Cedar Island – Lebanon’s own man made Island

29Jan09

First Dubai, and now others seem to be amazed by it.

cedar_islandNoor International Holding is planning on building this massive island covering an area of 127.8 squared miles in the touristic coastal area of Lebanon, the Cedar Island lends itself as a luxurious residential, commercial, and touristic project. Its geographical location along the Lebanese coast allows it to play a vital role in attracting tourists and savvy residents looking for an exotic lifestyle or escaping from the city.

One critic wondered:”[The content of this project] remains vague, provides no information on the environmental impact, the financial and economical feasibility, the investment and investors as well as the actual details of the project.

While this observer feels that it may be better to embellish what we already have, and maintain it, than to venture into ‘tiblit el ba7er‘, and other environmental considerations.

Update (01/02/2009): As you can see from the comments, and the rage over at facebook, many seem to be pleased by the candy colored plan for this massive project, and many seem to be keen on preventing it from happening, if ever the capital for such a project is secured. Till now, facebook’s Cedar Island – Lebanon has 10’694 fans and counting, while those opposing it, hosting a page called No for Cedar Island has 2’831 members.

Update (31/01/2009): Plans for Cedar Island show houses, a golf course and a marine academy. Over 300 villas, a golf course and a self-contained infrastructure, including a water treatment centre and power plant.

Update 28/04/ 2009.

The $7.4 billion island, on which hundreds of Lebanese have apparently already asked to buy houses, is being developed by head civil engineer Dr Muhammad Saleh, who developed the world’s tallest hotel, the Rose Tower in Dubai.

Working with a team of more than 20 architects, civil engineers, environmental and investment consultants, Noor has produced detailed plans for the enterprise, and has, it says, letters of intent from investors in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Mexico, Panama and – most of all – Lebanon.

Investment fund managers have been in touch to discuss international investment, and Aston Martin wants to present the project to its owners’ club at the launch of their new car in November.

The project has its skeptics. Thomas Schellen, publishing editor of Lebanon’s Zaywa Industry Research, pointed out that the Lebanese environment could present problems. “The Mediterranean coast,” he said, “is battered by storms most winters and projects like the sea wall for the new Corniche show that building construction on the coastline is not a simple proposition.” Similar islands have, of course, been constructed off the coast of Dubai, but, says Schellen, “the Arabian Gulf with its shallow waters is much easier to deal with.”

Furthermore, he pointed out, mega-projects do not have a good track record in Lebanon. “Some years ago,” he said, “Gulf investors launched what was to become Sannine Zenith resort on one percent of Lebanon’s surface. They had models, a theme song, a marketing office, the works. They already bought properties. To date, the Sannine Zenith has not moved an inch.

However, according to Dr. Saleh, the only obstacle to beginning work on the project is getting the necessary permits, although the volume of paperwork necessary makes Cedar Island, as he said, “a high-risk venture.” Permission must come from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, then from the civil authorities, then the Environment Ministry, then Parliament and finally a Presidential decree must be issued. [b]”We are looking at a time scale of four to six months[b],” said Dr. Saleh, “Inshallah.”

Criticism has also come from environmentalists, who have raised concerns that building a giant artificial island will affect marine and coastal bird life. Amir Shahab works on research for the project, and counters that they are finding a site for land reclamation, which will “not have a coral reef, we are making sure there will be no bird habitat and no fishermen whose livelihood depends on fish stocks.” It will, in the long run, he said, become an artificial reef environment for fish, and the water treatment facility will prevent stagnation.

The project is slated to be in Damour, just south of Rafik Hariri International Airport, and to take between three and four years to build. According to Noor International, it will create 50,000 jobs, and take advantage of willingness to invest and buy in Lebanon as the country’s economy remains strong in comparison with troubled markets in the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, among Lebanese blogs and on Facebook, the subject is dividing people sharply. Blogger Qika Nabki wrote, “Am I the last person to hear about this? Say it isn’t so!” The online community also expressed the view that this island is so similar to the Palm Island in Dubai that it will move Lebanon closer to being what one Facebook user called “another Dubai-Disney-land.”

“Well sure,” said Dr. Saleh when questioned about the security aspect, “if there is a war, we’ll stop.” However, he explained, he unveiled the plans only as US President Barack Obama took office, because, “he will help the Arab world,” and conflict is unlikely in the future.

You don’t have to be optimistic to work in the Noor offices, it seems, but it helps. “We passed through a lot of difficulties in Lebanon,” chimed in Lilian Haddad, who is handling the company’s investor contracts, “and I think it’s saturated, it’s over.” – Thanks to Alice Forman.



48 Responses to “Cedar Island – Lebanon’s own man made Island”

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  9. 9 mohammad

    let them build this it will bring more fame and more tourism to lebanon

  10. 10 John Nassib Kandarien

    I want lebanon to be famous, and so what if it is like Dubai. i want it to be famous. let us build the island

  11. 11 ELIO

    wow wow…am waiting for this project and all the civiised lebanese does..so god bless and let’s do it!!am sorry for the people that they don;t believe in lebanon..am working in dubai and am sure that we can do better then them…we r the phoenicien guys we r the history the present and the futur!!!!(please search carefuly for the project plan and u’ll see it’s friendly with the mother nature)
    please make this dream come true…..

  12. we need this island it will mack a big change for lebanon this is a good idea come own people
    we need this island
    so lets build it

  13. 13 bfl

    je suis ni pour ni contre cette idée mai en tout cas architectuellement parlant c un bonne idée la plupart ki parle de l’impact sur la nature ne savent pas de koi ils parlent en tout ca esperons ke ca na aucun impact sur la nature car un projet comme celui la peut avoir un impact ultra positif sur le pays

  14. we need this island this will make lebanpn more nice it will alos be providing more land for homes unites hospitals schools parks beaches pools and more i realy think we should build this island it is a very good project we need to build it and i think that people a wrong but i think that putting $7,000,000,000 { 7 billion } on this magnificent island is worth it

    so people lets build this island let lebanon be a very nice place like Dubai come on people build this island we need it

  15. this is a very good idea we need to build this island people will really have fun on this island

  16. 16 raymond

    It is a good island and will realy be good for lebanon it will be providing more schools more homes shopping centers parks etc

  17. build cedars island we fight for cedars island
    we need to build this island

  18. this is a good island we need to build it

  19. i think that this island i a good improvement to lebanon i think this island will be a very good tourist attraction and i think we need to built this island to proved more school houses shopping centers and hospitals {ext} but i would disagree with some people i think we should build this island it will really help lebanon

  20. 20 Kleon

    What’s about the pollution and the natural under water life? The beaches with all the sewage systems spilling into the sea, the mountains of garbage, and the petrol dumped on the shore, the factories all along the coast from the south to the north. (So let’s us build this island and call our selves friends of the nature)I wonder what we are going the leave for the next generations who will leave in this earth.

  21. 21 Manni

    Well that is a good initiative for the lebanese ppl .. i dont see why some ppl are bagging it out.. personally i dont think we need this island to make lebanon look beautiful or to compete with Euro countries.. remember guys all we need in lebanon is PEACE within.. and then lebanon with whats in it already is a magnificiant place better than anywhere i have been.. lets just pray for PEACE and hopefully this Cedar Tree plan will work as it seems like a good plan.. maybe not for the enviromental die hards … hehe … GOD BLESS

  22. 22 tacla

    en franciais,

    qui a accordé cette ile horrible, y a t il un paln directeur , et le foncier c’est qui avez vous une référence de site, merci

  23. 23 Vask

    I think the project should be done. Despite it’s many disadvantages, the advantages are more tempting. I say this in a sense that it’s an all or nothing situation. The money invested in the island will never be invested in Lebanon’s natural tourist sites. Therefore, going through with the Cedar Island would be better than nothing at all. Thinking about all the world’s positive attention Lebanon would get and the new 50,000 jobs created, its had not see the living standards of the Lebanese rising.

    Also, I doubt that the project would have this much opposition if it were Lebanon that was the first to build an artificial island instead of Dubai.

  24. this progect is dangerous to marien life and us lebanese like our country to be famous for its original and un artifitial values such as history and geography witch i have to say is wonderful but this progect can atract milions of torest to lebanon but i dont soport it fully but the advantage is that the people who come to see and injoy the island wont only come and see it alone they will also se all the historocal places and nice geography and the forest reserves that are really clean in lebanon then they will see how beutiful lebanon realy is without the island.
    any coments please?

  25. 25 Rhiannon

    Thank god for the voices of sanity on here opposing the island. Many wise words said against it.

  26. 26 elie

    PEOPLE STOP THINKING of wat other people think of lebanon or how they see it.
    putting a fake massive island on the coast of lebanon will not fix anything. And wat to make europeens think were better, better then wat ? who cares what they think. its not even wat they think for they will know its a desperate pathetic attempt to be something were not . PEOPLE wake up

  27. 27 charbs

    I have to disagree with lebparis. What is wrong with the love of life? Lebanon is blessed with a diverse histroy and culture. For dentries people have come to beirut, from rich to poor, traders and fisherman.
    The country has suffered alot and ‘love of life’ is what is needed in the region.
    Soul less building are structure that have never been lived in, the solidare is buzzing and creating its own history. It is the people that add soul to building and who can say a bad word about the open welcoming hospitality of the lebanese people. Our country is blessed with ski resorts and beaches, great food and even better people! People through wars and tragey visit beiurt, tourism is a vital part of our economy. An increase in tourism can only bring better prosperity for the entire region let alone lebanon.
    Noting has happend to dubai which hant happend to london new york and even beirut. the crisis is world wide but remember one thing..it wont last forever this crisis and before anyone knows it we will be in a boom. Then where will that leave lebanon? A country that has led the way through arts/culture/food and drink to mention a few and those were during war times. Well it will be left behind and the tourist will leave and people will loose jobs in lebanon.
    If the environmental issues are serious thought out this could and should work. We have excelllent marine life but lets be honest the desposal of waste in the sea that we have done for generations cant have done mother nature any favors.
    This is a chance for Lebanon to open its arms to the word and invite it to visit this tiny paradise of a country that can boast biblical buildings, ancient forrest, sun and ski, religion and food to mention a few.
    As a manager of travel company i think this is a golden oppertunity.

  28. 28 lebparis

    horrible idea, instead of spending 7 billion$ to build a cedar island, start by preserving the cedar forests all around Lebanon.
    This is the pure product of the Harriri entrepreneur mentality just like Solider, a place for rich people to spend money and off course there are always some stupid lebanese from the I Love Life coalition ready to defend such a stupid project. I hope it will never be executed.
    If u like this shallow concept, go live in Dubai ( or whats rest of it now with the crisis) exactly like Downtown, buildings without a soul.Now with the crisis, i think this project is burried for good.

  29. 29 Rabih Shehayeb

    This is another demonstration of monopoly and greed that is eating all nations that have no culture or identity. Too bad those “Holding” companies are hitting on us, and taking advantage of our ignorant politicians. We have natural wonders that amaze the world, we don’t need fake and artificial lands. We have a shore, a mountain, and a valley; we don’t need islands. Those who really have Lebanon on their mind, can find thousand of opportunities to bring investments and develop tourism while preserving our identity as a land of natural beauty. It an irritating fact that the dream Mohamad Saleh had while flying will be a terrifying nightmare for Lebanon. I don’t want my country to be another fake Dubai. I don’t want to live in Dubai, and I don’t want Dubai to be remodeled in my country. I want what is remaining from our shores to be enjoyed by the kids and families of Lebanon not the multimillionaires- they have enough resorts and islands already. You want an island, go to Honolulu, or thousands of other fake or natural islands. Our cedar is a not to become soil under the feet of the ignorant and greedy.
    How shameful it is that our leaders are giving blessings to such a project that is full of destruction. Very shameful.

  30. 30 george

    Why not give it a try? Those in concern know better than to take the risk if they weren’t sure it is worth taking.And come on show me how we are taking care of our environment whether marine or terrestrial when we have mountains of garbage falling into the sea every now and then,the petrol dumped on the shore,the beaches with all the sewage systems spilling into the sea,our factories all along the coast fom chekka to selata to…etc,so why make a fuss about this new project? Moreover,those who are scared for the marine life should not do so because such a project might enhance it.This is a super work that involves lots of preparations and environmental companies are involved in months of preparations before the construction starts.If you watched the discovery channel documentary about the Dubai Palm Island you would have seen how hard the environmentalists worked to save and even enhance the coral reefs and other marine habitats.So if you are complaining for some hidden reasons speak them out loud instead of hiding behind some fake reasons.Which is better,to do more constuction work on land and destroy whatever is left of our mountains,valleys,ground water reserves or just to extend and spread out what we have?So whatever things you have against it its benefits outweigh them by far,so just pray that permission might be given to the company to start it if you really care about your country!

  31. 31 CeDaR-lOvEr

    les choses artificielles pour les autres.. c’est le vrai beirut(chanson).. such project not needed , lebanon is beautiful as it is, just needs to be clean..and go back to your senses and stop fighting like kids

    Beyrouth,
    quand l’horizon m’appelle, m’appelle et me sourit.
    Beyrouth,
    ton charme m’ensorcelle, ta beauté me séduit.
    C’est les daines de tous les temps, qui m’enchante et qui m’attend,
    cest la vieille féerie du liban.

    Beyrouth,
    ton champ plein de douceur, s’étire à l’infini.
    Beyrouth,
    et monte dans mon coeur, en vertes symphonies.
    C’est la chanson du vieux temps, que répètent les amants,
    c’est la lente mélodie du liban.

    Beyrouth,
    soleil riant au ciel, au reflet mystérieux.
    Beyrouth,
    flaveur délais de miel, qui nous descend des cieux
    C’est Vénuse de tous les temps, que célèbre les amants,
    dans la montagne fleurit du Liban.

    Beyrouth,
    Je chante à tes étoiles, quand tout silence y règne.
    Beyrouth,
    le bleu que rien ne voile, sommeille dans tes yeux.
    Je rêve a un rêve éclatant, qui me berce tendrement,
    par les milles et une nuit du Liban……

  32. 32 jamjoum

    AGAINST IT.. SIMPLY THE CEDARS ARE SACRED. CAN NOT BE IMITATED..IF YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE CHEAP BUCK OUT OF THIS PROJECT.. WATCH OUT IT WILL BE WASHED AWAY ONE DAY..

  33. 33 SayNoToCedarIsland

    sara, sadly serpico has a point.

    still, this project will change our face forever. as noted above, there are more innovative ways to bring money into the country. this is a cheap sell out. sadly, many of you do not see this.

    anyhow. this project is simply not going to happen. i am one of many who will make sure of that.

  34. 34 LebGuy

    Let us be realistic… I dont think this project will be completed… call me passimistic but the politicians will stop the projects because they will be wanting a chunk… in additon Lebabnon is destined to be a war zone where isreal will always attack and lebanese will always fight each other due to political disputes…. no investor would want to invest in such an environment…. dont lie to us…. bye byee cedar island

  35. Sara that was 35 years ago

  36. Beyrouth c pas DUBAI…..

    Beyrouth c une histoire
    Beyrouth l’eternel
    Beyrouth la belle
    Beyrouth la vie

    Beyrouth c la perle qui n’as pas besoin d’accessoires
    c la perle qui decor tous le monde et tous le Moyen Orient

  37. 37 nina

    I think this is a great project.
    The lebanese economy needs such a project….maybe this will shift focus a bit from politics and raise the bar to deveopother sectors of the country.

    such a project should increase employment and by doing so, people will fosuc thier attention on improving and bettering thier living standards rather than which side to fight with!

  38. 38 Mohammed Halawi

    I think Lebanon can be more inovative….than this….Though it is good for the economy and the job situation we should know the ecological effects before going into this.
    Lebanon can do better …………I am sure…

  39. Lebanon is so unique without that island, we have a great history and strong identity in all the world and the middle east…I dont think that lebanese will allow that projects… Cedars are sooo high you can find it only at 2000M above the sea!!!! Very proud and Unique!!!!

  40. 40 amr

    hay wait a min lebanon must have these things since its the country that was and is and will stay the 1st country in the midle east and the Gulf ala yer7am ayam il sab3inat

  41. 41 VyR-

    I’m ought to be surprised how can people actually dislike such project. This thing will not just alter the world’s look towards Lebanon, but it will also pull the country both in economy and national relations aside from regaining its top place in world’s tourism.
    If you truly love Lebanon, you should be thrilled that this project is down at hand.

  42. 42 Fredo

    Totally ridiculous!
    if i have a little lebanese in me, i’ll see to it this never picks up!

  43. You want to escape the city go ahead and set up camp or book a log house if you are not a tent lover in the actual cedars area and smell some fresh mountain air.

  44. Well, they should do 2 islands I believe:
    – 1 for March 8th supporters (It could be orange/yellow)
    – 1 for March 14th supporters (Blue, Red, Green whatever)

    Heik they can fight over who’s cedar is more authentic, and they can actually invade, burn, attack the other side without affecting the actual Lebanese land.

    Doing that will let the normal people, who’s interest is not politics and bulls##t, live in peace.

    We can actually have a laugh and do a reality TV shows on both parties!
    We can make money out of this!

    Just for the record, March 8th and March 14th are much more dangerous to the environment then the artificial island… Trust me on that

  45. 45 Maurice

    I Believe project will bring more deterioration to the marine life in lebanon and thus the environment.
    Join the Cause and Say NO to the Cedars Islands and the destruction of what is left of our eco-system:
    http://apps.facebook.com/causes/204387?m=ab07ea1b&recruiter_id=3395438

  46. 46 zanzoona

    this is beautiful!
    libnan wa bas! alla be khalileh yeah!

  47. I hope they find good investors. But again you have the political instability of Lebanon which might back them off….. Ahhhh I wonder when will the Lebanese people shift their focus to something else than politics!


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