Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Beirut buzzing as the city builds for the future

    Just Watched

    Beirut proves its resilience

Beirut proves its resilience 03:22

Story highlights

  • Property in Beirut has grown impressively despite war in neighboring Syria
  • Real estate purchases totaled $8.7 billion in 2014 alone
  • Roughly 400 building projects are currently underway in the Lebanese capital, local experts say

If cranes are a visual barometer of the economic vibe of a city then central Beirut is buzzing.

Targeted car bombings linked to the ongoing Syrian conflict have raised anxiety and hurt overall growth in the Lebanese capital in recent years. But this seems to be a city that endures when it comes to real estate.

During the boom years towards the end of the last decade, total sales rose by 36% here hitting nearly $9.5 billion in 2010, according to Bank Audi.

And even though there was a slowdown last year, real estate purchases fell just 2.4% to $8.7 billion.

According to local property expert Freddie Baz, financial troubles elsewhere in the world have failed to dampen local or international interest in Lebanon's high end property market.

    Just Watched

    Reviving property in RAK

Reviving property in RAK 03:36
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    China pumps $650 million into Greek port

China pumps $650 million into Greek port 03:28
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Egyptian tycoon transforms military town

Egyptian tycoon transforms military town 03:46
PLAY VIDEO

"Despite figures which show some kind of slowdown or stagnation, there are 400 real estate projects which are ongoing in Beirut, corresponding to close to 2 million square meters of development," Baz said.

    One such initiative is the 3 Beirut project in the center of the city's bustling business district.

    Although a couple of years behind schedule, the structure designed by British architects Foster & Partners is comfortably selling units priced as high as $10,000 per square meter ($929 per sq ft), senior adviser to the project, Farris Fara, told CNN.

    Elsewhere, developers like Karim Basal have been throwing up boutique, modern apartments with a total area between 30 and 70 square meters to cater for modern city living.

    On the city's waterfront, meanwhile, British design firm Stow is making a statement with the edgy Le Yacht Club leisure and residence development.

    This particular area of the city has had huge support from Lebanese investors based abroad.

    Over the last 6 years, there's been nearly $100 billion of net inflows into the country, more than half of which came in the midst of the financial crisis between 2008 and 2010.

    "At the end of the day, they (Lebanese investors) are working all over the world, Europe, GCC (Gulf) countries but they all need to come and own part of the country," said general manager of Le Yacht Club, Walid Kanaan.

    Kanaan said he has sold a fifth of the flats ahead of the delayed opening in April with almost all going to Lebanese people outside the country.

    While these investors may not suffer the first hand effects of car bombs or other violent spillover from Syria, Beirut's continuing appeal is a sign that this city has been shaken but not toppled during another period of regional uncertainty.

    See also: London's insane luxury basements

    See also: Paris metro stations get stunning second life

    See also: Can tiny emirate outshine Dubai

        One Square Meter

      • An artists impression of a Shinzu Corp structure on surface level.

        What would happen if the legend of the Lost City of Atlantis was crossed with the screenplay of Kevin Costner's 1995 hit movie "Waterworld"?
      • An artist's impression of the Shanghai Tower on completion

        2014 has been a big year for towering new skyscrapers, but next year will be bigger.
      • spc one square meter singapore sports hub_00002608.jpg

        It's the latest landmark on Singapore's already busy skyline.
      • spc one square meter japan hydroponic vegetable farms_00015703.jpg

        CNN's John Defterios explores how Japan is transforming abandoned factories into soil-less hydroponic vegetable farms.
      • A new kind of location service could change the way we look at the world.
      • It's the townhouse that twists like a Rubik's cube, to bask in the summer sun and shield itself when winter bites.
      • Could you fit your life into 300 square feet? Developers are betting on it, with new, tiny living spaces for urban millennials.