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French Version

Beirut office space among world’s most expensive - Capital is No. 1 in Middle East

Beirut has been ranked as the world’s 23rd most expensive city for office locations, according to a 2003 survey conducted by property consultants Cushman & Wakefield Healy & Baker.

The ranking, which was released by Saradar Weekly Monitor, surveyed 46 cities around the world. Beirut, once the “Pearl of the Orient,” was also ranked as the most expensive city in the Middle East and Africa, right before Tel Aviv, Dubai, Istanbul and Johannesburg. In last year’s survey, Beirut was the 28th most expensive city worldwide and the second most expensive in the region.

It also ranked immediately behind Singapore, Oslo and Bucharest and was considered more expensive than “hip” cities such as Taipei, Vienna and Sydney, with average rent for offices reaching a staggering 361 euros ($446) per square meter. Ironically for a country experiencing sluggish economic growth, Dubai’s average rent price did not exceed 264 euros per square meter, while the regional average was at 253.6 euros per square meter.

London, Tokyo and Paris kept their respective positions as the world’s three most expensive cities for office space.

Approximately 58 percent of the Beirut Central District’s (BCD’s) 342,589 square meters of office space is occupied, according to a survey released in December by RAMCO real estate consultants. The Beirut-based group said that there are 119 office buildings in the BCD, with 30 of them, (or 25 percent) fully occupied and 44 buildings, (or 37 percent) completely vacant.

The survey, conducted by Cushman & Wakefield Healy & Baker, also covered the world’s most expensive shopping destinations. BCD ranked as the 34th most expensive shopping location ­ behind Stockholm and Budapest and before Warsaw and Mexico City ­ and the fourth most expensive in the region ­ behind Kuwait City, Tel Aviv and Istanbul and before Dubai and Johannesburg.

According to the property consultants, the cost of retail space in the BCD was $1,000 per square meter, “slightly higher than the regional average of $991.2 per square meter,” said Saradar Weekly Monitor. BCD also posted a surprising 14.8 percent increase in price in just under a year, from $871 per square meter in 2002.

However, even after September 11, New York City remained the world’s most expensive shopping destination, with average price for retail space on Fifth Avenue reaching an unbelievable $9,149 per square meter.

Cushman & Wakefield Healy & Baker is part of the world’s largest commercial real estate consultancy. Founded in London in 1820, the firm is an international partnership and part of Cushman & Wakefield, with a staff of over 11,000 in 49 countries.

Beirut,01 06 2004
Tarek El Zein
The Daily Star
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