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Groundbreaking for parking lots this year

Planning

Construction to build an underground parking lot to accommodate up to 2,000 cars is set to begin later this year, in a project designed to ease parking headaches and improve the appearance of Downtown Beirut.

This article was featured on the Daily Star’s website (www.dailystar.com.lb) on February the 22nd, 2012, written by Wassim Mroueh.
The construction of an underground parking lot in the capital’s Martyrs Square is expected to kick off in late 2012, Beirut Mayor Bilal Hamad told The Daily Star Tuesday.

Beirut Mayor Bilal Hamad (center) takes a stroll through the neighborhood of Ras al-Nabaa in the capital Friday, to meet with local residents and receive input about the area’s needs. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
The move comes after the Beirut Municipality decided last week to task the Council of Development and Reconstruction with supervising the tender-bidding process, contract awarding and execution of work.
“Work will start before the end of this year. Once finished, the parking space will accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 cars,” Hamad said, adding that a Build, Operate and Transfer contract would be signed by the company selected to carry out the project. Under the BOT contract, a company will build and operate the facility – earning revenue – before the municipality assumes ownership.
Hamad said that studies for the project are almost done, adding that, if all goes to plan, the tender-bidding process would be held in late spring.
One of “the most beautiful gardens” will be created in Martyrs Square once the underground parking space is built, the mayor added.
“Its design will be prepared by one of the most prominent landscape designers, who has worked with SOLIDERE,” said Hamad, in reference to the company that reconstructed Downtown Beirut following the 1975-1990 Civil War.
The project is designed to address the mounting demand for parking lots in Beirut. The recent real estate boom in Lebanon, particularly in the capital, has left little room for parking lots but the municipality has selected several places to construct parking buildings as well as underground parking lots.
The municipal council also approved a preliminary study last week to construct an underground parking lot in the neighborhood of Ain al-Mreisseh.
“We approved one of four concept designs that were proposed. It will be an [underground] two-story parking lot with a parking space of 20,000 square meters and capacity to accommodate 680 cars,” Hamad said, adding that work for the project should also begin this year.
Separately, the municipal council is to prepare a set of criteria used to select a company that will conduct a study on the establishment of produce market for retail sellers. A company will be selected two to three months after the criteria are set.
Hamad said that the 7,000 square meter market will be established between the roundabouts of Tayyouneh and Shatila, and would provide a place for fruit and vegetable sellers in Beirut, who do not currently have such a market.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 22, 2012, on page 4.

 

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