Which areas are booming?
Ras Beirut used to be the traditional prime business destination of the capital. The area is sub-divided into different office hubs that have different characteristics due to the type of stock available and the clientele to which it caters. While the majority of Ras Beirut no longer attracts business – mainly due to an aging stock and lack of parking spaces, some neighborhoods are still popular because of their proximity to important commercial hubs, Hamra and Verdun. The two main attraction poles in Ras Beirut at the moment are AUBMC and Gefinor Center.
Home to one of the best-known commercial landmarks of Lebanon – Gefinor Center, Clemenceau is the area of Ras Beirut that is witnessing the fastest growth and the most demand. Sitting astride Hamra and the AUBMC area, Gefinor Center is easy to access and well maintained. The center’s renown makes it a highly recognizable and sought-after business address. Not surprisingly, at USD 350 per SQM per year, Gefinor has the highest asking rental rates of Ras Beirut, and boosts the surrounding area, where rental rates vary between USD 200-250 per SQM per year.
Demand for Souraty Street and the surrounding streets is on the rise, mainly driven by the proximity of AUBMC. Despite being the most congested area of Hamra, it remains the first destination of the medical community of Beirut. The success of the clinics projects in the area is proof of a healthy demand for new products in the area. Sale prices range between USD 5,000-5,500 per SQM, while rental values vary between USD 200-250 per SQM per year, mainly because of the age of the existing stock.
With a stock that is aging badly, Verdun is not a prime office destination, despite projects dating back to the 1980s and 1990s. Some buildings dating back to the 2000s are acceptable. However, at similar budgets, businesses can opt for much more attractive locations. Overall rental values remain high because of the scarcity of new buildings that dot Verdun Street and a constant local demand. Rental values lie between USD 200-250 per SQM per year.
Clustered around the Justinien and Spears crossing, there are a few office buildings that make up a micro-commercial hub. The stock, which mostly dates back to between the 1950s and 1970s, is of acceptable quality, although of no particular architectural interest. The Central Bank also is a major attraction factor. As the area is at the very edge of Hamra, it avoids the traffic of Hamra Street. Rental values vary between USD 175-250 per SQM per year.
With the sole exception of Hamra Square, the vast majority of the stock in Hamra is of very poor quality. Buildings date back to the 1950s and 1960s and most of them are in a state of disrepair. Offices are small and offer minimal amenities. Paradoxically, Hamra Street is the best-known address of Beirut, but demand is driven away by the lack of parking spaces and the constant congestions. Rental values range between USD 150-200 per SQM per year.