When it comes to real estate, the frenzy that has been affecting all Beirut is clearly visible here, particularly since 2005.
In 2010, there were 70 construction sites in the area, all for residential buildings, ten, twenty or thirty floors high. The tall buildings, and towers, slowly replace traditional Lebanese houses and three storey buildings built between 1920 and 1940. Their expansion is sometimes at the expense of cultural and architectural heritage of the area. Many associations are campaigning for the protection of that heritage. They complain that today everyone is searching for apartments on higher floors, "just to see the sea" they explain.
The explosion of land prices is pushing owners of old houses to sell their property to developers looking for space for a new building complex. Other owners are destroying their old houses to fund the construction of a small modern family building, in which one apartment will be put up for rent. This rent will be a source of significant revenues.
In the area nicknamed the "Golden Triangle" (St Nicolas - Saifi - Sursock - Furn el Hayek) the square meter is the most expensive and can reach $5000, while it’s between $1750 and $2,000 in more popular neighborhoods of Ashrafieh (Kobayat, Bedaoui ...).
The less fortunate neighborhoods of Ashrafieh haven’t interested yet big developers. On one hand, because in some of these neighborhoods like Jeitawi for example the land is fragmented into small plots, launching large building projects would be difficult. On the other hand, because they are more "modest", which makes them less attractive to investors ... at least to some extent: Mar Mikhael district that extends from EDL building all the way to the old railway station, still attracts the attention of today's developers and investors although it is also considered ‘popular’. These investors have recently started to become more interested in Mar Mikhael as a new location to implement pubs and restaurants, especially since Gemayzeh is now getting more and more saturated. These companies, as well as new shops, are now opening alongside artisans and small garages, located here for years. Add to this atmosphere of neighborhood "bourgeois bohemian" the arrival of potential clients drawn by real estate prices in the Golden Triangle ... and the rise in Mar Mikhael begins.