Despite a campaign to save the Grand Hotel and an earlier ruling that the building would be safe until there had been an enquiry, the demolition work was apparently signed off by the head of Benghazi city council, Salih Al-Ghazal. At the time, a journalist said that it was vandalism, adding: “Someone on the council must have been paid.”
The protestors managed to get the then NTC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil to sign a warrant stopping the work, but not before the portico and entrance of the hotel had been demolished. Local people shored up the damaged front of the building and adorned it with a banner reading: “Benghazi’s historic buildings are not for sale.”
The hotel had, however, already been sold three years earlier. Farrugia, who is the senior manager of Business Development for Corinthia and IHI, told Libya Herald: “It would have been more cost-effective for us to retain and restructure the old building.”
Farrugia explained that the hotel does not meet today’s safety standards; the concrete was found to be substandard and the construction was not up to modern-day standards required for natural disasters such as earthquakes.
(Source: Libya Herald)