Beirut Hilton rises from the ashes

08 March 2002

A joint venture of the US' Controlled Demolitionand the local Optimal Engineering Companyhas started demolition of the Beirut Hilton, clearing the way for a $75 million rebuilding project. The original hotel was due to open in April 1975, but was abandoned at the outbreak of civil war. A Saudi-led investment group bought the property in downtown Beirut in 1980 and has been waiting for the right economic conditions to rebuild the seafront hotel (MEED 27:10:00).

Upon completion of the demolition and clearing work, expected to last six months, Societe Mediterraneene des Grands Hotelswill issue two tenders for shoring works and construction of a new 425-room hotel. The building is expected to follow a similar design to the original 400-room, 20-floor Hilton. The owner has also purchased a neighbouring plot of land which will be used for leisure facilities, including a swimming pool. The project consultant is the local Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners).

Property prices have soared to their highest recorded level in Beirut, local contractors say, boosted by an influx of money from the Gulf. Some 70,000 holidaymakers from GCC countries arrived in Lebanon during Eid al-Adha in February, pushing local hotels to full capacity. According to the client representative on the Hilton project, Davis Langdon Lebanon, a square metre of built-up residential property next to the hotel is worth about $5,000.

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