Lebanon is up for sale for a mere $22 million: Europe shows no interest

February 22, 2018 6:00 am


It’s not cheap buying an entire country.

Sealand, the smallest micro-nation in the world, occupying 4000 m2, with population 27, is said to come with its own citizens, government, money, stamps, flag, and national anthem, and is on sale for $1 billion.

Do we have a better deal for you?

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Keys to a country 

The 419,000+ sqft Lebanon Island, part of the Dubai World Islands where the globe is represented, is on sale for $22 million.

Real estate listings by Allsopp & Allsopp is promoting the “country” for a $21.78 million to $27.2 million range, some $12 million to $18 million pricier than its 2012 value.

Current owner, businessman Ravi Raman, opened the island country for the general public in 2014, with an assortment of amenities including an 80-seat restaurant, 250 people lounging area by the swimming pool and licensed bar.

Island Lebanon is the first island country to be built and the only one currently accessible to the public as other island nations are yet to be built, or behind schedule, but that’s about to change.

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Why sell paradise?

It looks like living in Lebanon is expensive.

More specifically, running costs of diesel and fresh water in the thousands of gallons monthly to keep the lights on and everyone there hydrated, are major culprits.

Sewage outflows which are not treated and cannot be discharged into the water present another challenge, and needs frequent vessel visits for relief.

Oh, and beaches lose between 4 and 16 inches of sand yearly, swallowed by the Gulf due to erosion and in constant need of replenishment.

Lastly, transportation is a major obstacle. The only way to reach a private island is by boat or seaplane, an expensive proposition.

Nonetheless, Island Lebanon says “With a choice of two beaches, along with a swimming pool, onsite Beach Volleyball court and Dubai’s hottest dining hotspot, Toro Blanco, The Island accommodates all comers”.

Welcome to The Island”

Europe on the move

Almost a decade after Dubai’s man-made archipelago “The World” was launched (conceived in 2003) with the plan for a $14bn, 300-island chain laid out in the shape of the Earth’s continents, the project was yet to get off the ground in 2016.

But that year Europe” began to come to life, according to Business Insider (BI).

“The Heart of Europe is an ambitious development that will be home to dozens of luxury resorts and lavish restaurants, surrounded by half-submerged, half-skylit floating homes called “floating seahorses,” reported BI.

“We have invested millions of dollars in The Heart of Europe and we have made a commitment to our investors and clients,” Josef Kleindienst, CEO of the development firm Kleindienst Group, told Tech Insider, a division of BI.

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BI said that island properties sold for upward of $20 million a piece at one point prior to development, and Nakheel Properties claimed 70% of the 300 islands had already been purchased by people including Richard Branson, who bought Great Britain in 2006.

But the 2008 crisis put the breaks on sales and devalued properties, while creating massive losses and debt for both developers and investors.

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Back on track

According to a recent report by British media The SUN, development of the 300-chain islands is now fully underway again, a decade after it ground to a halt in 2008.

“Construction work has begun on the site that sits 2.5 miles off the coast of Dubai,” said the SUN.

“Plans are now back in business for an Ibiza-style island, as well as “Floating Venice”, which will come complete with canals and gondolas.”

The SUN said other islands under construction are St Petersburg, “which is being made into a heart shape and marketed at honeymooners” Sweden and the “Sea Horse” hotel.

 

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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