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Sat 21 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Beirut Gate launch restores faith

Four firms are brought in to draw up designs as ADIH and Solidere aim to boost the reconstruction effort in Lebanon

Four architects have been commissioned to draw up plans for the US $600 million (LBP906 billion) Beirut Gate development – the first new major development to get underway since the Israeli invasion.

French architect Christian de Potzempark, US-based Arquitectonica, and Nabil Gholam and Erga Group of Lebanon will finalise the masterplan for the development.

The Abu Dhabi Investment House (ADIH) project will form part of the Beirut Central District, known as Solidere.

The development will comprise eight plots spread over 21,448m2 and a built-up area of 178,500m2 overlooking the famous Martyrs’ Square.

Nicholas Fraser, ADIH’s executive director of real estate, said: “We are excited that this project is ready to proceed. Beirut Gate will be an exceptional project and we are confident that it has long-term value, which will deliver healthy and sustained returns to investors.”

Around 120,000m2 of residential space will be built, comprising two to five-bedroom apartments and duplexes. There are also plans to develop 25,000m2 of retail space on the site.

Solidere chairman, Dr Nasser Chammaa, said: “This massive project is an important display of confidence in Beirut and a huge boost for the economy of Lebanon and Beirut city centre.

“We are confident Beirut city centre reconstruction will remain an attractive and profitable magnet for real estate investment, and today’s announcement underlines this.”

Final plans for the project will be submitted to master developer Solidere next week for approval, and these will in turn be lodged with municipal authorities.

“I would say that they [Solidere] will do everything they can to get this moving. That is what they have said and I think they mean it, because they know they need to give a vote of confidence to the country,” added Fraser.

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