Author Archives: Matt Nash

A tanker truck overflows with water

Less blue, more gold

Less blue, more gold

Toufic Abillamaa has been making money off of the state’s inability to provide certain services for nearly 40 years. His company, Abillamaa Petroleum, delivers fuel for generators — a necessity for many in a country without 24 hours of electricity. At the beginning of this year, however, he decided to expand into water delivery. Abillamaa

Angry faces are painted on port construction material.

No project, but no public

This article is part of a continuing Executive investigation into public and private lands along Beirut’s western coast. For more stories in this series, click here. When the Ministry of Environment called today for the Municipality of Beirut to deny building permits on Raouche’s coastal Dalieh area, it didn’t faze the owners of the private property.

Firefighting ships attempt to put out the fire on BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling unit in the Gulf of Mexico

Deficiency reigns

Lebanon suffers from “high” deficiencies of social and environmental baseline data as well as a “capacity deficiency within authorities,” according to the long-awaited strategic environmental assessment (SEA) related to potential oil and gas activities, recently published by the Lebanese Petroleum Administration. More than two years after it was completed — and despite promises that it would be

Crafting luxury

In the first century, the name Sidon meant something. The city is believed by scholars to be the birthplace of glassblowing, and it had a reputation for fine glasswork throughout the Roman Empire. In “Roman Mold-blown Glass: The First Through Sixth Centuries,” author E. Marianne Stern writes that evidence of Sidon’s fame exists today in

Hermes boutique downtown

Feet not falling

The living is not easy for Beirut’s luxury retailers this summer. When adjusted for inflation, retail sales figures have been falling since the third quarter of 2012, according to an index put out by the Beirut Traders Association (BTA) and Fransabank. Nicolas Chammas, the association’s president, tells Executive that the luxury sector has been particularly

Turn off the tap

While some believe Lebanon houses the city where Jesus turned water into wine, most of the country’s residents today no doubt wish the government could miraculously do the opposite. Precipitation during the 2013–2014 rainy season was half the average, prompting widespread water shortages this summer. The government, however, has announced a plan: use less water

Taking their time

Two years ago, in a real estate special report, Executive quoted a source saying that by 2014 there would be an abundance of empty apartments on the market. Today, “there are unsold apartments,” says Massaad Fares, CEO of Prime Consult. Getting more personal, Fares says that “slightly more than half” of his company’s mixed-use Sama

Namir Cortas, president of the Real Estate Developers Association of Lebanon

Tangled in a web of red tape

Executive sits down with Namir Cortas, a founder of Estates Property Development and Investment, as well as president of the recently-formed Real Estate Developers Association of Lebanon (REDAL), to talk taxes, regulation and corruption.   Why was REDAL created? We created an association that aims at pooling the major developers in an effort to better

Raouche rumor mill

This article is part of a continuing Executive investigation into public and private lands along Beirut’s western coast. For more stories in this series, click here. No one knows what — if anything — is coming.  Rumors about the fate of a peninsula next to Beirut’s iconic Pigeon Rocks abound, but little is known for

Cables in the dirt

Internet unchained

It could have happened years ago. In July 2011 — after a nearly seven-month delay — Lebanon ‘lit up’ a submarine fiber optic cable that brought the county much-needed internet capacity. Before the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) cable went live, the internet came to Lebanon in a trickle. After, it was supposed to be a flood —