ArabAd caught up with Georges Chehwan, Chairman of Plus Holding to discuss the current state of Lebanon’s real estate industry and to highlight current trends taking shape.
How has real estate 'established itself as an important element in the growth of the economy?'
Real estate is a guaranteed investment with profitable margins for developers and buyers. Real estate is the only investment that did not decrease over the years, on the contrary, it flourished despite the current situation. This is due to the decreasing number of land available.
Have people’s dreams and lifestyles changed in any way recently? How has this had an impact on the real estate sector?
Our vision is to remain driven by the passion to create and improve people’s lives by presenting a rewarding investment, long term returns, and building high quality living standards. Our mission is to continuously play a prominent role in the Real Estate development industry by providing clients with world class products that define the standards of luxury and innovation with superior returns on investment.
People’s dreams change with the evolution of their lifestyles. For instance now the demand for small units is increasing. But this is an adaptation. It doesn’t have any impact on real estate. Areas demanded are less but the cost is still the same vs. bigger apartments 10 years ago.
A large number of Plus Properties’ projects are outside Beirut. What does this say about the real estate market and trends?
The current real estate trends are actually in favour of Beirut’s suburbs rather than Beirut itself.
Top notch professionals are behind Plus Towers. What does this say about the nature of the high-end property market?
Plus Properties is determined to offer the best high-end properties because the demand for this type of properties is high and represents a very important portion of the total demand.
A haven in the busy heart of Beirut, ‘Plus Towers’ redefines luxury living. One of Plus Properties’ projects, ‘Plus Towers’ offers a home without compromise and when positioning this project, you need to take into consideration its target market: Class A+ people who enjoy a different urban lifestyle. They are fascinated by top notch brand names, wear designer labels, drive luxury cars, are well off, and like to be under the spotlight. They want to live in Beirut city but not anywhere: they want to live in the heart of the city!
What will happen to the archeological findings excavated from the grounds of Plus Towers?
Once the archeological findings are incorporated into the lobby of ‘Plus Towers’ then visitors are more than welcome to visit the lobby and take a look.
What duty and role do real estate developers have towards preserving the old while building the new? How challenging is striking a balance given the growing population and people’s modern lifestyle aspirations?
Preserving our heritage is very important. The Lebanese government is doing a good job when it comes to regulating old buildings and preserving investors’ rights. When it comes to ‘Plus Towers’, Plus Properties did the best it can to mix between the heritage of Beirut city (using Terracota material on the façade) and a modern look (using aluminium).
Where do you think Lebanon’s real estate sector is heading? What does the future hold?
The availability of land is decreasing while the demand for properties is increasing. The Central Bank of Lebanon is also playing a very important role facilitating the requirements and acceptance of getting a housing loan, in addition to the new green building loan to encourage environmental friendly buildings. Internal security has significantly improved during the past months. In addition to all these factors, a large number of expats are starting to invest more and more in Lebanon.