? The one deemed so bad that a petition was put in motion to try and stop it from happening? Well apparently… we got it all wrong.
The truth to the matter…
Following the building controversy revolving around Lebanon’s highest peak, project manager Patrick Ghanem, CEO and partner at Realis Development, revealed that the information passed around about the Al-Qumma project is false. The first misled information is that the Ghanem family does not even own a financial company in Abu Dhabi as previously thought, and that the owner and developer of the project is a company named G-1 Group. “Equity investments and banking loans will be used to fund the project, which will be divided into phases,” says Mr. Ghanem, laying out the plan for potential investors. Furthermore, the project will actually be developed on Jabal 40, part of the Bqaa Sifrin Municipality. This means the project won’t even be at an altitude of 2,400 meters as previously thought, instead, it will be sitting at an altitude of 1,200 meters.
Does this mean we lost the title of “highest resort” in the Middle East?*Not a fun fact, but a fact nonetheless: Bqaa Sifrin is known as the summer residence of former Prime Minister Rashid Karami, who was assassinated aboard a helicopter as he left his summer home in 1987.
What about the project’s effect on the environment? Who will have access to it?
Mr. Ghanem revealed that the wood and building material of Al-Qumma is imported and uses solar power, making it completely eco-friendly and rejecting the claims that it would damage the environment. “A Canadian company, which is world-renowned, will be doing the master plan… using American and European standards, so you can imagine the standards that will be set,” said Mr. Ghanem. The name of the Canadian company was not disclosed for whatever reasons, but at least we know there won’t be any trouble with Green Peace right? Moreover, the Lebanese population worried that such a resort would be unavailable to a certain “class” of the population. That claim was shut down as Mr. Ghanem stated that anyone is able to go to the resort. It will be like Mzaar, Kfar Zebian, and Faraya where you can sleep in a room for $50 a night or $300 at night, have a $1,000 dinner or buy a mankoushe for $1 at the local bakery. I wonder what New Year’s Eve would be like up there…
Something to look forward to
When talking about the facilities and spa the resort offers, the project manager argues that “It will be cheaper for someone to receive a wellness or “cure” package here than travelling to Europe or the U.S.” Now picture this: you wake up early in the morning, you have a spa appointment waiting for you; it’s an hour-long hot-stones massage session. By the end of it, you’re so relaxed you got drool on the floor, the masseuse left the room 15 min ago, and you’re late for breakfast with friends. The verdict? Worth it. The perfect way to get your day started! Finally, Mr. Ghanem estimates the master plan for the full complex will take 15 to 16 years to complete. However, the spa and hotel will be ready within the next four to five years. The idea is to use the natural environment around the development, not to try and create a new one. “I am tired of people saying we don’t have
. I want to tell people that we have it all here, naturally”.
We tried reaching out to the developers of the Al-Qumma project for a comment but we didn’t get a response.Contributed by Yahya A. Abbas