Badaro witnessed its glory decades during the 1960s and 1970s. Badaro Street was a renowned address with some mythic names, such as Badaro Inn – the last vestige of that past era shut its doors only a few years ago. During the long years of the Civil War and for a couple of decades afterwards, the commercial landscape of Badaro was in decline. The commercial structure that remains today is a hodgepodge mix of rundown grocery stores and outmoded neighborhood service stores (the local hairdresser, pharmacy, clothing store, or bank). Lately, a change has been set in motion. Badaro Street has been entirely refurbished and repaved and there is more and more demand for retail on Badaro Street.
The Geographical and Historical Contexts
Badaro is a very pleasant residential neighborhood that is within easy reach of the main attraction hubs of Beirut, a few minutes’ drive from Ashrafieh, and close to a vibrant hub: Saint Joseph University, the French Embassy, the Palace of Justice, the National Museum, and a number of other official offices and business centers, particularly along Sami Solh Avenue. This central location makes Badaro a convenient destination. The area is surrounded by a belt of wide highway networks, making it very easily accessible from all parts of town – Sami Solh Avenue, Omar Beyhum Street, Museum Street, and Corniche Pierre Gemayel, as well as from Adlieh and Tayyouni roundabouts.The comeback of Badaro also coincides with a residential boom. A dozen residential projects are currently under way or in the pipeline in the neighborhood. Some of them offer very modern, cutting edge architecture and amenities.
A shy demand started looking into Badaro a few years ago, mostly for clean, modern grocery stores. The local target market is potentially huge, and the current grocery supply is antiquated and totally unfit to answer the requirements of contemporary urban shoppers. During recent months, international franchises with sleek concepts and designs of grocery outlets have been showing much interest for Badaro, an untapped market with an interesting population density.There is also demand from mid-market restaurant, pub, and café operators. It might at first glance seem surprising but finally logical, as Badaro is a virgin destination, with an potentially large target audience/market, and almost no competition.
Renting & Buying in Badaro
The attractive rental values still posted in Badaro play a major role in reviving interest in the area. At retail rental values varying between USD 250 and USD 350 per SQM per year, Badaro is among the most competitive commercial streets of Beirut. While rental values have skyrocketed in other parts of town (such as Mar Mikhael), Badaro becomes a very attractive, viable alternative. Given its brand new look and pleasant general environment – tree-lined streets, low-rise buildings often dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, clusters of pine trees, and wide streets with pavements, Badaro Street is a natural commercial destination. Badaro is also one of the rare completely flat areas of Beirut, which is a very strong advantage. In our opinion, sales values of retail space on ground level should lie between USD 5,000-6,000 per SQM.
Is Badaro then set to be the next nightlife destination? Competing destinations in eastern Beirut are performing poorly: Monnot Street was abandoned a few years ago; Gemmayze’s popularity is waning; Mar Mikhael has become unreasonably expensive…. Badaro, in comparison, looks very attractive. Rental values are still very reasonable, the area has a large catchment area, and several retail units are available. Logically, all the ingredients are there to make it work. Today, there is keen interest predominately by certain players in the F&B industry. The hype is starting to build around the neighborhood and word is getting around among industry professionals. It remains to be seen whether Badaro can manage to attract a wider variety of retail supply, or whether it is destined to follow the same pattern previously taken by Monnot, Gemmayze, and Mar Mikhael.
Badaro Retail Market*
- Rental Values (USD/SQM/Year) 250 – 350
- Sale Prices (USD/SQM) 5,000 – 6,000
* Retail units on street level