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does the Historic Bay of St George remain an unfinished site?
The Legal rights acquired by the St George on the Water front
no 8822 of 8 January 1932, completed by Decree no 784 of
8 June 1937 authorize the Societe des Grands Hotels du Levant
(SGHL) to build the St George Hotel on Lot no 349, 377 and 1243 being the
property of the company as well as on 2000sqm of the adjacent Maritime Public
Property; in 1959 Decree no 2660 authorizes the Hotel to occupy
an additional 2000sqm of the Maritime Public Property. It is on this
particular area that the famous Beach Elite, the meeting point
of all of Beiruts Jet set, lies.
Legal position of the Western Marina (Sector Ab) and of the Water surface
adjacent to the Hotel (Sector 5 of the St George Bay)
The Intervention of the State to the advantage of Solidere is at the origin of the conflict with the St George Hotel
No, because Solideres object is in priority the
rehabilitation of the
However, the ambitions of Solidere as a real estate and touristic developer have got it to obtain from the State an extension of its field of action outside the real estate zone of the Master Plan and its amendments.
In particular, the landfill of the Normandy embankment has made it aspire to the exclusive appropriation of the totality of the St George Bay, namely the Western Marina plus the St George Marina, Sector 5 which is the water plan adjacent to the St George Hotel and Beach.
The Council of Ministers was therefore lead to take successive and contradictory Decisions, in order to accommodate Solideres pressure on the Government. some of these Decisions are not in conformity with the general principles of the law governing the occupation of Maritime Public Property and Touristic Projects. These Decisions are as follows:
ü A confirmation of the acquired rights of the St George Hotel by Decree no 6155 of 22.12.1994 that had attributed an area of the Maritime Public Property of 12735 m2 of which 5140 sqm of water surface and 7695 sqm of break water.
ü A cancellation of the above Decree, nine months later, by Decree no 7388 of 10.10.1995
ü Decision no 83 of the Council of Ministers dated 15.11.1995 suggesting the cancellation of all of the Decrees which have given the SGHL rights over Maritime Public Property.
ü Decree no 7692 of 21.12.1995 entrusts to Solidere the management of the Eastern and Western Marinas of Beirut within the limits defined by Decree no 5609, which excludes Sector 5 and puts it out of bounds of Solidere; Decree no 5609 is, however, not signed by the Minister of Transport who has considered that the State can not break the law and acquired rights.¹
Concious of the fact that without the Transport Ministers signature,the Decree is invalid, the Government replaces this Decree by Decree nº 8939 of 9 August 1996, signed by a new Minister of Transport, and then rectifies it by Decree 9880 of 7 February1997 to include The Director General of Transport in the comity appointed to prepare the contract between the State and Solidere.
· In order to defend itself, the SGHL in 1995 and 1996 raised a series of cases against the State for Decrees 5609, 7388, 7660 and 7692.
Following this action, the Government seeks a friendly agreement with the St George. This agreement concluded on 7.3.1997 between the CDR and the SGHL on the one hand and the SBM on the other States the following:
ü The withdrawal by the St George of its legal cases.
ü The financing and execution of land fill and development works in conformity with Decree 7660, namely in Sector 5.
On 17 September 1997 the Council of Ministers approves through its Decision no. 26 a draft contract between Solidere and the State, giving Solidere for fifty years the exclusive management of the Western and Eastern Marinas, including, only in its attached plan, Sector 5. This contract was signed on the 25th of September by the Ministers of Tourism, Finance, Transport an Public Works, without having been ratified by a Decree in accordance to legislation.
On 24.9.1998, the CDR notified the St George to start work
as per contract of 7.3.1997 namely in Sector 5 of the St George Bay.
This work was finished on 23.6.1999, nine months after the CDR
notification. However, the work is commissioned by the CDR only on
On 6 October 1999, the Directorate of the Transport Ministry, being responsible of the Maritime Public Property notifies the St George to evacuate Sector 5 of the St George Bay in an attempt to put an end to its lease/presence and to its acquired rights since 1932.
In order to examine the conflict, Prime
Minister Salim El Hoss constituted on 30.10. 1999 a Committee formed of the
administrative authorities concerned. The report of the Committee issued on
ü Decision no. 26 of the Council of Ministers approving the
contract of management by Solidere of the Western and
ü The Decrees issued in favor of the St George are still
valid and Decision 83 of the Council of Ministers of
· On 14 March 2000, the Minister of Transport by his letter no 594 to the Prime Minister suggested that Sector 5 be subject to a separate management by Solidere. The government of Mr. Hoss does not agree to ratify this suggestion.
· On 8 September 2000 Decree no 3808 modifies the position of the sea protection on the Normandy water front and covers Solidere for there illegal action in that area.
2 - This report is dated by mistake
On 23 November 2000, by its Decision no. 40, the newly appointed Cabinet of Mr. Hariri merges Sector 5 with the the Western port Ab, contrarily to all the principles of law and to the spirit of the contract between the CDR and the St George.
Decree no 4837 of
· Decree no 4838 of same date as above annexes Sector 5 to the western marina Sector Ab.
At this point the Government action could
simply be described as barbaric. It ordered the destruction of the famous St George
Yacht Club. The once active and lively
Decree no 5714 of
In the light of the above and in order to defend itself, the St George raised again, a series of cases against the State, for Decrees numbers 8939 of 9 August 1996, 3808 of 8 September 2000, 5609 of 3 September 1994, 4837 & 4838 of 3 February 2001, 5714 19 June 2001 and Decision 180/1 of 26 May 2001.
Do we really want to enhance Investment and Growth or do we want to replace existing Investors with others ?
· The investor has already spent over $50.000.- at todays Dollar to cover the cost of acquisition including cost of buying lease owners, Design & Construction. Tha,t does not include lost opportunity, Prejudice and Damages. A very serious expertise has evaluated at $60,000,000.- Damages due to the enormous wall built so high (8.5m high and 90m wide) that the view from the hotel famous terraces has dramatically been impaired. This wall did not need to be built so high.
· At least as much money is yet to be invested, in order for the project to see the light.
We cannot pretend to attract Foreign Investors when the Lebanese Investors see their rights violated in such a flagrant manner. The destruction of the St George Marina was an unprecedented act of savagery, definitely unlikely to create a positive climate for investments.
To the spoliation of the rightful owners which has been the subject of many articles, are we going to add that of one of the oldest and most prestigious Tourist institutions of the Capital?
In order to attract Foreign Investors, it is imperative that the rights of Local Investors and economical groups be respected.
The ambitions of Solidere
to be a real estate and tourism developer, contrary to its basic object is
not understandable especially as the endless extensions beyond its boundaries
since 1992, which it has gathered and is still gathering from the State with
such ease, are not justifiable. The present real estate crisis and the
surplus of available land and/or adjacent water surfaces are astounding. In
the case of the St George Hotel, a historical Tourism symbol that
· Nothing can explain the martyrdom that the St George Hotel and marina has been subjected to, and the more disturbing is the total silence that was kept by all concerned, around this matter, as no one ever voiced the slightest objection to a flagrant murder of one of the most prestigious institutions of this Country.
· A simple and rapid solution would be to ensure a separate management of Sector 5 of the St George Bay in accordance and conformity with the common law on Maritime Public Property.
Allow an access to the sea on the West, as it has been since 1932.
Ensure the complete independence of the most prestigious Landmark in Lebanon.
Put an end to the monopole which Solidere is thriving at in an area which must remain outside its jurisdiction.
Hotel Saint Georges Yacht Club - Beyrouth Liban /
st-georges st-george st. georges photo photos pictures jean royere auguste perret