Haddad building coming down

It’s one of Hamra’s oldest buildings and has been in terrible shape for years. Soon it will be gone. 
Here it is in context, on Ghandi street:

The entrance is lined in what appears to be Italian marble, with an all-marble stairway on the inside:

I asked a man standing across the street if he remembered anything about it. He told me it was the Haddad building, then added he once lived there with his family.

He said it was over 100 years old, which, if true, would make Haddad one of the oldest apartment buildings in the neighborhood. (Before the 1950s Hamra was largely covered in plantations, residents have told me).

“It was beautiful,” the man replied when asked, stoically watching its slow death, the sound of jack hammers collapsing the walls from the inside. “They’ll build a tower here–with three stories underground.”

Here is a view from the opposite direction.

The facade had a wave shape, which may have been unusual back then:

With double columns as balcony pillars:

Note the ancient electricity post:

In more recent years, the building fell into a state of disrepair with its sidewalk often caked in grime.

The former resident told me the landlord was not interested in renovation due to the low yields he collected as tenants were paying old rents.

A frequent incentive to demolish historic buildings, the old price-controlled rent system has locked in decades-old rates with no adjustment for inflation. Updating this law would seem to be a great boon to preservation, but for now demolition is often the only way some landlords can recoup years of losses. (I’ve heard some apartments rent for lower than $100 per year in Hamra)

Plastered on the Haddad building walls is also a bit of more recent history. Here we see a poster counting 500 days from Hariri’s 2005 assasination:

There was a time when a digital clocking counting the days since Hariri’s death was posted near Hamra street. It was updated every day and reached into the thousands of days. 
But it was taken down several years ago. Now the Haddad building, like the Hariri clock, will live on only in the memories of those who saw it. Even then, few will want to remember. 

The buildings former resident was not very talkative, perhaps masking his sadness in silence.

“Will you miss it,” I asked.

“Of course,” he said, looking forward and showing little emotion. 

  1. It’s definitely not over 100 years old. The architecture is modern. It was likely built post-independence. Sad loss nonetheless.

  2. Who knows, someone told me it could be Bauhaus style, which could put it back as far as the 1920s–nearly 100 years. What makes you think its post 1943?

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