The €130-million redevelopment of Benghazi’s abandoned Qasr al-Jazeera Hotel -- formerly the Grand Hotel and Berenice Hotel -- will be abandoned if the owners are not given permission to demolish the building and replace it with a modern structure, reports Libya Herald.
Joseph Farrugia, of the Malta-based Corinthia Hotel Group, has told Libya Herald:
"We are waiting permission to demolish. As the building stands, based upon analysis that we have done, we are unable to develop on that site with the existing building. We wont be insured. Unless we are given permission to demolish and rebuild, we just cannot develop that site. Then we pull out. We move out of Benghazi."
Having been unused for nearly a decade, the sea-front hotel built in 1936 was taken on as a redevelopment project in 2008 by Corinthia's investment arm, International Hotel Investments (IHI), in partnership with the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO).
Although redevelopment of the proposed new five-star hotel was supposed to start in 2008, IHI had only completed planning and structural analysis before the revolution. No actual work had taken place until November last year, when a demolition team suddenly appeared and started to knock down the building, provoking a local uproar.