The Weekly Leaks: The New Beirut Seafront and Marina, and Who’s Gonna Be Part of It

When you drive by past the new Four Seasons Hotel in Ain el Mreisseh, several things go through your mind, and even more rumors and conspiracies about what’s cooking behind the Zaytunay Bay barrier.

Evil corporations, greedy investors from abroad and projects the majority of the Lebanese people cannot afford to be part of. Well, I thought so too, until I met one of the investors in the project, Ziad Kamel, who was more than glad to share with us the plans for this truly marvelous new Beirut seafront.

The wooden boardwalk that hugs the St. Geroges Yacht Club Marina will be accessible to the public. Adjacent to the boardwalk will be 16 different restaurants to choose from, catering for a variety of local and international cuisines at reasonable prices.

The boardwalk will lead up to the planned clubhouse, which will have approximately 800 members, to which access will be restricted. So, there is the super-exclusive aspect too, but it will just include the marina building. The rest will make a fine addition to the Beirut public areas, offering a truly spectacular dining experience adjacent to the Mediterranean, the St. Georges Yacht Club Marina and the brand new towers in Ein el Mreisseh.

Here are some photos of the plans and 3D renderings of what it should look like

Now, one of those 16 restaurants is going to be Ziad Kamel and Paddy Cochrane’s sixth project whom together have successfully created one of Beirut’s most famous alleys: The Alleyway in Gemmayzeh. The Alleyway is a colossal project includes two of Gemmayzeh’s oldest and favorite pubs, Gauche Caviar and Cloud 9, Beirut’s most happening urban fashion wear store, The Union, the feel-good-look-good spa The Tanning Salon and of course the top-notch gourmet restaurant, Couqley.

Alexis Couquelet will be the new restaurant’s chef as well, adding to his long list of impressive work at New York’s and Paris’ finest restaurants, landing him in Lebanon as co-owner of Couqley and executive chef of the two superb gourmet restaurants, famous for their unrivaled culinary mastery, at incredibly fair prices.

Venturing into a project that others would dub as insane, Ziad Kamel believed in investing in Beirut’s beloved heritage instead of leveling it to build a tower or parking space. His venture into creating The Alleyway from a rundown alley with no internal plumbing and decades of neglect has proven worthwhile, and today, it is an all-purpose, round-the-clock destination for shoppers, diners, clubbers and people looking for a nice, healthy tan.

The Alleyway and the folks behind it is a series that will not fit a Weekly Leak. We reserve this edition to simply show you the future of the Beirut Seafront, and introduce you to a truly remarkable team that will be part of it.

Look for reviews and listings of the five unique establishments, a feature about the endeavours into preserving heritage and making it economically viable to invest in it, and of course a “Places and Faces” feature with Mr. Ziad Kamel, who apart from his many talents, is also a seasoned Ducati rider. Not saying anymore, stay tuned for the rest!