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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    Default Trump property development in Beirut

    Umm not sure this was good timing!

    Ivana hits Beirut

    Can the socialite and property developer restore the glitz to a city scarred by civil war, asks Harald Doornbos

    Say Beirut, and most people will think of bombs, civil war and the enduring images of Terry Waite and other unfortunate western hostages who spent years chained to radiators during the 1980s.
    Now Ivana Trump, the flamboyant international property developer, is hoping foreign investors will take a fresh look at the Lebanese capital — and not just at its radiators, but at its modern furnishings, high-tech kitchens and bathroom fittings, too.
    NI_MPU('middle');Trump has teamed up with Damac, the Dubai-based property giant, to build a 35-storey, 377ft-high residential skyscraper in the city centre. The £81.5m project, La Residence, was launched late last month and is due to be completed in 2010.
    Prices for the 127 flats start at £229 per square metre; a one-bed, 125sq m flat is priced from £229,000. Most will sell to rich Gulf Arabs, but Damac expects about 20% to be bought by westerners.
    “It’s a great opportunity,” says Trump, said by the developers to be “very involved” in the interior design of the public area, the four-bed flats and penthouses. “It is a fantastic city in a country with a 5,000-year history — what better can you get? Beirut is ready for super-luxurious apartments. And about trouble or politics in the country, well, sooner or later it will be fine.”
    Lebanon’s property market is surging as Gulf oil wealth pours in. Shopping malls and five-star hotels are spreading like wildfire and yearly returns of 40% on property are the rule rather than the exception.
    For potential investors, though, Lebanon’s dilemma is that it has a split personality.
    Imagine you are on the balcony of your four-bed, Ivana-decorated home. Ahead, there’s the stunning blue Mediterranean and a marina crammed with £1m yachts.
    Look to the left, however, and you will see two burnt-out skyscrapers riddled with bullet holes, a legacy of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. There is also a virtually direct view of the point where, last year, Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister, and about 20 others were killed by a car bomb.
    So is this city of 1.2m people a place for westerners to buy property? “Oh, it certainly is,” insists Renee Hashem, a local estate agent, as she takes me on a tour of the city. “Arab petrodollars are pushing the prices up like never before.”
    In the residential district of Baabda, near the presidential palace, Hashem points to a home owned by a member of her family. Last year it was worth £815,000, now it is for sale for £1.35m. “You want to miss out on the boom?” Prices in central parts of the city have risen sharply. Two years ago, property in Marina Towers, a project similar to La Residence, went for £2,700 per sq m. Now it is double that.
    “The political instability does not influence the real-estate boom here at all,” says Ronald Bridi, a property developer. “Lebanon is a small place and the amount of space is limited.”
    Bridi, like many others, develops residential projects just outside the expensive inner-city centre. Here great-looking brand-new flats start from £700 per sq m. They are going quickly, as many Gulf Arabs are buying them off-plan. John Meakin, an engineer from Guildford, Surrey, who arrived in Lebanon in 1996, is among fans of the Beirut market. “I cannot understand why people buy in France or Spain — they must be bloody mad,” he says. Three years ago he bought a 240sq m flat with a garden for £80,000 in Metn, just outside the capital. It was recently valued at £120,000. “The quality of life, the neighbours, the level of education, the fact that English is widely spoken here, the low taxes — it is fantastic,” he says. “I might retire here in 5-10 years.”

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Sydney, Australia


    Yep have to agree I think her timing is pretty bad.....hope she built in plenty of time for vacancy and slow sales....
    Last edited by LondonKiwi; 24-07-2006 at 04:48 AM.


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