be devoted exclusively to excavations in the Beirut Central District. A film will be presented featuring BCD reconstruction and excavations.

SOLIDERE archaeology consultant Hareth Boustany will co-author a book named after IMA exhibitions, as well as author a guide on Lebanon to be published by Flammarion and launched on October 28.