- Ahmed Shasha
- BBC – Cairo
For decades, the Tahrir campus in central Cairo has been a symbol of Egypt’s bureaucracy. His image is associated with complex government practices in the minds of the Egyptians.
But today, it is preparing to enter a new phase in its history, which stretches from the late monarchy in the country.
A few days ago, the Egyptian government announced plans to renovate the building and transform it into a hotel offering business, commercial and administrative services, while retaining its identity as a landmark in the center of the Egyptian capital. The restructuring process was handed over to the US-Emirati Real Estate Consortium with an investment of 3.5 3.5 billion (over $ 84 million).
History of the campus
The Liberation Complex was opened in its present form during the reign of King Farouk in 1951. The building was built on an area of 28,000 square meters, 14 storeys high, with a ship-like structure consisting of more than 1,300 rooms.
In 2016, the Egyptian government announced plans to vacate the building, which oversees Tahrir Square, which houses 41 government agencies and is reviewed daily by about 100,000 citizens from inside and outside Cairo. The announcement was made with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in the area. The services provided inside it were transferred to several government departments.
Rows of spectators
Saber Zucker, a lawyer who lives in the Egyptian Delta governorate of Beheira, recalls frequent visits to the Tahrir campus to extract documents for his clients. In all of those visits of more than twenty, the campus was “always crowded, while rows of auditors stretched out in front of its gates.”
Zucker tells the BBC that one of his clients’ last travel certificates went to campus to obtain a certificate proving that person’s mobility. I will come the next day to get the certificate.
This bureaucracy was exemplified in the film “Terror and Kabbalah” by Egyptian cinema, which could not find a better producer than the Tahrir complex to film the scenes of the film.
The story of the film revolves around an Egyptian citizen, played by the famous actor Adel Imam, who goes to the Tahrir campus to extract documents to transfer his son from his school to another school, where he faces administrative obstacles. An employee who spends a lot of work time in prayer, and an employee chops vegetables inside his office.
Symbol of historic Cairo
But the memories of the Liberation Complex do not stop with those who intend to complete their transactions, many knowing it as an integral part of Cairo’s heritage and a symbol of its architectural symbols.
Muhammad Shawqat, a bank employee, used to sit with his friends in the hotel opposite the Tahrir campus when he was in high school.
He told the BBC: “We will gather from all over Greater Cairo, meet in front of the campus, and then go to the hotel to have the building in the background of our session. It was a beautiful feeling when you were at heart. Egypt and its history.”
Over the past decade, the complex has acquired another symbol that emerges from its location, as it became part of the memorial to the massive demonstrations that Egypt witnessed during the January 25th Revolution of January 2011, which took over Tahrir Square. Its center. This was repeated with demonstrations on the thirtieth of June 2013.
But this big logo was joined by security tensions in the region. Mohammad Shawqat, for example, mentions that he was unable to take a photo with his friends in front of the premises after a mother warned him not to do so by security forces who had intensified their presence at the scene.
While the Tahrir campus is awaiting completion after two years of improvement, the downtown Cairo area has seen extensive development and modernization over the years, including the removal of heavy advertising and the decoration of real estate facades with cosmetic lighting. In its new form, with an obelisk and four statues of Baronic sheep in the middle, it was unveiled last April in conjunction with a royal mummy procession.
And the Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala al-Sayyid, said in a press release after the announcement of the contract to upgrade the premises that the building was not being exploited optimally in its light because it was in a very symbolic location. The plan to convert the premises into a hotel came with the aim of maximizing its effectiveness.After examining the traffic density in the area and the hotel capacity of the building.
Historic buildings and unused Egyptian property are subject to the jurisdiction of the Egyptian Sovereign Fund, which was established about three years ago, and is now valued at tens of billions of dollars.
The state’s assets and assets of potential investment value, including the old Interior Ministry building in the center of the country and the Cosmopolitan Village on October 6, west of Greater Cairo, are being transferred to the fund to decide how to get the revenue. From this.
In the fall of 2020, President Abdel Fattah announced the decision to remove the status of the common good from many of the facilities owned by the L-CC state and transfer their ownership to Egypt’s sovereign fund, including the land and building of the liberation. Complex.
The Tahrir complex is the first asset of Egypt’s sovereign fund, with officials deciding to invest in it, which economists see as a start to the real estate boom, which will be renewed by the expected administrative measures. Executive capital.
Amar Attlee, an economist and assistant professor at the American University in Cairo, believes that “the management of unused government assets should have dimensions beyond the use of finance and investment.”
Attlee explains to the BBC that the administration “must serve a long-term growth vision that will stimulate the growth of the export, service and employment generating sectors.”
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