Third mall, more Carrefour
planned by Majid Al Futtaim
To hire at least 1,000 additional employees
Out of the $2 billion earmarked for projects in Lebanon since 2009, Majid Al Futtaim has still to invest $1.1 billion. The new investments will include developing a new mall.
Alain Bejjani, CEO of the group, said: “The third mall will be in the immediate suburbs of Beirut.”
Majid Al Futtaim already operates City Centre Beirut, a mall in Hazmieh, with another planned for Waterfront City in Dbayeh.
Majid Al Futtaim is also the developer of Waterfront City, Carrefour, VOX cinemas, and Magic Planet.
The company will launch this year new phases at Waterfront City. It will also finalize the entitlement process for the Waterfront City mall and then set a date for its delivery.
The Emirati company is also expanding their Carrefour business.
“We have a number of locations that will open in the next two months. We will announce them once they are confirmed,” Bejjani said.
According to him, 2016 was a good year. He said: “The real estate sector has been almost idle. But our retail and entertainment business were outperforming the market.”
Waterfront City focused last year on delivering phase I and on launching the Business Park. The project will deliver units for 288 households this year. Another phase of the Business Park and a number of residential phases will also be launched.
“We currently have 465 team members and 285 outsourced across our operations. Once we execute the rest of our investments, I expect the workforce to increase to at least 2,000,” he said.
Bejjani said that the market’s challenges are topped by bureaucracy, market volatility, and the dramatization of reality driven by political debate.
“Infrastructure is also a big problem. The level of education has been weaker in the past few years as well. We hope it becomes more business friendly in terms of preparing the young generation,” he said.
Despite these challenges, the market has a good level of taxation and has growth in terms of demand, according to Bejjani.
He said: “Lebanon is not a country for short term investors. Majid Al Futtaim has committed to its long term presence.”
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Feb 07, 2017