The abandoned site, also known as “Le Grand Théâtre des Milles et Une Nuits”, was designed by Lebanese civil engineer and architect Youssef Aftimos and built in 1929 by Jacques Tabet, a poet, and lover of theater.
The original Italian theater, which hosted a number of small shows, performances and events in its glory years was converted into a cinema and had later fallen into disrepair and finally abandoned during the civil war.
The Grand Théâtre opened in 1929 with a French musical called ‘No, No, Nanette,’ adapted from a Broadway success. The theater later hosted the Comédie Française, the Ballet des Champs-Elysées, the Egyptian Ramses Group, and concerts by Abdel Wahab and Umm Koulthoum.
To honor the Grand Theater’s memory, and after years of studies to determine its best use, Solidere proposed to restore the old structure in its original design as a boutique hotel with the theater as its central piece.