Lebanon Businessnews News

Will the old Holiday Inn be auctioned off?
Shareholders in dispute
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Roland Abdéni, wants to put old damaged 1970s landmark Holiday Inn hotel  up for auction. He is eyeing the end of 2014 or early 2015.

Abdéni is the Chairman of the Compagnie Immobilière Libanaise (CIL), who owns a 37.2 percent share in the St Charles City Center SAL, the property owner.

The majority shareholders of the company that owns the building, are Kuwaiti investors (the Sabbah family, mainly Fadia al-Sabbah, daughter of Saad Al Abdallah the deceased former Kuwaiti crown prince), who owns 62.67 percent of the shares. Another shareholder is Deposit Guarantee Corporation.

Abdéni said that they are still trying to reach an agreement with their Kuwaiti partner. “We will keep on trying until the last minute, but so far, there is no signal of any change in any of parties’ stance.” 

The disagreement between Abdéni and its Kuwaiti partners goes back many years. Abdéni wanted to renovate the building and set up luxury lofts for rent or sale. The Kuwaitis preferred to demolish the site and build a new tower. Abdéni said that for this reason and in order to reach a new management and funding, the public auction is a good solution.

He said that CIL wants to make a partnership, and create a new group in order to buy the Kuwaiti shares. “We are looking for partners with whom we share the same view for the project.”

According to him, the building in its current situation is estimated for no less than $380 million and will be sold for more than $700 million, after its renovation. “This is considered as a very good business project, so why demolish it.”

If CIL, in cooperation with other partners, wins the upcoming auction, the company plans to refurbish the building, into a mixed-use project, including apartments, serviced flats, offices, shopping center.

The development’s overall built-up area is 150,000 square meters, including 40,000 square meters dedicated to parking spaces. The Gross Leasable Area is 109,000 square meters.

The Holiday Inn hotel opened in 1974, with 26 floors. The building also contained shops, a movie-theatre, and restaurants.

Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: May 16, 2014
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