District //S at street level with the help of MAN Contractors (December 2014)

The archaeological excavations, which had previously delayed the project, are now complete and construction work at the project is in constant progress. 
An agreement has been finalized with MAN who has been appointed as general contractor fr both the Northern and Southern parts of the project. Mobilization and process have started on site. 
With MAN appointed as the project’s general contractor, the concrete works are now at street level and the substructure relating to the upper floor works will kick off upon receipt of the relevant permit.  

Thinking outside the box

Estates went beyond developing properties by managing the renovation of two high-end clothes shop in Downtown Beirut. 
Joseph opened its first Beirut shop early November 2013 on Foch street down the street from Chanel. 
JOSEPH has long been carried in high-end Lebanese retail shops, says Ralph Eid, the general manager. “It’s a brand that is well-known and very much appreciated by the Lebanese consumer,” he said. “There was an appetite by the market to have a JOSEPH for a very long time, and it was in effect really long overdue.”

Roger Vivier, the designer brand known for inventing the stiletto heel, opened its first store in Beirut Central District on Abdallah Beyhum Street (right across Schokolat Milan), early October 2013. 

Saifi Khan: Revival of Old Beirut

One-on-one with Namir Cortas, Director of Estates sal

E: Was the project recently revamped? Please explain how?

NC: Hand excavation was used to create new basements underneath the ground floor by reaching the bottom of the vaults and creating new concrete floors. The elevations were restored to their historic and protected state; minor changes were introduced to accommodate contemporary living amenities. The developer created the Khan concept to devaulted units and internal patio unifying the buildings. The retail units and restaurants effectively allow access and interaction to the public. 

E: Is it recognized as an official heritage project? If so, what classification?

NC: The project comprises several buildings; protection of some by the Lebanese government that classify them as historic and by Solidere that considered them representative of the architectural features in Saifi Village that were worthy of preservation. 

E: How has it contributed to the community?

NC: By setting the example cited above, and by also coordinating the painted façade and the applied mixed-use with the neighboring buildings, be they old or new. As such, Saifi Khan sits comfortably in its environment and serves to bring the traditional to the contemporary and give the new roots in the old. 

E: What is the long-term commitment of the individual or institution of this project to preserve it over time?

NC: As mentioned, the buildings are protected by government decree and by Solidere regulations as master planner. In addition, the users are committed to respect and preserve the restored and historic features. There are also restricted uses for the parts introduced by both the master planner and the developer. Finally, the owners realize that it is in their interest to preserve their asset as it will certainly enhance its value. 


Marcel Ghanem's KALAM ENNASS' live coverage at DREAM 2014

In a special episode with Kalam El Nass’ Marcel Ghanem, Anthony Stephan, Chairman of Saifi Modern representing District //S, discussed the real estate sector’s current status in Lebanon alongside other of the country’s prominent developers, moderated by Yassine Jaber. 

The episode can be watched here

The episode was split into four different panels as follows: 
Panel 1: Minister Yassine Jaber, Walid Daouk, Namir Cortas, Samer Bsat, Pascale Saad, Guy Manoukian
Panel 2: Tony Medawar, Anthony Stephan, Ali Abdel Latif, Massaad Fares, Georges Chehwane
Panel 3: Georges Stephan, Kaissar Abi Lama, Mireille Korab Abi Nasr, Chahe Yerevanian 
Panel 4: Mohamad Joueidy, Philippe Tabet, Georges Bedwi, Jad Sawaya


Estates takes home three trophies at the REAL Awards

The Real Estate Awards Lebanon, organized by the Real Estate Syndicate of Lebanon in partnership with LBC International, which “reward excellence and entrepreneurship in real estate development and architecture, honor distinction and quality in this sector, and give real estate developers a chance to highlight their vision and successes” as explained by REAL secretary Walid Moussa who chairs the Real Estate Awards Lebanon organizing committee, is the first of its kind in the country. 
The awards were handed to Estates by the Real Estate Syndicate of Lebanon in a gala dinner held at the Casino du Liban on June 14th and where the winners of each of the twelve categories were announced after being thoroughly reviewed by a panel of thirteen highly experienced jury members. 
District //S won two awards in the categories “Most eco-friendly and sustainable project” and “Leading Design and Architecture”. 
Saifi Khan won an award in the category “Most notable heritage project”. 


A few words with Georges Chehwane, owner at Plus Holdings

E: What inspired you to choose this location for your project?

GC: Beirut is known as the “Paris of the Middle East” and “Switzerland of the Levant”. Beirut’s rich history has earned the capital an enviable reputation as a hub of culture, finance and leisure. The shopping, the entertainment, the culture and the lifestyle make this city a unique “jewel” in the eyes of its residents and tourists. Today, very limited plots remain for urban development in Downtown Beirut and so Plus Towers represents a rare opportunity to experience a distinctive lifestyle in a new residential haven. This impressive development rises in Martyrs’ Square, one of Beirut’s most prominent public spaces. It stands tall in the midst of the city’s social and economic past, present and future. The location of these towers between four streets makes this project an island with an impeccable view from each corner.

E: What is the target market of Plus Towers?

GC: The residents of PLUS TOWERS are people who enjoy a differentiating urban lifestyle. They are fascinated by top notch brand names. They want to live in the heart of the city, They are well off and like to be under the spotlight. They are mainly Lebanese living between abroad and here and want to be accommodating in a prime, fancy, luxurious and strategic apartment. 

E: What is the concept behind it?

GC: Plus Towers is a unique development inspired by our unwavering dedication to quality and uniqueness. We have selected top notch architects, contractors and other key talents to ensure Plus Towers is truly iconic. We want this project to be a real landmark for generations to come. And we want to bridge this promising future with Beirut’s rich past.

E: What is Estates' role in Plus Towers?

GC: ESTATES is handling the project management of PLUS TOWERS as owner representative in collaboration with PLUS TOWER’s team of engineers.

Estates is in charge of:

• Agreeing the development strategy and objectives with Plus Properties.

• Coordinating with Plus Properties regarding all aspects of the development process

• In coordination with PLUS TOWER’s team, appointing architects and other consultants; defining and controling the scope of their services and fees

• Following up on permits and regulatory aspects

• Managing the design process and conducting reviews at the preliminary, schematic and execution plans stages

• Acting as site engineer as per FIDIC

• Coordinating among all relevant parties

• Reporting on progress to PLUS TOWER’s team

• Acting as contract administrator/cost controller

• Coordinating the tendering process and the appointment of the contractors with PLUS TOWER’s team.

Mediterranean vibrancy for Beirut - Interview with Namir Cortas

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Four years from now, Beirut will have a new community adjacent to Saifi Village. District//S, a 50,000 square meter residential and retail development, will occupy a 13,200 square meter site and promises 22 five-story luxury buildings, with cafes and shops facing onto Italian-style courtyards. Executive sat down with Namir Cortas, chief executive officer of Saifi Modern sal, the Lebanese company that owns District//S, to find out more, while Anthony el-Khoury, CEO and co-founder of the property development firm Estates sal, joined the conversation to offer a sneak peak behind the curtains of District//S.

E Why did you decide to devote the plot to low-rise buildings instead of building high-rise towers like so many other developers have done in the Beirut Central District (BCD)?

NC: This project is in the BCD so already it has to fit with the general master plan. It was an obvious extension of Saifi village and therefore we, and the master planner, decided that the best use for this land would be a more contemporary interpretation of the same original urban directive. Also, the land allows for a district, as it eventually came to be called, because of its size and location.

This site links Saifi Village, Gemmayze and Martyr’s Square and is the gateway to the shopping and central area. The solution that we came... read more

Saifi Khan recognised as most notable heritage project

The Real Estate Syndicate of Lebanon (R.E.A.L.) distributed on Saturday evening at the Casino du Liban the 2014 Real Estate Awards Lebanon, which pitted 58 real estate projects competing over 12 categories. The ceremony was attended by former Minister Nazem al-Khoury and Professor Jassem Ajaqa in his capacity as the representative of Economy and Trade Minister Alain Hakim. read more