Are We Seriously Getting Another Mall in Dbayyeh?

Future waterfront city beirut

Waterfront City is breaking ground. Parks are being built. New complexes have their plans set in motion. Previous projects are being continued.

That mass of “new” land bordering the Dbayyeh highway will turn into a whole new town in the coming few years, apartment buildings and all. Great news for Lebanon’s real estate market, definitely. Sad news for those who take the marine road to escape the insurmountable traffic during their commute.

Waterfront City is also getting its bonafide mall with City Centre, whose first branch opened up next to Beirut recently, beginning its constructions plans as per Gino’s Blog.

Of course, such a project wouldn’t be happening hadn’t malls been possibly the only thing, apart from restaurants, taking off in the country lately. They get business. People like to go to them. They open up and cater to the demand. Al Futtaim’s earlier Beirut City Centre, despite it being almost a carbon copy of an Emirati mall, is taking off well. Or at least that’s what the constant crowds in it suggest.

The question to ask, though, is when’s the time to say enough is enough, that malls taking off isn’t the only argument behind them springing up whenever, wherever, sporadically and without any form of organization and regulation?

Dbayyeh has reached a point that can be called: extreme mall saturation. Just look at that place. Next to future Dbayyeh City Centre, you can find LeMall, ABC Dbayyeh and Blueberry Square, which is basically a big food court. There’s also a huge Spinneys next to them. And they all exist in an area which is quite tiny. Stretching the scope just one bit reveals yet another huge mall, at one point Lebanon’s biggest.

All of these malls share access through the same highway. They serve a city and its suburbs which already have enough malls, clearly another example of the economic centralization the country has and which I’ve previously written about here.

With the advent of Waterfront City and all the new tenants that will inhabit it, as well as the “attractions” that will be available there, the bottleneck effect of the Lebanese infrastructure, especially when it comes to the Dbayyeh area, will become even tighter.  Waterfront City may be advertised as a futuristic approach to what Lebanon can offer, and perhaps it is, but – like much of those “futuristic” areas – the non-futirstic parts often have a reality to face. That reality is that of unbelievable traffic in and out of Beirut and I’m sure no studies will be done about how to work with the traffic that another addition to that area will bring. It’s a reality of poor infrastructure to support such projects – looking at a turned off ABC due to the electricity cut is proof enough. It’s a reality of shops that are closing down because they are being spread way too thin in a country whose economical situation isn’t that efficient. And this reality is the one at the top of my head.

The fact that malls take off in Lebanon is no longer a good enough argument to have them pop up so often in an area that is so restricted. Of course malls are going to take off it they’re the only thing being built to provide people with what they might need. Of course they will take off if all the country’s decent and new cinemas are in them. Of course they will take off if all new restaurants are opening in them. Of course they will take off when their advent kills all the other options that you can do.

People will take in what is given to them – why don’t investments in the country turn into elements that are more sustainable such as technology, industry, education, healthcare? Oh never mind – those are not as cool as a brand new flashy mall with an American food chain moving in next door.

We are slowly but surely morphing the Lebanese lifestyle into something that is pure khaleeji. Perhaps it’s high time we stop making fun of their habits because we won’t be much different soon enough. I’m not an anti-mall person. But we’re at a point where some contractor who gets the chance to do so will actually turn the area in Dbayyeh between ABC and LeMall into another mall while the entire country North of that is as dead as a brick.

I played a little game with my colleagues and friends today. I told them a new City Centre was being built and asked them to guess the area. They named Tripoli, Saida, Beirut, Batroun, Jbeil. When I told them it’s Dbayyeh, the unanimous response was: are they freaking kidding me?

I guess that’s that.


7 thoughts on “Are We Seriously Getting Another Mall in Dbayyeh?

  1. Well i agree with some points, with others i don’t.
    i mean first of all, blueberry is mainly food, and spinney’s is not a mall but a big supermarket, you can stuff from toilet paper to a house plant there.

    About le mall and ABC, i don’t completely agree, they’re both totally different and they basically answer different demands, and most the “shops” that exist in one don’t in the other, they don’t even show the same movies or have the same “restaurants” which is a good thing and it makes pretty much EVERYTHING accessible to the population.

    Basically the malls go where the highest demands are, dbayeh is relatively a quieter area than beirut or jounieh (there’s rarely traffic in dbayeh itself) and it’s a link between the above stated two major areas, making it relatively close to both.

    I DO understand your point with investing into other things, and i DO agree that we need more diversity, but firstly there’s no lack of schools or hospitals in the area, and secondly the project is commercial, built by a client to make profit, and of course they will be looking for economic benefits. when you will have the kind of money it takes to build a project like that, we will see whether or not you will build a huge stargazing telescope in the middle of it! Though this project in particular offer pretty wide gardens (although he could have built an extra building and made more profit with the area he’s entitled to) and a relatively green approach to the construction and energy saving, the inner roads are very well planned and when it comes to electricity they have their own huge very latest-trend generator, and the mechanical team did a very effective waste treatment method so it’s most definitely won’t be just going into the sea.

    on another hand, the project is HUGE (really, i’ve worked on 2 of its buildings and there were at least 3 other teams and that’s for just the first phase of the construction) and it’s actually a great thing for it to have a mall catering to its needs.

    Sorry about the wrong reply, you touched a personal nerve there 😛


    • Habibti ente , chaklik men hole l ma 3andon chaghle wala 3amle gher te23ad tenme7en w techtre ghrad w ta3mol shopping .
      Ma fi 3aj2a bi dbayeh ?
      leh ente bet rou7e 3al jem3a aw btechteghle ?
      mech lhay2a .
      la ma3loumetik w la 3a2lik l zghir wel basit .
      kel yom l sobe7 kel lebneniye li jeyin men trablos jbeil , keserwan w kel l manati2 l chmeliye mne23ad se3a eza mech aktar natrin la tokhlas l 3aj2a bi dbayeh w 3am beh7ke ana men l se3a 6 wnos l sobeh lal se3a minimum minimum 10 w nos .
      ( tari2 ba7rie + autostrade )
      w3ou chway ba2a w khafefo me7enkon 3al alb w arafkon yale wassalna la hal mar7ale
      abel ma yotla3 ba3ed mall w ba3ed ma7allet w khara
      lezem awal chi totzabat l tor2at
      3am tzid l kasefe l sekenie bi chakel moukhif w tor2atna 3am tdal bi nafes l 7ajem .
      wel a7la men hek eno ma khaloula ma7al la eza badna nkabber l tari2 la2ano 3alam metelkon li ma bi fakro la b3id w 3a2lon ma7doud bi 7ebbo hal projects li tal3in 3a jaweneb l tari2 bala aya tonzim moudone aw tokhtit lal mousta2bal l arib .
      plz fakro chway abel ma tehko w kabro 3a2lkon ba2a hal balad raye7 sene wara sene 3al kharab
      merci .
      au revoir


      • You’re an idiot for more reasons than i care to enumerate right now.
        w dakhlak wen shefet me7en belli elto?
        i will just say enno el 3aj2a el soboh la2enno rush hour, w still ma betballesh la jesr spinneys, i know 😉 sheghle bi dbayeh w sheghle 3a hal mashrou3 so mate3tal hamm el tor2at wel tenzim el modone.
        el kasefe 3ammetzid wen maken, el diya3 3amtet7awwal la modon, ellon la el lebneniyeh ma ykhallfo w ma y3ammro

        w dakhlak wen shefet me7en belli elto? khaffefli judging people byezbat el balad


  2. I have to agree with Maria, you are spitting out words that are not backed up by facts. I don’t mind that you have your own opinion but before doing so try to comprehend what other beneficial factors these developments can bring to our local community.


  3. 100% right TOO much malls on ONE area
    screw the profits henne w masriyyeton let them invest in other better stuff, futuristic 2al pfff adma serna futuristic we dont have a descent infrastructure funny


  4. 100% Right, also technically even City Mall is only 10mins away from ABC and LeMall and soon the new CityCenter..
    I wonder which restaurant would like to open both ways of the highway in Dbaye, one in ABC or LeMall and another in CityCenter ?



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