Al Habtoor Group reveals plans to reopen prominent Beirut mall

The shopping centre closed in March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic spread

Group chairman Khalaf Al Habtoor said earlier this year he hoped the mall would reopen soon. Getty
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The UAE-based Al Habtoor Group has announced plans to reopen a prominent five-storey mall in Beirut, which shut in March 2020 due to the “societal and economic” impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The retail space in Sin El Fil will be renamed The Sooq Avenue and is projected to reopen by the end of this year.

The mall sits in the Al Habtoor Group touristic complex and also includes the Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand Hotel and Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace. The latter reopened earlier this year after suffering extensive damage in the deadly August 4 Beirut port blast, which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed much of the Lebanese capital.

When he announced the reopening of the hotel in January, Group chairman Khalaf Al Habtoor, a prominent UAE businessman, had said he was hopeful the mall could reopen soon.

“We have a great love for Lebanon, and I am totally confident that better days are ahead. I said earlier that Al Habtoor Group was looking for a Lebanese competent party to reopen the mall, in order to create more job opportunities for Lebanese youth and ensure a suitable source of income for hundreds of Lebanese households,” Mr Al Habtoor said.

“Today I announce that we have taken serious steps to reopen the mall under a new name, The Sooq Avenue. To this end, we have signed a contract with a new company that employs an elite group of educated and patriotic Lebanese youth, and whose vision is in line with AHG aspirations.

“The first goal is to create job opportunities and contribute to the economic recovery, which comes first before seeking financial profit. The launching of the new space will take place within a period of one year.”

Lebanon is entrenched in a devastating economic crisis, which first became apparent in 2019, and has plunged much of the country into poverty and worsened business conditions.

Mr Al Habtoor said that “given that the current economic situation might discourage tenants and shop owners from opening new branches in Lebanon, we decided to give a 12-month grace period to tenants to alleviate the burdens of the current crisis”.

According to the Sooq Avenue website, the mall “will retain its original charm and culture while adding new stores and entertainment opportunities”.

The five-star Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace welcomed visitors back on December 30.

Al Habtoor Group also owns the adjacent Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand, which closed only briefly after the 2020 explosion.

The Phoenicia Hotel, arguably Beirut’s most famous, reopened last September after closing following the pandemic.

Updated: April 28, 2023, 11:27 AM