The Quarterly O c t o b e r  -  D e c e  m b er   1 9 9 8
. In Foch-Allenby

. Red miniature roses brighten up Foch street. Besides the offices, a multiplicity of shops, agencies, restaurants and cafés will enhance the pedestrian-friendly environment.

The Barghout flea market, held between November 5 and 15, offered a feel of this mixed-use environment, as shoppers, strollers and working people mingledon the streets. This time, participants held their stalls inside the restored buildings, giving a foretaste of the retail outlets, a number of which will open in Spring 1999.


On October 3, Martyr's Square hosted the Arab Dream show. Presented by a number of writers, poetsm composers and actors from various parts of the Arab world, the event was attended by thousands of people.

A festive season

The BCD extuded a festive spirit at year-end as special lighting emphasized architectural details in Foch-Allenby, and an 18 m-high Christmas tree was installed in Martyr's Square, surrounded by an attractive design of shrubs, trees and plants.

Santa Claus came to Fich street in December, offering prizes to twenty-five children who had been chosen by lottery among finalists of the l'Orient-Le Jour / Air France competition. The prize was a five-day trip to Paris.

During the month of Ramadan, Foch-Allenby has been lively at night, as strollers enjoy wandering among shops and food stalls.

C h i l d r e n   i n   t h e   B C D
The two BCD schools, Al-Ahliah and Ecole des Soeurs de Besancon, both long-established institutions, opened their gate at the start of the academic year. Renovation, expansion and modernized curricula in these schools are expected to invigorate educational life in the city center.

At walking distance from the two schools, children from everywhere will be able to enjoy an educational exhibition at Planet Discovery, opening on January 21, 1999. Temporarily set up on Omar Daouk street in the Starco area, the exhibition will later be a permanent feature in the Souks.

Schoolchildren from the Lycée Franco-Libanais in Beirut came to explore the city center in November. Escorted by their teachers, the 8-and9-year olds were taught how to use maps to orient themselves. They looked for various streets, sites, public and religious monuments, and noted them on their maps.
The children found the BCD model in Foch-Allenby a helpful reference. At Nejmeh square, they counted the number of streets leading to the square, and learned to read the Roman numbers on the tower clock, as part of their homework.

C o n f e r e n c e s

The University of York post-war reconstruction and development unit (PRDU) made its academic field trip to Lebanon this year. The program included a three-day workshop jopintly organized by SOLIDERE and PRDU. Feld in December around the theme 'Reconnecting Beirut Central District: Cross-cultural exchanges of experiences', the workshop provided an excellent forum for dialogue between the PRDU group and SOLIDERE. Of particular interest was the innovative institutional framework for BCD reconstruction and the extent to which such a model could be transferred to other situations of postwar recovery.

UN House hosted a number of conferences in the last quarter. At the Habitat conference, Oussama Kabbani, head of urban management at SOLIDERE, presented the BCD reconstruction as a case study of 'public-private partnership'

R e a l   E s t a t e
The Souks of Beirut
As the south car park construction proceeds, the design of the souks proper has been finalized and bids for the gold souks, the supermarket and the entertainment center are being reviewed.

Works on the north car park and its superstructure, the department store and the multi-purpose building, started off successfully, with completion expected by end 1999.

Souks project construction site.
Souks project construction site.

Government buildings
Construction of the new Ministry of Finance started in November, following the contract award to A.R. Hourie. The building, to be delivered by the start of the year 2000, will have a 49,000 sq m floor space consisting of 14 upper-level and 6 underground floors including a conference room seating 580 people and 4,400 sq m for archives.

Shoring and excavation for the Ministry of Interior are finished, and the construction contract award is expected by the beginning of 1999.

Works on the three SOLIDERE Serail hill buildings are advancing, with completion targeted for end 1999.

Saifi residential complex
Construction has reached ground level on most sites of the Saifi residential complex, with delivery to start by early 2000. Serious indications of interest have been received for the apartments. Conveniently located, they offer an attractive design, modern comfort and management within a pleasant neighborhood.

R e s t o r a t   i o n
With the on-going restoration of more than 182 buildings, BCD neighborhoods are regaining their oroginal character. In Saifi and Wadi Abou Jamil, residential project designs ally modern features with preserved Lebanese or Levantine architecture. The rich variety of architectural expressions in the BCD is also illustrated by French mandate portals and arcaded streets in the Foch-Allenby and Maarad areas.

After the delivery in 1998 of the Ottoman Grand Serail, restoration of the Beirut Municipality, another architectural landmark in the city, will start in 1999, with delivery due by the middle of the year 2000.

SOLIDERE is undertaking the formidable project of developing a modern extension to the traditional BCD on 61 hectares of reclaimed land. This land will form the city center's new waterfront and will accomodate a modern financial and business district and a luxury residential area, with two marinas, a waterside park, a corniche promenade and leisure activities. Heavy engineering works are under way, involving treatment, reclamation, sea defense and marina construction.


Marine works
Impressive activity can be observed at the marine works site, where construction of the sea defense structure is making headway.

Facing the planned western marina, 'accropodes' (concrete blocks purpose-designed for the protection of coastal areas) and rocks are gradually being placed on the western breakwater, with more than 70% of the works completed.

Dredging works were over in December, opening the way for construction of the first defense line protecting the land: a submerged reef comprising a core of sand protected by two filter layers with a top layer of natural rocks.

Construction of the second defense line continues, with 20 caissons already positioned and filled with sandand concrete.

Marine works are due for delivery in April 2000, with the western marina civil works scheduled for completion in June 1999.

Marina design
SOLIDERE is currently reviewing the bids for the design of the western marina. The contract, expected to be signed in January 1999, will be awarded to one of three short-listed US companies: Hallmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK), EDAW and Sasaki.

Land treatment and reclamation
Treatment of the original landfill area was completed in November, allowing the installation of infrastructure. Backfilling continues and has reached 50 hectares out of the 61 hectares that will form the entire reclaimed land. The materials sorting plant was tested before year end

New Seafront exhibition
An exhibition center to be set up in the Starco area will familiarize visitors with the marine works, land treatment and reclamation projects. The projects' designs, technologies and construction stages will be explained through user-friendly maquettes, panels and a simulation model showing the mechanics of the sea defense structure. A general maquette of the waterfront will be added upon completion of the marina design. The exhibition center will be linked to Planet Discovery by a semicircular esplanade and a landscaped garden, and will include a restaurant.

A non-smoking workplace

OLIDERE's premises are a non-smoking area, according to a policy initiated in November: Smoking cessation assistance was provided by Kathleen Weeks from the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

O t h e r    S OL I D E R E   s t a f  f   n e w s
The SOLIDERE standard construction contract, based on FIDIC (Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseils) conditions, was updated at the issue of a four-day training session held in November. The amendments introduced espacially concerned claims handling procedures. Land development project managers, lawyers and risk management staff attended the session . Chairing it was Dr. Nael Bunni, an acclaimed Irish expert acting as international arbitrator in litigation involving engineering issues.

Property and services management staff attended a three-day maintenance audit wokshop, conducted by teh PricewaterhouseCoopers' International Center of Excellence in Maintenance Management in Canada.

In a move towards increasing efficiently, especially in communications, the Company provided its employees with new software and appropriate training enabling them to use, among other things, internal and external electronic mail

On November 27, the SOLIDERE football team won second place in the Independence Round organized by the Burj Hammoud municipality.

The BCD in the world
Waterfront 98 conference

The BCD was one of five international case studies presented at the 'Waterfront 98' conference held in October 1998 in Cardiff (UK). The conference, which addresses waterfront development challenges and issues, was attended by 24 delegates from 7 countries.

Angus Gavin, planning advisor to the Company chairman, presented a lecture entitled the 'Rebirth of Beirut - the making of a new urban waterfront'.

Mr. Gavin stressed the private institutional framework for BCD development and highlighted SOLIDERE's role, approach and achievements in the creation of a whole new downtown waterfront district in Beirut.

IMA exhibition in Paris

Archeology in the BCD is an important element of the six-month exhibition, Liban, l'autre rive, currently held at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris. Inaugurated on October 26, the exhibition features a display of BCD excavations and major findings. SOLIDERE archeology consultant Hareth Boustany will participate in one of the seminars organized around the exhibition.

Arthaud Lebanon book

Written by Hareth Boustany, the recently published Arthaud guide-book includes a section on BCD reconstruction and development, with a special emphasis on its rich archeological heritage.