Some fifteen years after the development of Solidere, the southernmost strip of BCD counts 13 vacant plots near the Ring Road (Fouad Chehab Boulevard). The area’s sagging popularity is in clear contrast with the residential boom of Wadi Abou Jmil or Minet el Hosn, where several projects are currently taking place and many others have been completed. On the contrary, only six projects are under way in southern BCD, five of which are located in the area of Saifi Village and one in Zokak el Blatt. That it should be lagging behind other areas of BCD is not surprising, as Southern BCD sits across a very busy, noisy, polluted highway that seperates it from some of the poorest residential neighborhoods of Beirut, such as Bachoura and Zokak el Blatt. Once the rest of BCD is fully developed, the Southern strip will have its turn.
This eastern end of southern BCD is probably the best known. It has a well-established residential cachet and a very distinctive identity. Five projects are currently taking place in the neighborhood. Two of these are located within the former Beirut Gate project, and three are on the border with Saifi Village. These projects, however, are too close to the Ring Road – it will be a challenge to match the charm and tranquility of the residential buildings within Saifi Village. They do have a very interesting commercial potential, and good prospects for retail on the ground floor.
Since the restoration of BCD began in 1994, not one plot has been developed between the ESCWA garden and the Bechara el Khoury Bridge. Solidere still owns several plots there between Riad el Solh Square and the Ring Road. Only one project has been recently put in motion by Solidere: The House of Art and Culture. Mandarin Hotel is also being planned for the area. Yet, Bachoura could be an interesting business address in continuity with the Beirut Digital District (BDD) project recently launched on the other side of Bechara el Khoury Boulevard. The area is definitely more suited for commercial developments (offices, retail, and hotels) as the highway is too noisy and polluted. The potential of the area is tied into the existing office stock of BCD, it will have to wait until the existing stock is absorbed in order to attract new office developments.
Zokak el Blatt
This is the area that lies between Burj el Murr and Mouawad Museum. Although plots immediately border the Ring Road, noise pollution is lessened by the tunnel and the new public garden. The area has a mixed potential for residential and office development. This strong potential is confirmed by the boom currently taking place in the area of Zokak el Blatt that falls outside Solidere. Three residential projects are now under construction, posting starting asking sales prices of USD 4,000-4,500 per SQM. Their best marketing argument is that they have a view of Solidere. It is the high cost of the BUA within BCD that is holding back the development, as apartments in the BCD sector of Zokak el Blatt will cost about 50% more.
- Empty plots of land 13
- Empty plots of land owned by Solidere 7
- Number of projects under construction 6
- Retail ERV in the area of Saifi Village (USD/SQM/Year) 800-900
- Office sales price in the area of Bachoura (USD/SQM) 6,000
- Residential sales price in the areas of Zokak el Blatt & Saifi Village (USD/SQM) 5,600-6000