ABC Verdun Mall
Owner Verdun Mall S.A.L.
Local Design Firm, Construction Supervision and Retail Delivery Management Khatib & Alami
International Design Firm Callison
General Contractor MAN Enterprise
Project manager DG Jones & Partners
This 150,000-sq-meter mall in Beirut has become a symbol of the future for a city plagued by past violence and instability and continuing impacts from unrest in nearby Syria. Located in a growing area of the city, the mall is one of Lebanon’s biggest engineering projects and the first in the country to use lean construction techniques, says the project team. Designed by U.S.-based Callison, it reflects both traditional Mediterranean community and new-age appeal as an interconnected urban park with more than just shopping. The mall’s anchor department store, conceptualized by Kinnersley Kent Design, earned recognition earlier this year in retail design from INDEX, the Middle East’s biggest annual interior design exhibition.
Installing the mall’s four distinctive elliptical glass canopies—which cover 4,500 sq m, hang nearly 25 m above two upper floors and were manufactured abroad—were among the challenges in a fast-tracked 28.5-month schedule accommodating some 150 different tenants. Structural design changes to precast and post-tensioned concrete elements insured consistency and boosted efficiency in the tight downtown site, says the team. More than 110,000 sq m of precast elements were produced and installed on the project.
Despite 63 subcontractors and suppliers and 1,200 workers at peak, of different nationalities, there were only three recordable lost-time site injuries in 4.15 million hours worked.
ABC Verdun is a pioneer in Lebanon in the use of building information modeling (BIM) during construction and operations, says the team, as well as a regional leader in sustainability. Project features included an intricate waste management system and 4,000 sq m of rooftop solar photovoltaics for power.
In an August interview with a Lebanese economic publication, ABC Group CEO Frank M. Kuntermann noted that despite still-tough retail market conditions in the country, the mall attracted about 4 million visitors in its first year, with 83% of space leased. He said the mall opening helped boost the retail firm to “double-digit” revenue growth and that July was the facility’s best month for sales so far.