Old BIEL becomes Arena Waterfront
Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center (BIEL) is moving to the eastern suburb of Tahwita.
BIEL group has ceased the operation of the current structure, located on the seaside. The seaside structure is currently being operated by Seaside Development, chaired by Walid Sabeh Ayoun. The original location has been renamed Arena Waterfront. The actual business has been taken over by a new company owned by Alaa Khawaja (80 percent), Mohamed Choucair (ten percent), and Charles Arbid (ten percent). Arbid will be responsible for management. Khawaja, a Cairo-based Jordanian investor previously made headlines when he purchased a sizeable stake in BankMed.
The new BIEL site is being constructed on a 43,000 square meter (m2) plot of land. The land was rented for 20 years from the Tahwita Al Iqariya Company, chaired by Joseph (Joey) Tabet.
BIEL relocated after its contract with Solidere had expired, and they could not agree on terms for renewal. Rami Joueidi, CEO of BIEL Group, said: “We decided to move to this area because we could not find land plots as big and accessible.”
BIEL will include a 14,000 m2 events venue, food and beverage outlets, and 15,000 m2 of green spaces. It will also include a playground, a gaming zone, and an office building. “We want BIEL to become a family-oriented destination,” said Joueidi.
The group is negotiating with several moderately priced restaurants.
The project will be unveiled in phases over the coming two years. The first phase, consisting of the events venue and gaming zone, will be ready in the next few months.
The initial value of investment is slightly below $30 million, but likely to rise if BIEL adds more amenities.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Feb 16, 2018